In 1994, the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) shared its year of creation with the advent of South Africa’s democracy. Nedcor Bank (now Nedbank) partnered with Sun International and the newly-established Ministry of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (now the Department of Arts & Culture) to establish a body to fund and support the nascent democracy’s arts, culture and heritage sector. The Kingdom of the Netherlands and Vodacom would later join them as founding trustees who contributed to ACT’s initial endowment.
In the 25 years of its existence, ACT has developed a programmatic approach to its work in the South African cultural economy. This approach has allowed the organisation to distribute more than R 20 million towards artistic projects, arts development initiatives, bursaries and scholarships. The founding modus of securing and maintaining partnerships with both the private and public sectors has helped ACT to achieve the organisation’s vision of establishing a self- sustaining perpetual fund for the development of arts, culture and heritage in South Africa. Today, the organisation’s closest partners are Nedbank, the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary rights Organisation (DALRO) and the Southern African Music rights Organisation (SAMRO).
The programmes at the core of ACT’s work address the educational, artistic developmental and infrastructural needs of the sector. The programmes include the ACT | DALRO | Nedbank Scholarships which are offered annually to young people seeking to pursue tertiary education in performance or visual arts. The ACT Awards, a flagship ACT programme since 2008, contribute to the canon of South African arts history by beaming a spotlight on individuals who have made significant contributions to the sector as well as giving a platform to recognise young professionals whose careers show promise.
At this moment in ACT’s history, a history genetically tied to that of democratic South Africa, the same foresight, which saw the establishment of ACT, is critical. “It is very important for us as a nation to recognise that the work that was started by its own patriots 25 years ago has served its stakeholders as best as it could and that the we have to ensure that we keep it sustain it for at least the next quarter of a century and beyond.” The 2019 ACT Awards, then, are an opportunity to launch a year of activities and projects which look back at a successful 25 years and look forward to the coming 25 years.
In true South African form, ACT does not walk this journey alone, nor does it celebrate its milestone year of existence in solitude. We invite you to enter our competition to win double tickets to the 2019 ACT Awards where the friends and family will toast to ACT’s past and future.