Arts Ambassador

The role played by art in the promotion of international relations is crucial. When diplomatic relations are established it is always on economic and cultural grounds. This category celebrates those who promote our creativity worldwide.


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.  

Melissa Goba

Melissa Goba has been involved in many curatorial roles including the MTN New Contemporaries 2008, SPace Currencies in Contemporary Art 2010, Curatorial Exchange 2009, in Visby, Sweden. She has produced and contributed to catalogues and publications, including MTN Art Talk, MTN New Contemporaries, Standard Bank 25-year celebration, Sam Nglengethwa’s 2006 Monograph, and Johannes Phokela’s KZNSA Exhibition Catalogue. Most recently she has curated !Kauru which provides a platform for African contemporary artists and cultural practioners to engage around a showcase of contemporary art from the continent, and will travel to five regions of the African continent.  

Mary Sibande

Mary Sibande employs the human form as a vehicle through painting and sculpture, to explore the construction of identity in a postcolonial South African context She also attempts to critique stereotypical depictions of women, particularly black women, in our society. She has participated in several exhibitions in Europe, Brazil, and Africa as well as at home; her work is included in all major collections in South Africa and she has done residencies in three countries in Europe and in New York.