Peki Emmelinah “Nothembi” Mkhwebani

Peki (African Queen of Ndebele Music) grew up loving music, especially indigenous Ndebele music. Her Grandmother, Mantombana Mthimunye, taught her to play Ndebele instruments like isikumero, isidonodono and the african drum (iingubhe), and her uncle Besaphi Mthimunye taught her to play a home made oil-tin guitar. These lessons toook place during lunch times while they were ploughing the fields and looking after cattle.

She left home to work in Pretoria where she bought a keyboard and acoustic guitar and started to compose songs. In 1980 she formed a group called Nothembi Nezelamani Zakonomazyana: Nothembi (her traditional name) Nezelamani (the siblings) Zakonomazyana (the clan’s name). During those days they were invited to perform at cultural gatherings, weddings and other traditional ceremonies.


Ntabiseng Sibanda

Nthabiseng is the founder of Puo Educational Products which creates content that educates, entertains and empowers children based on Africa's heritage.  Their stories are in various indigenous South African languages and available in books and digital formats.  She is part of the Ernst & Young Winning Women's Entrepreneurial Programme and was a finalist in the 2012 Cartier Women's Initiative Awards.


Devarakshanam Betty Govinden

Devarakshanam Betty Govinden is an academic, researcher and writer, with varied interests. Her recent publications include: A Time of MemoryReflections on Recent South African Writing (Solo Collective, Durban, 2008); Sister Outsiders; and Words on Water – Reflections on Writings (Lap Publishing, Germany). An analysis of the literary contributions of South African Indian women captured in the book: Sister Outsiders: The Representation of Identity and Difference in Selected Writings by South African Indian Women, won her the prestigious Hiddingh-Currie Award in 2012.


Myesha Jenkins

Myesha Jenkins integrates life experience into concise, witty poetry that provokes and inspires. Visible in the Johannesburg poetry scene for the last ten years, she launched her second collection, Dreams of Flight at the UKZN’s International Festival in 2011. Her work has been featured in We are (ed. Natalia Molebatsi, Penguin 2009), Isis X (Botsotso Publishing 2005), and Baobab Journal.  She co-founded the all-female, Feela Sistah Spoken Word Collective and Jozi House of Poetry monthly sessions. She also contributed to the Arts for Humanity’s Children’s Rights Exhibit, collaborating with the visual artist, Louise Almond.


Vanessa Gounden

Vanessa Gounden was born into a poor South African family and raised in a township, but that is a distant past. Her brand “Vanessa G” is aimed at the contemporary woman of today that has an appreciation of the arts and wants her clothes to reflect her sensibility. Through “Vanessa G”, Vanessa communicates the emotions of upwardly mobile women, whilst at the same time capturing the untold stories of unsung artists. Every garment in the “Vanessa G” collection endeavours to look like a piece of art - the ultimate statement of luxury that it not only looks alluring but also creates an exclusive, wearable and character-defining fashion statement. The Vanessa G design studio, aims to translate and filter the passion and vision of Vanessa’s art ethos into ready-to-wear garments; at all times aiming to ensure that the art remains not just in the creation of the garments but also in the very essence of each piece.


Zanele Muholi

Zanele Muholi studied photography at the Market Photo Workshop. In 2009 she was the Ida Ely Rubin Artist-in-Residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and also received a Fanny Ann Eddy accolade from IRN-Africa for her outstanding contributions to the study of sexuality in Africa. She won Casa Africa and Fondation Blachère awards at Les Rencontres de Bamako biennial of African photography. The first part of her Faces and Phases series received a nomination as best photobook of the year at the International Photobook Festival in Kassel. The series was included on the 29th São Paulo Biennale (2010), and featured on Face of Our Time at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She has participated in numerous other group exhibitions and documentary Difficult Love has been seen at film festivals around the world.


Catherine Christie

Catherine Christie is a well known abstract artist who captures the beauty of Nature. She explores and reveals the weathering effects of exposure and time – unpredictable, yet certain. There is a sense that change is constant – creation, growth, weathering, erosion, repair, decay and rebirth … The rich surfaces on her canvases reflect the cyclical processes of Life. Catherine Christie’s works have been sold to large corporate companies such as Old Mutual/Discovery, Finsource House, Irish & Ashman amongst many others. Besides taking the corporate and private world by storm, Catherine exhibits her work internationally and in 2006  was nominated South African Woman of the Year in Culture & Arts.


Nadhipa  Mntambo

Nandhipa  Mntambo is a South African artists who has become famous for her sculptures, video and photographs that focus on the human female body and identity by using natural, organic materials. In 2005 she was the recipient of the Brett Kebble Art Awards Curatorial Fellowship; in 2006 she was one of five young artists selected for the MTN new contemporaries exhibition; and in 2011 was the winner of the Standard Bank Yound Artist Award for visual art. She has received commissions from Nedbank and the Gulbenkain Foundation, Portugal


Tebogo Kgobokoe

Tebogo Kgobokoe is one of the most revered and respected dance personalities in South Africa with a passion for development, an arts activist who wants to see support of the arts enhanced. She is an undefeated SA professional ten dance champion and six times South African Latin American Professional Champion. She has been teaching dance for more than sixteen years and has devoted most of her time to the development of dancesport in rural areas in South Africa. Tebogo is trained in Contemporary, Ballet, Spanish, Modern dance, Freestyle, Rock n Roll, Latin American and Ballroom dance.

OPERA  |   2013 WINNER

Pretty Yende

Pretty Yende  graduated cum laude from the South African College of Music and also graduated from the Accademia Teatro alla Scala, in Milan, Italy. She won first prize at the Vincenzo Bellini International Competition in 2010. In 2011, Yende won first prize at Operalia, The World Opera Competition. In 2012, she sang the role of Musetta in Giacomo Puccini's 1896 opera La bohème at La Scala in Milan. Yende made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York City, New York in 2013, in the role of Adèle in Gioachino Rossini's 1828 opera Le comte Ory. Yende was conferred the silver Order of Ikhamanga on 27 April 2013.


Thembi Mtshali-Jones

Thembi Mtshali-Jones started her career with a part in Umabatha and from then on performance became a permanent part of her life. With a few other artists she formed Freedom Singers and travelled around the world making the world aware of what was happening in South Africa.  In South Africa she joined the stable of protest theatre at the Market Theatre creating songs and plays telling true stories of the people in South Africa.  At age 61, Thembi has a long list of musicals, plays, movies, television dramas that she has given her creative gift to and is a co-founder of Spirit Sister Productions.


Siya Makuzeni

Siya Makuzeni is a multifaceted musician who regularly collaborates with artists as diverse as Marcus Wyatt, Themba Mkhize, McCoy Mrubata, Feya Faku, Frank Opperman, Tlale Makhene, Khaya Mahlangu, Sibongile Khumalo and many more. A member of Carlo Mombelli’s Prisoners of Strange, she is also the bandleader of her own rock band, Ippyfuz. She has toured and performed around the globe. Siya has also lent her songwriting skills to albums by various artists. Her live collaborations include Goema Captains, Thandiswa Mazwai, Teba, Tumi, SWR Big Band (Germany).

MUSIC  |   2013 WINNER

Simphiwe Dana

Simphiwe Dana has become one of the most illustrious and talked about stars in the country; she enjoys sold out status at her concerts in venues in South Africa and abroad. Her first album reached platinum status and she is the winner of six SAMAS. Her influences include jazz, reggae, jive and traditional Xhosa music, which she fuses to form a style known as Modern African Soul. Her open letter to Steve Biko, penned to him on the 35th anniversary of his death, bear’s testament to her deep social conscience and concern for her homeland.


Lore Watterson

Lore Watterson is the owner, publisher and editor of a lifestyle magazine with a twist, Classicfeel. The magazine has established itself as the prime showcase of South African arts and culture as well as the latest on the international music scene. Classicfeel Magazine was previously a recipient of two ACT Awards. In 2005 it received both the Arts & Culture Trust Award for Media and the Arts & Culture Trust Journalist Award. Besides the ACT Awards, Classicfeel has garnered many other prestigious awards, amongst them several SAPPI PICA Awards for excellence in publishing and twice, the coveted BASA (Business and Arts in South Africa) Award.



Lira’s first album All My Love earned her accolades at the Metro FM Awards, South African Music Awards and Channel O Reel Music Awards, and since then her career has gone from strength to strength. According to The Star Newspaper, she’s currently considered the foremost adult contemporary female solo artist in South Africa.  She has appeared in major ad campaigns and been an Ambassador for Audi, Shield, Samsung, MTN and Blackberry. She has appeared on the covers of over twenty magazines worldwide and currently holds the largest Facebook following of any South African musician with over 410,000 fans. I

n December 2011, Lira was named one of the "Five Unique Artists to Change Music in 2012" by Essence Magazine. She lends her time and resources to causes that matter to her the most. She remains active with, and has received awards from, various grassroots organizations, outreach groups, and advocacy programs such as the Student Sponsorship Programme – which presented her with the Inspiration Award in 2011. She has also participated in numerous activities for The Southern Africa Trust.  


Pam Warne

Pam Warne is the Curator of New-Media and Photography at the Iziko National Gallery. She is a photographer who has exhibited widely and has been influential in shaping reflections on women’s photography in South Africa. She has said that from the mid-nineties onward her goal was not so much to record the world with her camera as she interacted with it, but to transform it through her psyche. “The images that I began to create were fundamentally more and more a result of being transformed through my imagination.”


Kate Otten

Kate Otten studied architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand. After working for a number of other practices, Otten established her own firm in 1989 in Johannesburg. She has designed community libraries, the waterfront development at Tzaneen, an art therapy centre in Soweto and the museum exhibition space at the former Women’s Jail at Constitution Hill which received a commendation from the South African Institute of Architects.


Helena Spring

Helena Spring is an independent producer. While Head of Production at Videovision Entertainment she produced more than sixty television projects and more than twenty feature films including the Academy Award nominated motion picture, Yesterday, and Red Dust starring Hilary Swank. Helena was also executive producer of the motion picture Waati, directed by Palme D’Or winner Souleymane Cisse; and Katinka Heyns’ Paljas, selected as South Africa’s first official entry in the 1998 Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language film category. As an independent producer she has, among other projects, produced the most recent Leon Schuster film Mad Buddies. She is now working with a slate of young film-makers and on several other film projects.


Tumi Morake

Tumi Morake is a performer at heart who branched off onto the stand-up comedy circuit in 2006. Tumi has performed on stage, on television and in films all over South Africa. She has shared the stage with comics such as David Kau, Marc Lottering, Stuart Taylor and Chris Forrest. In 2007, she MC’d at the 8th annual Woodstock Festival and was the only female among international and local acts at the 2009 Vodacom Funny Festival. A writer and burgeoning theatre director, Tumi has directed educational theatre for Arrep Theatre For Life, and written on a handful of television dramas and sitcoms. In 2006 Getting It On, a short film she co-wrote, won an award for Best Short Cut at the prestigious VUKA! Awards.


Sathima Bea-Benjamin

Sathima Bea-Benjamin  has made several recordings as a leader since establishing herself in Abdullah Ibrahim's (her husband) band during the '70s. Benjamin has performed and recorded show tunes and standards, traditional South African and African music, and improvised on her originals and other jazz pieces.

Benjamin and Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand) met in South Africa at the end of the '50s. After leaving their homeland and emigrating to Europe, they met Duke Ellington in Switzerland in 1962. He sponsored recordings for the two; Benjamin's was unfortunately not released for the first time until 1996. She eventually sang with Ellington's orchestra at Newport (1965) and her first full recorded set as a leader (1979) was an Ellington tribute.

Sathima Bea Benjamin, who has led dates for Ekapa, BlackHawk, and Enja, has used such fine musicians as Ricky Ford, Kenny Barron, Buster Williams, and Billy Higgins.