Strategies for Survival at Sibikwa 1988 – 2021

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Landmarks of South African Theatre History

Edited by Phyllis Klotz and Smal Ndaba


Founders of Sibikwa Arts Centre, Smal Ndaba and Phyllis Klotz, with contributions by leading practitioners and scholars in the South African creative and cultural industries, tell an engaging and contextualised history of the township-based arts centre.

Almost 30 years into democracy, South Africa continues to strive for a socially cohesive national perspective and to promote its cultures nationally and internationally.

While South Africa’s government promotes access and participation in arts, culture and heritage, its industries collectively struggle for space and capacity to effectively achieve these goals.

Strategies for survival in tumultuous times

Designated as a Centre of Excellence by the South African Department of Sports Arts and Culture, Sibikwa provides arts centres, NGO’s, government agencies and arts practitioners across the world and especially those in decolonising countries with strategies for survival in tumultuous times.

The book Strategies for Survival at SIBIKWA 1988 – 2021 speaks to the ambitions of artists and practitioners that aim to advance the arts and culture sector while promoting its value in local communities across South Africa.

Expert exploration and analysis

This study will also be of great interest to academic and research institutions, students, teachers and scholars. Strategies for Survival at SIBIKWA provides expert exploration and analysis of authentic theatre-making and performance, dance, indigenous music, arts in education and NGO governance.

The book opens with the historical journey of the Sibikwa Community Project, authored by theatre, performance and design scholar and professional Dr. Sarah Roberts, who layers the artistry of Sibikwa’s award winning productions such as So Where To? (1989) and D.E.T. Boys High (1991) with the environmental and political landscape, and Ndaba and Klotz’ commitment to democracy and community that underpin their work.

Sibikwa’s work […] redefined the notion of an African Renaissance in strictly everyday community terms to contribute productively to the task of nation-building” – Dr. Sarah Roberts, 2021.

Authentic theatre-making and performance, dance, indigenous music, arts in education and NGO governance

It provides an exploration and analysis by experts of authentic theatre-making and performance, including Dr. Evans Netshivhambe composer and lecturer in African Music Studies, at the University of Pretoria on Sibikwa’s works in indigenous music, and Claire Craighead and Dr. Lliane Loots, of Flatfoot Dance Company and lecturers at the University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal who co-author a chapter on Sibikwa’s development in dance and physical theatre.

This multi-disciplinary book maps national historical, political and social contexts and events with matters specific to community. Sibikwa’s work in gender and inclusion is written about by Dr. Lliane Loots and further exploration into Sibikwa’s arts education programmes is provided by Vanessa Bower and Prof. Hazel Barnes.

It has contemporary significance and raises important questions regarding inclusivity and transformation, with a chapter on the function and future of community arts centres co-authored by Dr. Munyaradzi Chatikobo, lecturer in Cultural Policy and Management at the Wits School of Arts and Caryn Green, CEO of Sibikwa.

Order Online at Routledge

The book, commissioned and edited by Klotz and Ndaba, was brought to life through financial support from Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) and the Arts and Culture Trust (ACT), and published by Routledge in 2023, as part of the Routledge Advances in Theatre and Performance Studies series.