The Standard Bank Young Artist Awards 2020


The Standard Bank Young Artist Awards are presented by the National Arts Festival to emerging, relatively young South African artists who have demonstrated exceptional ability in their chosen fields but who have not yet achieved national exposure and acclaim.

This years’ artists are:

Jefferson Tshabalala is the Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre and is a writer, director, performer, and the founder and owner of the live arts production house, Kiri Pink Nob Arts (Pty) Ltd. He merges poetry, hip-hop, comedy, and traditional dramatic arts to communicate nuanced and far-reaching stories. His recent work Ekasi Lam – An Ode to Kwaito premiered at the 2019 National Arts Festival.

Nthato Mokgata is the Standard Bank Young Artist for Music and is also known by his stage name Spoek Mathambo. He is a musician, artist, producer, rapper, and singer-songwriter. Through his solo career and projects such as Batuk and Fantasma, Mokgata has toured the globe extensively. He is also the director of Future Sounds of Mzansi, a documentary exploring South Africa’s cultural landscape, 20 years into democracy.

Lulu Prudence Mlangeni, a dancer, teacher, and choreographer, is the Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance. Her practice incorporates a strong element of texture to the art of movement and has seen her perform on stages across the world. Her recent dance piece Confined is inspired by the life political stalwart Winnie Madikizela Mandela.

Blessing Ngobeni is a fine artist who strives to simultaneously uplift others while challenging the status quo through his art. He is the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art. Through the use of painting, sculpture, video, audio installations and live performance Ngobeni speaks truth to power, continually highlighting and questioning corrupted systems of power in South Africa. He also mentors and provides support for young artists.

Sisonke Xonti is a jazz saxophonist, composer, and bandleader and is the Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz Music. A passionate collaborator, Xonti has worked with and performed alongside artists such as Hugh Masekela, Lira, Bokani Dyer, and Simphiwe Dana to name a few. His full-length album, Iyonde, was released in 2017.

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