The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative receives the 2018 National Arts Festival Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Human Rights Award 

The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative (FATC) has been announced as the recipient of the National Arts Festival’s Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Human Rights Award, sponsored by the Embassy of the Netherlands.

Jan Huesken, Deputy Ambassador of the Netherlands Embassy, said: “The aim of the award is to recognise individual artists and arts organisations that explore the potential of arts to advocate for social change and to promote South Africa’s human rights.”

“It is very important for the Embassy of the Netherlands to put institutions like FATC in the spotlight as they promote the use of arts and culture as the medium to address issues that are relevant not only in South Africa, but globally. We would like to extend our thanks to PJ Sabbagha for the significant efforts that he and FATC have undertaken and the achievements obtained in this respect. We also want to thank the National Arts Festival for creating platforms for artists to share their stories with the world.”

Adelaide Tambo, who shared a birthday with Nelson Mandela, was a champion of human rights. Her daughter Tselane Tambo presented the inaugural award in 2014 in honour of her late mother. Former recipients have included Irene Stephanou, the Market Theatre Laboratory, Drama For Life and Ngizwe Youth Theatre.

At the 2018 National Arts Festival, FATC presented the provocative work titled PHUMA-LANGA, which was created by NAF 2018 Featured Artist Mamela Nyamza while she was in residence with FATC. Nyamza drew inspiration from the Ndebele culture among other diverse historical South African experiences, as a way of depicting renewed social cohesion.

“Under the Artistic Directorship of founder PJ Sabbagha, FATC has produced a prolific body of work dedicated to the probing of critical personal and social issues,” said Ashraf Johaardien, Executive Producer of the National Arts Festival. He added that FATC has become South Africa’s leading contemporary dance company in addressing the overwhelming presence of HIV and AIDS in contemporary South African society.

Commenting on receiving the award, PJ Sabbagha said: “FATC is deeply honoured to be named Recipient of the 2018 Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Human Rights Award. Our work in rural Mpumalanga is revealing and affirming our belief that sustained access to quality arts and culture practice and education is a critical tool for transforming the ways in which people see themselves, their world and their futures.

“It has quickly become about far more than we could have imagined – it’s become about fully inclusive practice that is decentralised – creating an equitable space and actions that work to challenge and address systemic imbalances – holding ourselves and existing structures to account.”

“The work in arts activism, human rights and social justice through the arts can be a hugely challenging, demanding and often lonely journey,” Sabbagha said. “While we continuously see and witness the extraordinary impact of the arts in the lives of  marginalised and under-served communities and individuals, recognition at this level adds significant profile and visibility to our work and will undoubtedly embolden and strengthen the resolve of our full team to continue the critical work of FATC.”

About the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative

FATC is strongly committed to mobilising the arts as a vehicle for personal and social transformation. This commitment, emerging from its long history of arts activism, lies at the heart of each of project within FATC’s extensive Artistic and Arts Education Programmes. Situated in the rural area of Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga, FATC and the Ebhudlweni Arts Centre, which it established in 2015, are dedicated to artistic excellence and improving access to arts education for all. Through its work at the Ebhudlweni Arts Centre, FATC is able to realize its commitment to social transformation, through the arts, and the upliftment of rural communities. From the Ebhudlweni Arts Centre, FATC not only serves its immediate rural community, but continues to serve the national and international dance industry through residency programmes, large-scale arts interventions such as its My Body My Space: Public Arts Festival and the creation, performance and touring of its Artistic Programme.