UJ Arts & Culture tours to Vrystaat Arts Festival

The University of Johannesburg’s Arts & Culture division is thrilled to announce its participation in the highly anticipated Vrystaat Arts Festival, taking place in Bloemfontein this July. 

The Vrystaat Arts Festival is a celebration of creativity and cultural expression, offering a diverse range of artistic experiences across various disciplines, including theatre, music, dance, literature, and visual arts. 

Building on the festival’s growing reputation, this year’s edition promises to be exceptional, with UJ showcasing two captivating artistic experiences that will leave audiences inspired and enthralled. 

The Vrystaat Arts Festival programme will feature Echoes of Heritage, an innovative contemporary music performance composed by the talented Mbuso Ndlovu and performed by the world-renowned University of Johannesburg Choir.   

This extraordinary body of work comprises eight original compositions and six arrangements, aiming to beautifully illustrate the significance of cattle ownership and its integral role in indigenous African societies. With an enchanting blend of harmonies, captivating choreography, and evocative storytelling, UJ Choir will breathe life into the vibrant tapestry of practices, ceremonies, and traditions underpinned by the importance of ownership in African cultures. Drawing from the lyrical beauty of seven distinct South African languages, this performance celebrates a myriad of traditional South African choral music styles, creating a truly enriching experience. 

Ndlovu, currently participating in the UJ Artists in Residence Programme (AIR), shares his anticipation, “Being part of the AIR programme has provided me with unparalleled freedom to explore and expand my creativity. The collaboration with Renette Bouwer, Senior Choir Master of UJ Choir, and the talented choristers have been nothing short of inspiring, allowing me to witness the realisation of my compositional explorations. Echoes of Heritage serves as a remarkable testament to my artistic expression.” 

With only two performances at the Vrystaat Arts Festival, Echoes of Heritage will be presented at the Odeion Auditorium on 13 July at 16:00 and 15 July at 17:00. Tickets are available for R160 at the door and R140 for early birds. 

UJ Arts & Culture proudly presents Black Boi meets Boogeyman produced by Siziintsomi Creations and Different Immersive in collaboration with World Poetry Slam Champion, Xabiso Vili and The Brother Moves On. This visionary XR 360° visual album is an immersive experience with multi-endings where the viewers ‘choose their own adventure’. The album aims to serve as a transformative portal, utilizing XR (Extended Reality) artistry to foster communal healing and ignite the imagination of both artists and communities.  

This work of speculative fiction follows the protagonist, Black Boi, on a heroic quest through a South Africa in need of rediscovering its light to confront the Boogeyman and transform toxic masculinity into compassionate masculinity.  

As a forward-thinking institution, the University of Johannesburg has long been committed to blending technology and the arts to create extraordinary experiences that push the boundaries of reality. Black Boi meets Boogeyman aligns perfectly with this vision, highlighting UJ Arts & Culture’s dedication to cultivating partnerships with emerging artists and propelling their work to new heights of innovation. 

Pieter Jacobs, Head of UJ Arts & Culture, expressed his enthusiasm for collaborating with new artists and exploring the possibilities presented by innovative technology and extended reality within the arts.  

“By embracing cutting-edge technology and pushing the boundaries of creative expression, we continuously expand our understanding of the endless possibilities within the arts,” Jacobs shared. 

Immerse yourself in the transformative journey of Black Boi meets Boogeyman, available for free throughout the Vrystaat Arts Festival in the KykNet Scaena Foyer. 

Click below to purchase your tickets, and follow us on social media to stay updated. 

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About UJ Arts & Culture 

UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts. 

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA (www.uj.ac.za/fada) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.