Semenya, Mekoa and others honoured at 18th annual ACT Awards

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) announced the 2015 winners of the ACT Lifetime Achievement Awards and ImpACT Awards for young professionals at Sun International’s The Maslow Hotel in Johannesburg on Monday 2 November 2015. The annual awards recognise 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.

Caiphus Semenya and Johnny Mekoa. Photo: www.act.org.za
Caiphus Semenya and Johnny Mekoa. Photo: www.act.org.za

The ImpACT Awards finalists were nominated by the public and adjudicated by a chosen panel of expert judges. Lindiwe Maxolo won for Music & Singing and Letlhogonolo Nche for Dance. Jessica Denyschen was awarded a Special Honorary Award for her contribution in South Africa’s dance industry.

ACT also honours those who have had a lifelong commitment to the arts and six deserving Lifetime Achievement Awards luminaries were awarded this year, each receiving R30 000 as a cash prize. This year ACT honoured actress and singer Thembi Mtshali-Jones for Theatre, Caiphus Semenya for Music, Johnny Mekoa (of the Music Academy of Gauteng) for Arts Advocacy, and Alfred Hinkel for Dance.

In the other categories, POPArt received an award for Theatre, Laurie Wiid van Heerden for Design and Benon Lutaaya for Visual Art. In the other Lifetime Achievement categories, Omar Badsha won for Visual Art and Don Mattera for Literature.

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

Moopen commented the success of yet another year by lauding this year’s finalists. "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," she said.

Shedding light on what reaching the 18th year milestone means to the organisation, ACT CEO Pieter Jacobs said: "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."

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