Dose of creative expression to honour the youth of 1976

The Freedom Music Festival on June 29 wil thrill visitors.
The Freedom Music Festival on June 29 wil thrill visitors.

It's been 43 years since the 1976 student uprisings, which led to thousands of youth being incarcerated at the Old Fort Prison in Johannesburg, which is now Constitution Hill.

For the past seven years, Constitution Hill has paid tribute to the fallen through a celebration of creative expression at its annual Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival.

Constitution Hill CEO Dawn Robertson says the festival not only showcases art, design, film, poetry and music, it also provides inspirational workshops and entrepreneurial support programmes for young creatives. All events are free, aside from the concert.

"This year we are celebrating 25 years of creative freedom. In this, the 25th anniversary of our democracy, we will demonstrate our commitment to building a stronger and fairer society by exploring issues relating to human rights, democracy and social justice.

"We believe in artistic activism - that the arts can change lives and communities by transmitting fundamental human values and inspiring us to embrace and celebrate our freedom," says Robertson.

"By challenging young creatives to explore notions of freedom, we will use the festival to highlight current issues prevalent in society that impact the lives of young people."

Activities will kick off on June 26 with the the Basha Bacha Creative Uprising: a three-day creative summit packed full of workshops, talks and an industry pitch session for designers to win funding and mentorship.

The fine art programme, Expressions of Freedom, opens to the public on June 27 with two exhibitions that will close on July 31. Both focus on young emerging artists from two major art collections.

The Spier Arts Trust in Partnership with Constitution Hill will showcase an exhibition titled I See U, Imagining a Space for Freedom.

Nando's, in partnership with Spier Arts Trust, will also host a series of art workshops including a panel discussion with the Nando's 2019 Creative Exchange artists.

Adolf Tega, Thembalethu Manqunyana, Wonder Marthinus and Robyn Pretorius are among these artists.

The Art Bank of SA curates the Homing in on Freedom exhibition, a showcase of artworks by youth. The works were chosen to highlight multi-layered themes of home, identity and expression.

The Freedom Music Festival on June 29 will feature hip hop, house, gqom, kwaito, amapiano and Afro-soul's finest.

Billed to perform are Riky Rick, Msaki, Langa Mavuso, Thebe, Khuli Chana, De Mthuda & Njelic, DJ Kent, DJ Dimplez, The Brother Moves On, Urban Village, African Rhythm Productions, Ikati Esangweni, Coppashot & Bobotical, DJ Zero, Rosie Parade, Deniece Marz, Sistamatic, P Kuttah, Scott The Girl, Tha Muzik, Ace of Spades, DBN Gogo and FOSTA, and The Charles Géne Suite.

Constitution Square will be filled with eclectic up-and-coming sounds, smash hits and the bustle of the Makers Market which opens at 10am on June 29.

The Makers Market will bring together the finest local food, drink, art and craft producers in the area with goods that are unique and designed to inspire.

Visions of Freedom will be held at Constitution Hill's Women's Jail on June 27 and 28, when five new South African films will be screened.

Films include Norman Maake's Love Lives Here, Jahmil XT Qubeka's apartheid-era Western Sew the Winter to my Skin and An Act of Defiance about anti-apartheid lawyer Bram Fischer.

The Khanyi Mbau and Aubrey Poo film Red Room will screen, as well as Into -Infinity.

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