The prestigious National Arts Festival commenced on 22 June 2023 and will end on 02 July 2023, in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape Region.
The festival encompasses a hub of artistic brilliance, drawing talents from far and wide within the arts and craft field. The National Arts Festival has become an immersed platform for prestigious celebration of music, dance, theatre, and visual arts. It is celebrated to enhance the power of human expression, witnessing breath-taking performances that leave attendees being inspired. from established masters to emerging talents.
Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is once again part of this enormous event that embraces the essence of cultural diversity and innovation. Year after year, the National Arts Festival became a joyous homage to various talents, including drama, poetry, music, portraits, clothing and many others. Through the Self-Sufficiency and Sustainability Framework (SSSF), DCS has identified credible and quality arts and crafts from all six regions produced by offenders and parolees, which was displayed at the 2023 National Arts Festival. DCS has over the past years established Art and Crafts Galleries across the regions, whereby various artistic products are on display for commercialising purposes.
This also forms part of rehabilitating offenders through creative arts and to seek other avenues to revenue creation in an effort to ensure that DCS centres are self-sufficient and sustainable. In addition, these programmes are aimed at ensuring that offenders are well skilled and empowered for life after incarceration.
National Commissioner, Makgothi Thobakgale visited the six stalls by DCS that are staffed by participants from all six regions displaying 519 arts and crafts for sale to the value of R160 887. He was impressed with the participation of all the six regions selling their arts and crafts. He also mentioned that all the profits generated from the festival will go towards purchasing more materials for offenders to expand their creativity and produce more prolific work. ”This is a culmination of the work that is being done in our correctional facilities. These artistry skills that offenders learn, will assist them to be self-employed and contribute towards a successful reintegration to their communities once they are released” said Commissioner Thobakgale.
Many fascinated members of the public flocked to the DCS stalls and were left awe-struck to learn that there are creative minds behind bars. They also expressed messages of appreciation on the commendable work by DCS to offer programmes that are aimed at equipping offenders with skills for their own self-development.