Following the tragic Planet Hollywood Bombings in 1998 at the V&A Waterfront, the One City Many Cultures (aka CT Festival) emerged as a beacon of hope in 1999. Ryland Fisher, driven by the need to address cultural intolerance and racial violence, led this initiative. In 2003, Yusuf Ganief became CEO, injecting new energy and perspective until 2007.
Ganief, previously the General Manager for the Association of Marketers, catalyzed the organization. In 2021, Ganief rebranded the Cape Town Festival as the Cape Town Arts Festival (CTAF), prioritizing sustainable artist development through upskilling, nurturing, and dynamic performance platforms with a focus on community arts for community wellbeing.
In 2004, Ganief initiated the Cape Town Community Festivals, thriving from 2004 to 2007, providing significant annual employment opportunities, benefiting over 1800 artists. The festival expanded, giving rise to brands like Cape Town Community Festivals, Cape Town Performing Arts Festivals, Jou Ma Se Comedy, and Cape Town Youth Festival. On October 29, 2022, the Cape Town Arts Festival marked a major milestone by organizing the Beyond Busking Festival Day at the historic Castle of Good Hope.
This event created a platform for 425 artists, volunteers, and suppliers, attracting an enthusiastic audience of over 1100 attendees. The festival showcased diverse artistic expressions, reinforcing its unwavering commitment to the arts and, notably, its dedication to community arts for community wellbeing, even amidst challenges.
Our vision is to cultivate and celebrate the inherent originality and authenticity of our local artists, all in the spirit of promoting Community Arts for Community Wellbeing.
The current challenges facing the arts industry are transformative opportunities, propelling us to extend our vision to encompass the Online Global Community. Through purposeful art and music, we aspire to mould talent into a force that actively educates, nurtures, and sustains performance opportunities for emerging and established artists and musicians.
We envision a vibrant arts community where creative expression acts as a potent force, enhancing the physical and emotional well-being of individuals and communities. Engaging wholeheartedly in these creative endeavors empowers us to explore the depths of our narratives, exchange fresh perspectives, and attain profound insights into our ever-evolving world.
In this nurturing environment, artists’ dedication, passion, and resilience not only enrich personal well-being but also contribute to the creation of sustainable, impactful work. It is for this reason that CTAF holds a pivotal position of influence, providing unwavering support and fostering growth within a flourishing art ecosystem dedicated to Community Arts for Community Wellbeing.
At Cape Town Festival, our foundational values underpin every facet of our operations, centered on:
Enabling Diverse Performance Platforms: We believe in consistently offering both live and online performance platforms, providing artists with avenues to showcase their talents and reach varied audiences.
Fostering Sustainable Income Opportunities: We are committed to creating income-generating employment opportunities that support both emerging and established artists, ensuring financial sustainability and growth within the arts community.
Empowering through Training and Mentorship: We emphasize the importance of equipping artists with essential training and mentorship in utilizing equipment effectively, fostering growth, and honing their craft to thrive in the arts industry.