An evening of festivity at 18th annual ACT Awards

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ImpACT and Lifetime Achievement Award winners at ACT Awards 2015. Photo by John Hogg.
The 18th Annual Arts and Culture Trust Awards. ImpACT and Lifetime Achievement Award winners at ACT Awards 2015. Photo by John Hogg.

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) announced the 2015 winners of the ACT Lifetime Achievement Awards and ImpACT Awards for young professionals at The Maslow Hotel in Johannesburg on Monday, 2 November 2015.

This year’s celebration comes after 2014’s double celebration of ACT’s 20 years of existence and 17 years of the awards being hosted in recognition of young artists who have reached a professional standing in their discipline, and are within the first five years of their professional careers, as well as Lifetime Achievement Award winners who have contributed significantly to the enrichment of the arts and culture environment in South Africa.

ACT prides itself in celebrating and acknowledging excellence and hopes that hosting the annual ceremony will only motivate creatives to aspire to do more and strive to reach a high level of brilliance in their respective fields. Shedding light on what reaching the 18th year milestone means to the organisation, ACT CEO Pieter Jacobs says, “ACT is proud of the legacy of the awards perpetuated by the consistent efforts of praiseworthy artistic output of previous winners. Since the inception of the event in 1998, more than 140 individuals and organisations have been acknowledged and honoured for their contributions to arts and culture in South Africa and we can only hope to do more in the coming years.”

Sun International’s The Maslow Hotel played host to the sophisticated event for the second year in a row. The prestigious ceremony was sponsored by long-time supporters SAMRO, DALRO, Media24 Books, Nedbank Arts Affinity, Distell Foundation, Creative Feel Magazine and Business and Arts South Africa. Japan Tobacco International (JTI) came on board this year as sponsor of the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for Dance.

For the past five years, the ImpACT Awards have acknowledged young professionals in the arts who have promising careers ahead of them and made a fine imprint in their respective industries on home soil. For the first time this year ACT is proud to recognise a new award in this segment by awarding an individual who they believe has made remarkable moves in the dance fraternity.

The ImpACT Awards finalists were nominated by the public, and adjudicated by a chosen panel of expert judges with the following winners receiving an award: POPArt for Theatre, Laurie Wiid van Heerden for Design, Benon Lutaaya for Visual Art, Lindiwe Maxolo for Music & Singing, Letlhogonolo Nche for Dance and Jessica Denyschen was awarded a Special Honorary Award for her contribution in South Africa’s dance industry.

The judging panel for the 2015 ImpACT Awards was convened by ACT Trustee Jayesperi Moopen with judges: musician Sibongile Khumalo, actress Warona Seane, arts and culture development expert David Thatanelo April and Fine Arts lecturer David Andrew.

2015 Convener Jayesperi Moopen commented the success of yet another year by lauding this year’s finalists in saying, “Congratulations to all the nominees and the recipients of the ACT Impact Awards which have come to appropriately reflect artistic achievement of young and talented emerging artists who have displayed imagination, boldness and risk taking to produce work of a high quality and setting standards of excellence.”

ACT also honours those who have had a lifelong commitment to the arts and six deserving Lifetime Achievement Awards luminaries have been awarded this year. The recipients are nominated by the ACT Board of Trustees and selected by current and previous ACT Trustees. Categories include: Theatre, Music, Visual Art, Literature, Arts Advocacy and newly added Dance.

This year ACT honoured Thembi Mtshali-Jones for Theatre, Caiphus Semenya for Music, Omar Badsha for Visual Art, Don Mattera for Literature, Johnny Mekoa for Arts Advocacy and Alfred Hinkel for Dance.

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