Storytelling is the new rock n roll, says Rian Malan. Known for his own expert storytelling, his latest project, with Ann Toerien, is bringing out the stories of Johannesburg. Invited artists will tell their tales of the city of gold in The Unbelievable Truth, four themed evenings about life in Jozi.
For over two decades the Bag Factory in downtown Joburg has helped develop South African art with residency programmes in its 16 studios, where both young and experienced artists can collaborate, share ideas or simply inspire each other.
Works by artist and holy man Jackson Hlungwani are on show at the University of Johannesburg. The show, curated by Nessa Leibhammer, includes many of his sublime creations, notably many of his fish sculptures. A New Jerusalem – Jackson Hlungwani includes photographs of his sacred site.
Young, urban and talented, Zethu Mashika is a self-taught musician and composer, and is South Africa's first and so far only black film composer. He has won the best score award twice in the 48 Hours Film Project, and is the man behind the organic sound of 'Zama Zama'. For him, it is a spiritual and emotional exercise.
Ralph Ziman worked with a group of Zimbabwean wire beaders to make replica AK-47s and ammunition. Then he took photos in downtown Joburg, depicting an eerie, frightening world for his exhibition, Ghosts. It was not to glamorise guns, he says, but to spark a debate.
The complex art of pyrography is used by artist Nicholas Ojo, who has created a series of portraits of the men and women who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today. Among the historical figures he has included are Nelson Mandela and Ken Saro Wiwa, but perhaps the most arresting is his portrait of the Mother of the Nation.
Contemporary African art is carving a niche in the West African town of Ouidah, Benin. Known more for its slave trade and voodoo roots, the region is starting to draw visitors more interested in the arts and culture. It is also offering a space for expatriate artists to show their work at home for the first time.
International and local poets will gather at Spier Wine Estate in the lush Stellenbosch valley outside Cape Town for discussions, translations, readings and master classes. The Dancing in Other Words / Die Dansende Digtersfees International Poetry Festival promises to inspire.
Led by the FNB Joburg Art Fair, South Africa is becoming something of a home for contemporary art from across the continent and the African diaspora. Joining it are another Joburg fair, as well as a Cape Town outing and a permanent gallery.