The annual BASA Awards was held online on 30 August 2021 celebrating creative partnerships that made an impact in 2020. Each year, BASA awards the Chairperson’s Advocacy Award prize to an organisation or individual elected at the discretion of the BASA Chair. The award is presented in recognition of sustained and extraordinary commitment to the arts in South Africa, in the form of advocacy and awareness initiatives and/or direct support for the arts, whether in a personal or professional capacity at a local, national or international level.
This year’s Chairperson’s Advocacy Award was awarded to the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience. JOMBA!, presented by the Centre for Creative Arts, University of KwaZulu-Natal, is Durban’s (and South Africa’s) benchmark dance festival, centred around connecting contemporary dance practitioners from across the globe. The timing of the Award is auspicious as the 23rd iteration of the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience is currently happening online 24 August – 5 September https://jomba.ukzn.ac.za
Aside from the landmark two-week dance festival, JOMBA!’s Khuluma Writing Residency (launched in 2010), mentors graduate students’ skills as dance writers. Through a series of seminars and critical discussions, the young writers work throughout the festival, offering their thoughts and responses (both personal and analytical) to the work on show.
2020’s digital JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience was a three-country collaboration for the JOMBA! Khuluma platforms; a meeting between South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United State of America. For the first time the platform also offered an isiZulu language editor and translator on the platform.In 2021, the JOMBA! MASIHAMBISANE series of dialogues and critical engagements, launched its first three-day dance colloquium/dialogues, aiming to support focused South African and African (and Diaspora) dance scholarships in an accessible and community-driven manner, and with attention to new ways of engaging dance/performance scholarship, practice, and practice-led research.
“Centred on connecting contemporary dance practitioners from across the globe, the focus and purpose of JOMBA! is to support and nurture the growth of critical contemporary dance in South Africa,” explains BASA Chairman, Charmaine Soobramoney. “Guided by this vision, over the last two decades, Artistic Director, Lliane Loots, and the JOMBA! team have successfully linked important academic spaces with critical artistic practices, connected dance practitioners from across Africa and the world, and made a hugely positive contribution in firmly placing South Africa on the global contemporary dance map,” she adds.
On accepting the Award, JOMBA! founder, Dr Lliane Loots, thanked BASA for honouring the Festival and for holding the value and the zeitgeist temerity of contemporary dance in SA as a valuable art form.
“It has been a long and beautiful 23-year journey to this place. My gratitude to the JOMBA! and CCA team who have held this festival so carefully over the years. It is important that dance is being recognised in this way and that JOMBA!’s work forging artistic and academic partnerships within Africa is also honoured. For me, it has been a 23 year love project and I am humbled and grateful for this recognition,” says Dr Lliane Loots – Artistic Director – JOMBA!
“This is the second major award won by the JOMBA! Festival this year. Earlier this year, JOMBA! was awarded the Best Digital Creations Award by the National Institute for Humanities & Social Sciences. These awards are testament to the deep commitment, vision and passion with which Dr Lliane Loots drives the festival and continues to grow it to be relevant to both the UKZN’s teaching, learning and research programme as well as how the Festival can serve South Africa’s creative and cultural economies,” says Dr Ismail Mahomed, Director of the Centre for Creative Arts.
To watch the 2021 BASA Awards, in partnership with Hollard, please visit https://basa.co.za/awards/