Cape Town, 16 November 2016 - The Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) is known as much for its superlative music experience, as it is for the numerous outreach programmes it has developed and runs alongside ‘Africa’s Greatest Gathering.’ Recognising well ahead of the curve, that social currency is the true leader in transformation, espAfrika, the creator of the CTIJF, is now reaping the rewards with former graduates who will lead two of its most advanced and important workshops into the future.
The highly regarded Arts Journalism and the Photojournalism programmes attract candidates from local and international working media, as well as those who have a professional interest in these mediums. Because the media landscape has changed so much over the years - more so in the last four, than in the previous 50 - these programmes have also increased in importance, relevance and popularity.
Recognising that the changing times also includes advancement in technology, espAfrika, has instituted a digital submission process XXXXX to streamline procedures, and has opened the application dates earlier than previous years to accommodate the increased interest.
In the arts or their reportage and as in life, change is the only constant. Hence, highly regarded music and arts journalist, Gwen Ansell, who created the CTIJF Arts Journalism course 15 years ago, and led it since inception, will hand over the reigns at the end of this forthcoming course.
Her successor, who will co-chair the 2017 programme, is award-winning journalist, author and music aficionado, Percy Mabandu. Mabandu is a graduate of the CTIJF Arts Journalism (AJ) programme and its advanced course, the CTIJF Mentoring Arts Journalists (MAJ).
In addition to his undoubted knowledge of music, arts and culture, Mabandu is passionate about the importance of culture journalism and the challenges of training competent art reporters. “It is a growing area of content production and journalism worldwide. The nature of culture along with publishing platforms is changing fast – we’ve switched to digital in a big way including music). The world is becoming globally open and yet locally focused all at once (Glocalisation). Arts reporters need to explain and report beyond the fun frills of entertainment, as they also need to understand the larger political economy too,” says Mabandu, respectfully awake to the role he will now fulfill.
Of the handover, Ansell observed: “I love this programme, it’s been a big part of my life for the past 15 years and I’ll always be happy to lend a helping hand. But we have reached a time where there have been massive and disruptive changes in how journalism is produced and consumed that now demand change, and I couldn’t be happier that Percy take up the mantle and lead this course into a new era. As well as being a captivating writer, Percy has a much stronger background in online and multimedia than I have, and that’s the direction things are moving in.
“Finally, I think it’s ethically important right now that the course transforms to better reflect the demographics of this country at trainer as well as participant level; it’s just the right thing to do.”
Another graduate of both the AJ and MAJ programmes, (run in alternate years to ensure there is a constant flow of ‘new generation’ trainers to keep progressing the art of journalism in this medium) is Caroline Kimanju, who for the second year, heads up the CTIJF Photojournalism workshop.
Caroline is looking forward to embracing more pan-African photographers on this year’s course, as the interest is already there. Imagery is growing in importance and relevance, as content for all mediums – whether they are online news, print newspapers or even corporate websites. The ability to capture the ‘news’ or the ‘emotion’ in an artist’s face, performance or reflection, requires skill. It is not as simple as pointing and pressing, even with today’s enhanced technology. Taking a photograph of a saxophonist without his/her instrument has no context, so understanding composition, knowing how to be in the right place at the right time and what to look out for are key ingredients explored on the course.
Aside from the quality of the trainers and the superior material of the programmes, a key benefit of attending, is the fact that unprecedented access is granted to the ‘behind the scenes’ at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and even to some of the performers, for those ‘exclusive’ shots…providing theoretical practice.
Billy Domingo, Festival Director of the CTIJF, and an ardent supporter of these training programmes stated: “We are delighted that the submission period for these courses has been opened earlier to accommodate the escalating interest we are receiving from media in South Africa as well as from the African continent. These courses are unique and offer exceptional insight and experience and I would encourage young people to apply.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Gwen Ansell for her years of dedication to the CTIJF Arts Journalism programme and her foresight in creating it. Gwen’s passion for music, journalism and the Festival has made her a brilliant partner and it has been our pleasure to work with her.
“We also welcome Percy Mabandu as co-Chair in 2017 and look forward to the years ahead as he helps sculpt the progression of these programmes for future generations. Gwen’s feet may be small, but her impact has been exceptional and felt at the four corners of the world – in your understanding of today’s media realm Percy, we know that you too can share your influence and help shape a new era that will sustain arts journalism, here and abroad. We wish you both well.”