8 reasons to visit the free Cape Town Arts Festival this December

DJ ReadyD. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

DJ ReadyD. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

Published Nov 29, 2023


December in Cape Town is energetic, festive, and fun. It’s also stocked with incredible events.

With no shortage of things to do, it takes a lot to stand out but there is one that fits the bill and is a must-see experience for all the family – the Cape Town Arts Festival (CTAF), a free event taking place December 9 - 10, at the Castle of Good Hope, celebrating all things creative.

Here’s why everyone should visit this incredible festival:

The Art of Wellness

Each day begins with a free wellness session featuring Tai Chi, Zumba, and Yoga to promote holistic wellbeing.

In this modern age of always-on these are important sessions that give permission to disconnect and just breathe! Learn valuable techniques to reboot your life.

Harmonies of Heritage

What is life without music right? Headlining this year's free festival is the award-winning rap artist, YoungstaCPT, who will be joined by four times winner of the South African DMC Championships, DJ ReadyD, and singer/songwriter Kristi Lowe who sprang to fame at the age of 15 after her collaboration with Good Luck.

Also on the line-up is Cape-based Dee Koala whose catchy bars and aggressive trap instrumentals overlayed with rap have won her fans across the continent, the velvety voice of Candice Thornton, South African soloist, and vocal coach, as well as enigmatic Marimba player Bongani Sotshononda.

DJ Brandon Leigh, the sublime music collective of The Groove Missionaries who are guaranteed to make people ‘move’, and DJ Camo also make rousing appearances at this year’s hip, happening and rocking creative arts celebration.

The Afro Suns Marimba Band and IMAD also joins the line-up, both of which hails from Langa, a local creative hub of artistic excellence.

Beyond Busking

Giving deserved airtime and hero-status to Cape Town’s informal music entertainers, the CTAF have repeated their highly acclaimed Beyond Busking Programme, a free three-month training and mentoring workshop culminating with performance opportunities at the festival for eight talented artists.

Some of the past artists have gone onto international recording contracts facilitated by the CTAF.

Giving deserved airtime and hero-status to Cape Town’s informal music entertainers, the CTAF have repeated their highly acclaimed Beyond Busking Programme. Picture: David Ritchie/Independent Newspapers

The Spoken Word

A poetry masterclass, from Page to Stage, led by the world-renowned Bulelwa Basse, promises to be a captivating exploration of the art of verse and self-expression, a vital skill in today’s overly communicative world.

Enchanted Tales and Artsy Trails

Geared towards young creative minds, this children's workshop day offers a holistic experience, including meditation sessions, face painting, a puppet show, short films, and storytelling by the renowned Fatima Dike.

The day culminates in a powerful narrated parade into the historical castle. These children’s workshops take place on Saturday, December 9, from 11am to 2pm.

Artisans Haven

Browse a host of unique vendor stalls and enjoy the excellent craftsmanship on display.

Street performers, including mime artists and balloon artists, will add to the vibrant atmosphere, and a perfect place to stock up on festive season gifts with meaning.

Shine Visual Arts Exhibition

An impressive collection of artworks from 16 emerging and established artists embracing the full spectrum of artistic mediums from ceramics, visual art, photography, sculpture, and live installations. This exhibition runs from December 7 -14.

Shine Dance Challenge

Fifty participants will compete for the opportunity to take home prize monies.

The elimination rounds are on Saturday.

Sunday plays host to the finals who will dance their own choreographed set to the specially created Shine Song, a commissioned piece by the Human Rights Commission designed to ignite inspiration and celebrate the spirit of freedom and social harmony, the very essence of this festival.

Food Glorious Food

There is nothing quite like the delicious and unique South African culinary creativity of Capetonians, much of which will be up for eats at the festival.

Find your community this December and don't miss the chance to experience the uplifting cultural tapestry that is Cape Town at this year's festival.

Save the date today or risk missing out on being a part of tomorrow’s booming creative economy.

The Cape Town Arts Festival is made possible through the support of its sponsors: The Department of Sports Arts and Culture, Ariva Arts Foundation NPC, the Western Cape Government, the Castle of Good Hope, the South African Human Rights Commission, and the City of Cape Town.