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Sibikwa Arts Centre Keeps Community Theatre Alive

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The Sibikwa Arts Centre in Benoni have been at the forefront of arts education and training for three decades. Still going strong, this community-oriented theatre company provides young artists and musicians with a platform to showcase their talents. Read on to find out more about the unique history of this arts centre, as well as their exciting upcoming showcases. 

Sibikwa Arts Centre

This year, the Sibikwa Arts Centre celebrates their 31st anniversary. Established in 1988, Sibikwa was spear-headed by theatre stalwarts, Smal Ndaba and Phyllis Klotz. The centre's title is Nguni for “we are spoken for”. Thus, Sibikwa was established with the objective to give the youth a platform to express their emotions through drama, dance and music. This objective came about at a time of extreme political turmoil. During the state of emergency, there were concerns about the nation's youth. With low levels of education, poor attendance at school and the increasing violence in townships, they faced a bleak reality. Sibikwa was developed in response to these concerns and to provide youths with focus and hope for the future.

Sibikwa Arts Centre

Sibikwa Arts Centre

Looking forward...

Sibikwa is still running strong, three decades on. They now operate various creative arts programmes, youth workshops and festivals at their venue in Benoni. One of these programmes is the Saturday Arts Academy (SAA). This programme caters to learners aged between 6 to 25. Learners participate in classes, including drama, African indigenous music, poetry, literacy, visual arts, Hip Hop dance, gumboot and traditional dance. They, then, present what they have learnt throughout the year at both, the mid-year and year-end concerts. 

In addition to these classes, Sibikwa also hosts a number of other workshops and events. For example, their Inclusive Creative Arts Programme is run for out-of-school, out-of-work and disabled learners. They also offer a short skills and facilitation course in the arts. 

A sense of community

Sibikwa's events calendar is mainly dominated by community theatre and arts events. The two big community events which are held twice a year at Sibikwa are the Phola Vibez Jazz Festival and the Dance Xplosion! showcase. Outside of these large festival events, Sibikwa also hosts comedy and poetry nights, the Live in the Beat Drumming Festival, the Marimba Jam Festival, the Women’s Festival and Heritage Day festivals. The centre regularly collaborates with other local and international community centres, as well as local and international artists, despite being quite far removed from the Joburg city centre. 

Sibikwa Arts Centre

Drum Fest

Why should you visit the centre?

We asked Sibikwa's Marketing Manager, Bongani Yende, why Joburg audiences should visit the centre. This is what he had to say:

"We are an encyclopedia of art, everything you need to know and more, is right here at Sibikwa Arts Centre. This is a home for artistic talents, where we will nurture and hone your talent and transform it into a skill as well. More than anything, we are all about the community. We help the youth be the best version of themselves through art."

So, there you have it! Visit the Sibikwa Arts Centre to keep community youth theatre alive.

Upcoming events

The Saturday Arts Academy (SAA) Mid year Concert - Sunday, 16 June 2019 

The Inclusive Creative Arts Programme Mid Year Concert - Sunday, 23 June 2019 

Women’s Festival - Sunday, 25 August 2019 

The Heritage Festival - Sunday, 29 September 2019 

Sibikwa Arts Centre


The fees for the Saturday Arts Academy and the Inclusive Creative Arts Programme are as follows:

Saturday Arts Academy 

Juniors (6-8 years) –R1 500 (includes two excursions)

Intermediate beginners (9-11 years)- R1 560 (includes two excursions and drama exam fee)

Intermediate advanced (12-13 years) R1 700 (includes three excursions and drama exam fee)

Senior beginners (14 – 15 years) R1 800 (includes four excursions and drama exam fee)

Seniors (16 – 24 years) R1 900 (includes five excursions and drama exam fee)

Inclusive Creative Arts Programme

Two classes – R800 for the whole year

Four classes – R1 600 for the whole year

For more information

For more information and events updates, follow the Sibikwa Arts Centre on Facebook or Twitter.

Contact them on 011 422 4359 or via email at [email protected]

By Tarryn Jameson

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