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Project: Soweto Sounds

The British Council Connect ZA supports a variety of projects in all art forms that connect the creative communities of the United Kingdom and South Africa.

13 of these projects come from an open call which drew close to 200 applications. The applications were strong and diverse across the countries and in art forms, the selected projects were chosen in an extensive and challenging selection process with a panel composed of British Council advisors from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Scotland and England. 

Our 2017 programme includes projects in addition to our open call. Projects and their details will be updated regularly.

Keep a look out for project updates on our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages.


British Council Connect ZA invites young digital storytellers and artists working in digital, from Southern Africa, East Africa, West Africa and the UK to take part in ColabNowNow. This platform for collaboration will showcase innovative digital work which will be shown during the Fak’ugesi Festival. The artists will partake in a 10 day programme curated by, Jepchumba, the founder and creative director of African Digital Art, and take part in the larger Fak'ugesi Festival programme.
When: 6-16 September 2017
PartnersFak'ugesi Digital Innovation Festival, Jepchumba.


Project page - Presented by British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong, ‘Ph03nix Rising: The Mogya Project’ builds on previous projects like ‘Meh Mogya’ and ‘More Mogya’, wherein the artist deciphers Ghanaian highlife samples as a means of exploring his audible heritage, and the socio-political context of Ghana’s history. Inspired by Ashanti folklore, Achiampong’s new project explores these complex narratives of history and identity from a science-fictional perspective. Accompanying the sonic aspect of the performance is a projected score of images - tracing an imagined narrative of the artist’s alter ego, the ‘Black Ph03nix’.
When: Forms part of the ICA Live Art Festival programme, scheduled for February 2017.
Partners: Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) | Larry Achiampong


Project page - Writer/performer Sophie Woolley collaborates with Unmute dancer/choreographer, Andile Vellem and director Gemma Fairlie to devise a mixed discipline show, with a scratch showing to an invited audience. Sophie and Andile will retell the curious story of the infamous ‘fake interpreter’ at the memorial for Nelson Mandela at Soweto Stadium. Half the world was outraged, and the other half laughing. How do we reconcile our personal experience of significant world events, with the agendas of social media and news channels? What has changed for Deaf people since the fake interpreter went viral? (Image credit: Debbie Bragg)
When: 29 March 2017 
Partners: Sophie Woolley, Gemma Fairlie, Andile Vellem. 


Project page - Refuge is a cross-continental storytelling exchange that engages ethnographic research, documentary and verbatim theatre to uncover the stories of asylum seekers and immigrants from two cities. Part improvised performance, part live storytelling event, collaborators Amy Jephta (SA) and Paul Walter Blinkhorn (UK) aim to uncover often ignored narratives: of people who live on the fringes or under the radar, who inspire irrational fear, are almost invisible or have become part of the texture of the cosmopolitan city. Who are ‘they’…? How did they get here…? What were they seeking refuge from&hellip
When: ZA - Cape Town May 2017, UK -  Manchester June 2017 
Partners: Amy Jephta | Paul Blinkhorn


Project page - Encountering the Other is a collaboration involving both live and digital performance, between The Market Lab, Johannesburg and ODDMANOUT, Darlington, with a focus on examining what it is like to be a young woman in the 2010’s, culminating in performances of one collectively created production to be performed on both sides of the world - so important in the true spirit of cultural exchange.
When: TBC
PartnersODDMANOUT | The Market Laboratory


Project page - Bennie Haven desperately seeks for answers to appease his late lover, Bud. She was a curious soul who forever asked life questions. He stays determined to answer them, rummaging through poetic words where The Woman In The Wind lives, emotions eat him away from the inside as he is called to feel, to heal and to hear the very words he is seeking - within, and without. We watch as he dances his way through conflicted teachings, emotional turmoil, and an obsession with finding the answers.  Tribe of Doris (UK) and Drama For Life (ZA) have come together to enable this powerful movement piece. Vela Souls creates ONE - Choreographed by Yana Seidl, performed solo by Nyaniso Dzedze, featuring Liz Collier (film projection), original music by Owl, Faisal Salah and Thembinkosi Mavimbela.
When: See ONE live in ZA - April, and the UK May and June 2017
PartnersTribe of Doris @TribeOfDoris Facebook | Drama For Life @drama_for_life Facebook


Project page - Looking After Freedom focuses on the research, development and performance/exhibition of shared scores and artistic documentation that processes the socio-political construction of a particular site’s cultural lineage. The process is intended to be an exchange between artists based at both the Whitworth Gallery (Manchester) and the Michaelis Gallery (Cape Town). Our aim is to bring specific attention to movement practices, score- or trace making processes and the ways in which bodies have assembled in, around and through these sites and their neighbourhoods that have perhaps been marginalised, silenced, or remain mostly invisible to the public.
When: UK & ZA March - December 2017. (Performances, roundtable, discussions, workshop). Symposium UCT - June 2017.
PartnersNkule Mabaso | Accumulations @accumulations | Michaelis Galleries | Whitworth Gallery


Project page - CONSTRUCTING FUTURE CITIES is a project led by Future Cape Town, which seeks to articulate a vision for the future of cities, created by young women. >While we have witnessed the rise of a more female city leaders across the world, gender equality is still a challenge and impacts how we plan our cities.  Through an artistic process, the project will produce visual pieces based on the knowledge, ideas and imagination of young women, gathered through research and interviews in South African and UK cities.
When: The works be produced through a publicly open studio week in Cape Town in 2017. May/June 2017.
Partners:Future Cape Town / Our Future Cities network @futurecapetown Instagram Facebook 


Project page - Born::Free, is a project designed to produce a poetry exchange and a series of poetry master-class workshops. These will be focusing on craft and performance between poets from different parts of the UK and South Africa. The exchange will culminate in two showcase events in the respective countries in collaboration with the Institute of Contemporary Arts & BORN::FREE.  In each city the poets will organise a poetry workshop with either a local collective or a writing community. The aim of the workshops is to build and strengthen new bonds with poetry practitioners in several parts of South Africa both within the workshop space and outside of it. The project will start with South African poets travelling to the UK at the end of May 2017 where they will conduct several poetry workshops with a few London poetry collectives including Octavia, which is a leading poetry collective for emerging and young poets in London. This will culminate in a showcase event at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. In June, UK poets will travel to South Africa where they will join local poets for a series of workshops and poetry exchange, top match the nature of the UK project.

When: TBC

Partners: Belinda Zhawi, UK – writer and educator; - https://www.ica.art/associates/belinda-zhawi 

Katleho Shoro, SA – poet and performer based in Johannesburg; - http://badilishapoetry.com/katleho-shoro/ 

Lebohang (Nova) Masango, SA – poet, performer; - http://badilishapoetry.com/lebohang-nova-masango/ 


Project page - MIXED SPACE is a short film that explores the ways experiences of mixed- race adults straddle South Africa’s post-apartheid paradox. Given how race continues to be classified in South Africa, those individuals who are “historically mixed” have been designated their own racial and cultural classification, “coloured” as formalised during apartheid legislation. Towards the end of apartheid, however, there emerged a new wave of first-generation mixed-race children whose parents defied the immorality and mixed marriages acts, and engaged in interracial relationships. Whilst these relationships speak conveniently for South Africa’s “rainbow nation” rhetoric, their production of putatively “post-racial” children has illuminated blind spots in South Africa’s race conversations, where most mixed-race adults, 23 years after apartheid, do not possess the language or platform to make sense of their identities and intersections.
When: 25 May - 6 June 2017
Locations: Goldsmiths College London, AVA Gallery Cape Town, Keleketla! Library Johannesburg.


Project page - UK company curious directive collaborate using binaural sound, 360-degree filming, VR technology and expert local knowledge to create Shark. The experience takes you into a cage dive off the coast of Gansbaai and compares it to the UK context. A unique conservation project bringing multiple international voices into a satire about objectivity, thrill seeking and perspective. (Image credit: Marco De Waal)
When: August - September 2017
Partnercurious directive  @c_directive


Project page - The project encompasses two parts: firstly, by focusing on knowledge exchange and capacity building between Keleketla! Library and In Place of War (IPOW). Keleketla believes that artists and cultural workers need more ownership of systems that enable the experience of artistic production, so the creative entrepreneurial programme by IPOW (certified by The University of Manchester) provide young practitioners with tools to develop a business acumen, knowledge of the creative sector and access to a global network of creative practitioners. In turn, creatives become self-organised change makers. The second component of the project is an immersive recording session between the legendary band Coldcut and UK|SA musicians at Trackside Live, Soweto. The music collaboration ends with a tour of four UK festival later in August 2017.   
When: Public Event: 4th February 2017 | Cape Town Electronic Music Festival: 11th February 2017 | Festival No 6 UK: 25 August 2017
PartnersIn Place Of War @inplaceofwar Facebook | Keleketla! Library @DrillHallArts Facebook


Project page - In 2017, MANY will host a residency with Mushroom Hour Half Hour in the East End of Glasgow.
MANY is a creative hub providing work space and opportunities to a wide range of creative practitioners, and showcasing innovative work on an international scale that challenges social and cultural stereotypes through a multi-arts programme.
Mushroom Hour Half Hour is an Experimental Music Imprint from Johannesburg. They curate location specific recordings featuring musicians that would not ordinarily play together - musicians from different generations, traditions and musical styles, to form unique, one-off collaborations.
This residency is built around the theme of collaboration, both between MANY & Mushroom Hour and between artists in UK & South Africa. “MANY Half Hours” will produce a series of recording sessions in and around MANY and the recordings will feature an assortment of Glasgow musicians, collaborating with Mushroom Hour Half Hour artists, Thabang Tabane & Sibusile Xaba.
When: May - June 2017
PartnersMany Studios @manystudios Facebook Instagram | Mushroom Hour Half Hour @mushroomhour Facebook Instagram

More info on the Many Half Hours Project Page


Project page - In February 2017, we welcome London-based bass scene luminary, IKONIKA to South Africa. From dubstep through salty RnB and the pummelling club trax characterising the Night Slugs affiliate’s current sound, the trailblazer is set to make a well-timed entry onto our dance floors. 
As well as a club night in each city (hosted in JHB & DBN by Broaden A New Sound and CPT by Cold Turky founder Anthea Duce), Ikonika will also share her skills as a guest mentor with Johannesburg femme-forward club movement Pussy Party, hosting free DJ workshops for interested femmes in JHB, DBN, and CT.
When : February - March 2017
Partners : Pussy Party | Broaden A New Sound | Anthea Duce | Ikonika


Project page - We want to paint with music.
Composing music up until now has solely focussed on how it sounds but what if composing music was also about how it looked? We will create an audio-visual gallery. A virtual gallery with audiovisual pieces, the visual of each piece will be digitally generated by the song of each piece.
This project will create permanent visual artefacts - a digital painting - with every song. Using MIDI data from the songs and generative algorithms, together the two will create a digital painting. The project will open up a different way of composing music and designing visuals for music. 
When: TBC 2017
PartnersCukia Kimani @SUGBOERIE | Yann Seznec @yannseznec


Project page - NON XCHANGE materialises and builds upon the international connections already established by NON’s projects and artistic affiliations. Through performance, discussion, and exhibitions, NON XCHANGE confronts spatial violence and systemic exclusion, forming a cultural dissent against the structural legacy of colonialism. NON XCHANGE is a multidisciplinary series of events, creating a borderless network for understanding, exchange and collaboration, taking place at various locations in the UK, Germany and South Africa.
When: June 2017. London, Berlin, Cape Town, Johannesburg.
Partners: NON WORLDWIDE | Institution of Contemporary Art (London) | NATAAL


Project page
 - The tour by Boyd and Klein is part of an exciting collaboration between Black Major and British Council Connect ZA. As part of the initiative, Boyd will undertake a drum clinic in Cape Town while his manager, Koyejo Oloko (A&R Young Turks and label owner at Sweet Boys) will present at a Creative Hustle in Braamfontein. As well as performing in Johannesburg and Cape Town 
When: July 2017. Cape Town, Johannesburg.
Partners: Black Major