Arts and Culture hosts Debut Fund Programme Awards Ceremony

19 Feb 2019

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) in partnership with Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) will host the Inaugural Debut Fund Programme Awards Ceremony for emerging artists. The Awards Ceremony will take place at the Rand Club in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

The Awards seeks to celebrate and recognise arts and culture practitioners from across South Africa, all of whom are doing important work in their respective provinces and communities. The Debut Fund Programme is an initiative of the department as part of its Mzansi Golden Economy strategy.

Launched by Minister Mthethwa on 13 July 2017 in Port Elizabeth, the Debut Fund Programme creates training, mentoring and funding opportunities for young artists from all disciplines making their debut.  “The fund provides opportunities to develop new local content for that all important ‘break’ in their career. The DAC Debut Programme is an excellent example of a creative industries’ initiative with wide-reaching and sustained impact”, stated the Minister. 

Also in attendance at this highlight event of 2019 arts and culture calendar will be representatives of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), the Southern African Association of Youth Clubs (SAAYC), and other stakeholders.

Since the launch, the BASA-run Programme has fulfilled its vision of supporting emerging artists in all of South Africa’s nine provinces, equipping these practitioners with knowledge, skills development and funding to enable them to move from the amateur to the professional realm.

The DAC Debut Programme has partnered with BASA due to the success of their Education and Mentorship Programmes, supported by the National Arts Council and Rand Merchant Bank. The aim of these programmes was to address the development and support of the arts through structural and innovative workshops, and mentorship relationships. In a new approach, DAC Debut Funding was combined with BASA’s Education and Mentorship Programmes to create a nationwide programme that reached deep into communities in all nine provinces.

The DAC Debut Awards will see the announcement of one Grant recipients from each province. Each recipient will receive financial support through a Grant as well as mentoring by an industry professional while implementing and reporting on their venture.

Recipients of Special Awards will also be announced at the DAC Debut Awards event. Five outstanding practitioners will be awarded grants to implement and report on their venture.

Since launching mid-2017, the DAC Debut Programme has implemented three key initiatives, each of which has contributed to the success of the programme.

  • Train the Trainer. This was aimed at upskilling and creating employment opportunities for co-facilitators in each province to assist BASA’s facilitators with logistics, coordination, facilitation and administration. This skills-transfer initiative created nine trainers who can now independently facilitate in their community and other programmes.

  • Kickstarter Training. This first layer of training was aimed at upskilling young South African arts practitioners in each province, providing them with the skills to work towards making their creative ventures a reality. The 197 participants in the Kickstarter Training had an opportunity to apply for funding through the Catalyst Grants initiative, and engage in further training through Hlanganisa Training.

  • Hlanganisa Training and Catalyst Grants. Participants in Hlanganisa Training were further upskilled to enable the implementation of their creative ventures, with guidance from facilitators and some funding. Each of the 77 delegates was acknowledged as having successfully completing the DAC Debut Programme. At this graduation ceremony, certificates of completion were awarded and each participant was able to pitch for further funding (via the Launch Grants), as well as mentorship.

The department is proud to support such a ceremony that will empower emerging artists and continues to render support to ensure that arts projects in communities flourish.

For Media enquiries, please contact: Petunia Lessing,, / 066 301 4645

For more information, please contact:
Asanda Magaqa
Cell: 072 327 6807