Of Good Report’s Jahmil Qubeka gets young artist awards nod

2013-10-15 20:41

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Young jazz legend Kyle Shepherd has finally been recognised by the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards and Jahmil Qubeka, creator of the now-unbanned Of Good Report, has received the seldom-awarded prize for film.

At Randlords bar and lounge tonight, with its spectacular view of Joburg, the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Awards winners were announced.

The judges’ task is to identify artists who are about to break into the big time.

Apart from a substantial cash prize, the winners get their work staged at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

For the first time in the history of the awards, siblings have been selected to share a prize. Hasan and Husain Essop are not just siblings, but also identical twins. The 28-year-olds won for visual art. They take bold photographic portraits of themselves.

Genre-buster Nicola Elliott (30) won for dance. The choreographer crosses into physical theatre and visual art with her work.

The young South African director Greg Homann (34) won for theatre. He has steadily created new works that extend the contemporary South African narrative – yet has also been trusted by world greats like Ariel Dorfman to premiere their new plays.

Winner in the recently created performance art category, Donna Kukama (32), is known for art performances that are stark, earthy and experimental, employing multimedia.

And budding opera star Njabulo Madlala has won for music. He is making a big name for himself in London and starting to take leading roles. He started out as part of the chorus of uCarmen eKhayelitsha and won himself international bursaries to train his voice and study music.


Shepherd’s award was long overdue according to commentators – who may now retort that he is already too big for it.

When bassist Shane Cooper won last year for jazz, the matter of Shepherd was raised once again – why are his brilliant peers being acknowledged but not him? The judges appear to have responded to the criticism by selecting Shepherd this year. The 26-year-old pianist, saxophonist, xaru (traditional mouth-bow) player, vocalist and poet has for years been regarded as South Africa’s most important new jazz voice.


The award for film will be sweet justice and an important step forward for Qubeka. He became a well-known name earlier this year when the Film and Publication Board refused to classify his sugardaddy-themed Xhosa film because, they said, it contained child pornography. In fact it depicted non-explicit sex scenes between a teacher and his 16-year-old pupil. The public outcry died down only when Qubeka won his appeal and Of Good Report was classified 16SNVL and then released on circuit.

The National Arts Festival celebrates its 40th birthday next year and it’s expected to be a bumper year.

» City Press is a media partner of the festival.

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