The ACT Awards have recognised over 130 individuals and organisations for their significant contribution to art, culture and heritage in South Africa. These awards show the sustainable impact ACT pursues in the creative industry. For the fourth year, ACT and Distell Foundation will award four young professionals or groups who have made an impact during the first five years of their careers.

Irma Albers from Distell Foundation says, “We are proud to be involved with the ACT Awards. By investing in emerging talent particularly through the ImpACT Awards, we hope to play an important role in raising standards and spreading interest and appreciation for newcomers in the South African creative arts industry, locally and abroad. Congratulations to all the participants and winners - we wish you all a bright future, as you establish yourself as key role players in building the economy of our country.”

ImpACT Awards are given annually to honour young artists that have reached a notable level in their careers and public nominations in the categories of Theatre, Visual Art, Design and Music & Singing were invited.

“By benchmarking excellence the ACT Awards set industry standards. In addition, the process of identifying recipients, highlights those creative professionals working in the industry who not only meet but exceed those standards thereby raising the bar. What this does is highlight exceptional talent in the industry. This spotlight creates a platform for these individuals who might not otherwise receive this kind of recognition - recognition that has the potential to powerfully propel sustainable careers in a highly competitive industry,” says Pieter Jacobs, CEO of ACT.

The finalists for the 2014 ImpACT Awards include fashion and interior designers, and concept brands; fine art print-makers, curators and entrepreneurs; singers, songwriters and musicians; and playwrights, actors and directors. Every year the variety in skill and talent make the judging process even tougher, and 2014 is no exception. Each winner will receive a feature in ClassicFeel magazine to the value of over R25 000 and a cash prize of R1500.

The judges for the ImpACT Awards include visual artist David Koloane; fashion designer Eugienie Drakes; jazz musician Herbie Tsoaeli; and Moving into Dance Mophatong’s Nadia Virasamy. Caroline Smart, the convenor of the judging panel and ACT Trustee says: “As always, it’s an extremely difficult decision to make – to choose four successful candidates out of a very impressive list. However, a choice has to be made and the panel has to look at a number of issues; the most important issue being the potential development of the individual in his or her chosen arts discipline. Another facet is how the acknowledgement of the ImpACT Award could make a difference in enhancing the recipient’s career. What is also very important is to acknowledge the philosophy of the Arts & Culture Trust’s sponsors and to make sure the recipient reflects these with pride.”

The cornerstone of the ACT Awards is the presentation of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards for Theatre, Music, Visual Art and Literature. Lifetime Achievement Award winners are nominated and selected by the ACT Board of Trustees, the recipient is someone that the sponsors are proud to acknowledge for their contribution to the arts. In 2014, ACT has added a category of Arts Advocacy to these awards, launched in partnership with ClassicFeel magazine, honouring patrons in the arts who have devoted a lifetime of work to supporting the arts.

The judges, being members of the ACT board of Trustees and the committee, specifically choose winners who stand out from the artistic excellence of their work; their experience in the industry and the impact this has had on their community and the commerce of the creative industry as a whole. The Lifetime Achievement Award winners are given R30 000 each, totalling an impressive R600 000 since 2008.

The 2014 ACT Awards ceremony is sponsored by Nedbank Arts Affinity, hosted by Sun International and presented in association with the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO), Media24 Books, ClassicFeel magazine and is supported by the Distell Foundation and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA).

The ImpACT Awards finalists are:


Juxtapoz Concept by Sphiwe Giba

Sphiwe Giba is a Johannesburg-based illustrator with a broad knowledge and understanding of trends and movements. Giba thrives on the concepts of innovation and research, seen in his body of creative work. From t-shirts to cushions and a range of homeware, Giba believes his illustrated designs are for people who love, care and appreciate creativity. He established the Juxtapoz Concept in 2012, which is a dynamic creative solutions company and has impressive accolades within the creative and corporate design sector. He began with a Diploma in Brand Communication Management, specialising in Graphic Design, Photography and Multimedia, sealing his academics with Business Administration with Economics. Giba is currently a managing director after serving as senior manager at Alexander Forbes Design Department. His company serves local and international clientele.

Thabo Makhetha-Kwinana Brand

Lesotho-born Thabo Makhetha-Kwinana started her own business in 2009. She graduated from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University with a National Diploma in Fashion Design. She was named as one of House & Leisure magazine’s 2013 Rising Stars. The Thabo Makhetha-Kwinana brand has showcased designs locally in various Port Elizabeth fashion shows; nationally at the Design Indaba in Cape Town in 2013, and selected as a semi-finalist for the SA Fashion Week Renault New Talent Search. The label was recently invited to showcase the Spring/Summer 2015 collection in Canada, at the Vancouver Fashion Week. The Nelson Mandela Business Chambers have honoured Makhetha-Kwinana as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Achievers of 2014. The Thabo Makheta brand plans to showcase their designs on international and national Fashion Week runways. The company has already begun with plans to roll out an online store to reach the international market.

Shawn Lukas

Shawn Lukas is a freelance designer from Taung, in the North West. He currently works from his apartment in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, which he aptly calls The Shawn Lukas Room. He studied at the National Electronic Media of South Africa and further developed on his other talents such as music production, art and creative writing. Through design, music, writing or painting, Lukas has a keen eye for detail and ensures that nothing gets overlooked. His inspiration is based on nature and simplicity in design aesthetics.


Quintin Wils

Quintin Wils studied Drama at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and has since taken the South African theatre industry by storm. His play, Sand, travelled the country and received standing ovations with audiences at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and the US Woordfees. His play, Smaarties, which opened at the South African State Theatre in April, was received by great critical acclaim and was thereafter invited to perform in theatres in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Rustenburg, Centurion and at the Krekvars Arts Festival. He also directed three plays for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and was named as one of Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s 2014.


POPArt is an independent theatre space in the Maboneng Precinct, in the inner city of Johannesburg. It is run by Hayleigh Evans and Orly Shapiro. The theatre opened in March 2011 and has since showcased over 100 brand new theatre works over the past three years. POPArt is a place and a movement aimed at developing the infrastructure for performing arts in Johannesburg. Their vision is to create a home, a space where performers can flex and hone skills, generate and develop ideas and network. POPArt is a venue where everyone in the performing arts can rehearse and workshop theatrical productions. Evans and Shapiro both studied acting at The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (AFDA) and work in the performing arts industry as practising professionals.

Jade Bowers

Jade Bowers graduated from the University of Cape Town (UCT) with a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Drama and Sociology. She is currently completing her Honours degree at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) with a focus on Directing and Design for the Stage. Bowers was named one of AfriPOP’s Top Five Female Theatre Makers in South Africa; received a Naledi nomination for Best Sound Design; and has recently received a Silver Ovation Award from the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. She has worked as a production manager, stage manager, festival director for WALE 4.0; and a director and designer. She is currently a theatrical rights administrator at Dramatic, Artstic and Literary Rights Organistion (DALRO) and also runs her own production company called Jade Bowers Design & Management.

Music & Singing

Nomfundo Xaluva

Born and raised in Port Elizabeth, Nomfundo Xaluva was introduced to classical piano at the Victoria Girls Primary Boarding School in Grahamstown, when she was 12-years-old. In her final year at high school Xaluva was determined to study jazz and enrolled for a BMus in Jazz Studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2003. In that same year she joined the National Youth Choir, where she made her solo debut in 2009. Xaluva then completed her Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies (Voice & Dissertation) from UCT, where she graduated with Distinction.

For her Master's Degree she did a dissertation on the music of Mama Afrika and entitled it The Analysis of the Musical Style of Miriam Makeba. Xaluva recorded her first album, Kusile, in 2011, produced by Mandisi Dyantyis. Xaluva has shared a stage with jazz legend Sibongile Khumalo. She has also performed at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival as part of the Mzansi Golen Voices who tributed Brenda Fassie with the German Orchestra Kicks and Sticks. In August, Xaluva headlined her own concert at the Port Elizabeth Opera House as part of the inaugural Nelson Mandela Bay Concert Series. Here, she also taught a Vocal Masterclass as part of the mentorship aspect of the initiative. Currently she is Head Vocal Coach at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts.

Guy Buttery

Multiple award-winning virtuoso Guy Buttery has taken his world renowned guitar show around the globe. At the age of 30, Buttery has achieved what most musicians accomplish in a lifetime. With sell-out performances in the US, the UK, Brazil, Australia, France, Italy and all over Southern Africa his musical acclaim has reached extremely high status. In 2014, Buttery received his second South African Music Award and fifth Standard Bank Ovation Award for Best Music at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and is now considered one of Africa’s biggest acoustic music export. Expect high dynamics, deep grooves, delicate African inflections and mind-bending one-man guitar chemistry of a new order when listening to Buttery’s music or seeing him perform.


Majola is originally from Zwelitsha Township, near King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape. He started singing at the age of nine as a member of a local gospel group. His life changed when he made it through to the top 100 of the South African Idols’ second season at the age of 17. He obtained a Performers Diploma in Musical Theatre from Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) with distinctions in Acting and Theatre Production. His theatrical resume includes appearances in musical revue shows such as West Side Story, Sweet Charity, The Little Shop of Horrors and Chicago. He registered his company Axis Productions at the age of 22 with the aim of producing life-changing artistic works. His first original musical play called Isini was staged at the Market Theatre Lab and Wits Theatre as part of the 2012 Sex-Actually Festival. He then returned to his first love of singing full time, starting up as a backup vocalist. In 2013 he signed an international digital distribution deal with Africori. His debut album is titled Boet Sissy, chronicling musical anecdotes of growing up gay in a township in post-apartheid South Africa.

Visual Arts

Fortune Bengu

Fortune Bengu is a visual arts coordinator at The Bat Centre in Durban. He recently finished his degree in Fine Art at the Durban University of Technology, majoring in Art Theory and Printmaking. He has exhibited in various group shows locally and abroad. His recent participation in an exhibition was in 2013 at the Imago Mundi: The Art of Humanity exhibition. Bengu has helped a number of artists such as Wonder Mbambo and Mhlonishwa Chiliza launch their careers, as well as other emerging artists in Durban. He also recently launched an initiative at the Bat Centre which seeks to aid older artists who may have given up on their talent.

Bevan de Wet

Bevan de Wet is an artist and printmaker based in Johannesburg. He works primarily on paper, exploring various forms of printmaking namely intaglio, relief, monotype and screenprinting. De Wet studied Fine Art at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, under the mentorship of Dominic Thorburn, Christine Dixie and Diane Victor. He majored in printmaking and completed his BFA with distinction. De Wet began his career as a practicing artist in 2009. He has since returned to Rhodes for two semesters as a guest lecturer in the printmaking department. At the end of 2010 he returned to Johannesburg where he began working as a collaborative printer at David Krut Print Workshop. Since 2011 De Wet has worked at Artist Proof Studio as a professional printmaker, print technician and academic facilitator. He has worked with artists such as Gerhard Marx, Walter Oltmann and William Kentridge. De Wet also facilitates regular printmaking workshops at Sharon Sampson studio in Illovo. He has exhibited at several galleries in South Africa and abroad and is a recent ABSA L’Atelier Merit Award winner with the Sylt Foundation, granting him a two month residency on the Island of Sylt in Germany 2015.

Banele Rewo

Banele Rewo is a social entrepreneur and founder of Authentic Creatives Outdoor Platforms - an outdoor advertising business model that economically benefits communities. He is also the founder of I Create We Create - a seminar, collaboration and development event for entrepreneurial artisans. He is the creative director of May Johannesburg Bless You which is an annual photo-documentary showcasing upcoming photographers and writers to highlight current social issues.