Khumalo hands over baton

MUSIC diva Sibongile Khumalo is stepping down as National Arts Festival Board vice-chairperson and the festival's committee chairperson after this year's event.

MUSIC diva Sibongile Khumalo is stepping down as National Arts Festival Board vice-chairperson and the festival's committee chairperson after this year's event.

Khumalo, who has occupied the two seats since 2006, will be replaced by academic Jay Panther. The respected artist was appointed to the festival committee in 1996.

"I am privileged to have been a part of the National Arts Festival, an insightful mirror of our society as our young democracy was born and now continues to evolve," Khumalo said yesterday.

"It has been an empowering and affirming journey, but now it is time to step aside and hand over the reins to others as the festival continues being the barometer, the heart and the thought leader of our artistic world."

Panther is an associate professor at the University of Cape Town's drama department and a renowned South African choreographer.

Board chairperson Ayanda Mjekula said: "Jay joined the committee in 2006 and has won the respect of both its members and the board for his insightful views on the role of arts in society.

"He is a thoughtful, bold and engaging administrator and practitioner.

"We look forward to him playing a significant part in the process of defining the festival in the South African context."

The annual event runs in June and July.

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