[intro]The National Arts Festival is in full swing and we bring you the best of the fest in short video clips.[/intro]

The festival kicked off with the opening ceremony. Festival CEO Tony Lancaster and representatives from national government briefed journalists about the agreement they made with Eskom (after all, the show must go on) and quelled questions from journalists regarding their stance on satire. With satire being this year’s festival theme and freedom of expression being at the forefront of the arts, the question about whether government would be able to handle the heat on stage was raised. Watch for yourself:

While the real test is yet to come, with Chester Missing and Pieter Dirk Uys taking to the stage this week, physical theatre has led the conversation with pieces like Undermined, that tells the story of an immigrant from Mozambique who comes to work in the City of Gold, Born in the RSA, which marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of theatre legend Barney Simon, and Return of the Ancestors, which sees Neil Aggett and Steve Biko embark on a journey to see the new, democratic South Africa.

Turning to Jazz, Bokani Dyer opened the Standard Bank Jazz Festival this year with a collaboration between South African and Swiss musical precision. Dyer’s music is all-encompassing as he embraces his roots as well as the contemporary musical landscape. The 2011 Standard Bank Young Artist spoke to us about jazz, improvisation and inspiration.

Avant-garde bass jazz musician, Carlo Mombelli took to the stage with Kyle Shepard, Mbuso Khoza and Kesivan Naidoo for a cutting edge performance. We caught up with him after the show, while packing his gear into a huge suitcase. “I never have space for clothes,” he said.

Thandi Ntuli is an up and coming pianist who’se making strides in the jazz industry, check out her gig below.
There’s more to come.

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All images courtesy of CuePix