On Saturday 8 September, the Arts’ scene elite attended a ceremony to hand over a very special award to a most deserving theatre company.
The 2018 National Arts Festival Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Human Rights Award, sponsored by the Embassy of the Netherlands, was presented to the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative (FATC) for its remarkable contribution to the arts as an advocate of social change and promotion of human rights in South Africa.
The collaborative received the award at the 2018 National Arts Festival (NAF) recently for it’s prolific body of work in South Africa over the last two decades.
“It affirms our belief that sustained access to quality arts and culture practice and education is a critical tool for transforming the ways in which people view themselves, the world they live in and their futures,”
remarked Artistic Director and FATC founder PJ Sabbagha at the festival.
“FATC has become South Africa's leading contemporary dance company in addressing the overwhelming presence of HIV and AIDS in contemporary South African society,”
Ashraf Johaardien, Executive Producer of the National Arts Festival commented at NAF. He also praised FATC for producing such a prolific body of work dedicated to the probing of critical personal and social issues under the artistic directorship of founder PJ Sabbagha.
To mark the incredible achievement, a hand-over ceremony was hosted on FATC’s home turf at the Ebhudlweni Arts Centre in rural Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga. The Ambassador Designate of the Netherlands to South Africa, Han Peters, was an honoured guest and officially handed over the award to Sabbagha and FATC.
“The Embassy of the Netherlands attaches great value and appreciation to the work that institutions like FATC do. With this award, we not only recognize FATC’s use of Arts and Culture as a medium to promote social change and the promotion of human rights, but also encourage others in this sector to do the same,”
said His Excellency Ambassador Peters.
Former recipients of the National Arts Festival Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Human Rights Award include Irene Stephanou, the Market Theatre Laboratory, Drama For Life and Ngizwe Youth Theatre. The inaugural award was presented in 2014 by Tselane Tambo to honour her late mother Adelaide Tambo for championing human rights in South Africa.
Receiving the award is testament to the meaningful work FATC does in rural Mpumalanga.
“We feel incredibly honoured to be named the recipient of such a prestigious award,”
In his speech, he spoke passionately about the challenges FATC face in their work in arts activism, human rights and social justice through the arts. But even though they often face a lonely road, they also continuously witness the extraordinary impact of the arts in the lives of marginalised and under-served communities and individuals.
“Receiving an award of this stature provides us with a significant profile and gives our work the visibility it needs and deserves. It emboldens us to continue the critical work of FATC.”
The hand-over ceremony took place during the morning and was well attended. The program included a warm welcome speech by FATC Chair Person: Dr. Mongezi Makhalima. Thereafter, Sabbagha spoke passionately about FATC’s important work in Mpumalanga. Johaardien from NAF praised Sabbagha and his team for their contribution to the arts and then, finally, the VIP guest, Ambassador Designate His Excellency Peters, presented FATC with the 2018 National Arts Festival Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Human Rights Award.
“Congratulations to PJ Sabbagha and the team of FATC, we are looking forward to more great work from FATC for many years to come,”
concluded the Ambassador.