Yusuf Ganief image, the promoter of community arts for community wellbeing in South Africa



The Cape Town Arts Festival (CTAF), formerly known as the One City Many Cultures Project, was born from a need for unity following the tragic Planet Hollywood bombings at the V&A Waterfront in 1998. The project initiated by Ryland Fisher in 1999 aimed to combat cultural intolerance and racial violence, becoming a beacon of hope and unity.

Yusuf Ganief assumed the role of CEO in 2003, infusing the festival with fresh energy and vision until 2007. Previously the General Manager for the Association of Marketers, Ganief played a pivotal role in driving the organization’s growth and outreach. Under his leadership, the festival expanded significantly, initiating the Cape Town Community Festivals in 2004, which thrived until 2007, providing substantial employment opportunities and benefiting over 1800 artists annually.

In 2021, Ganief rebranded the festival as the Cape Town Arts Festival, emphasizing sustainable artist development through upskilling, nurturing, and dynamic performance platforms with a strong focus on “community arts for community well-being.”


Notable milestones include the annual CT Arts Festivals at the Castle of Good Hope in 2022 and 2023, and the launch of three successful training and development programs: the Beyond Busking Programme, the Digital Technology Artists for Artists Project, and the Events and Marketing Training Programme.

In 2023, the CTAF provided income and training for over 150 unemployed creatives and generated income opportunities for more than 600 artists and non-artists through their multi-genre festivals and training programs.


Our vision is to cultivate and celebrate the inherent originality and authenticity of local artists, promoting community arts for community well-being. Through purposeful art and music, we aim to mold talent into a force that educates, nurtures, and sustains both emerging and established artists.

We envision a vibrant arts community where creative expression enhances the physical and emotional well-being of individuals and communities.


At the Cape Town Arts Festival, our foundational values underpin every facet of our operations:

  • Empowering through Training and Mentorship: We emphasize the importance of equipping artists with essential training and mentorship, fostering growth, entrepreneurship, and honing their craft to thrive in the arts industry.
  • Fostering Sustainable Income Opportunities: We are committed to creating income-generating employment opportunities for artists from rural and underserved communities, ensuring financial sustainability and growth within the arts community. We consistently provide artists with avenues to showcase their talents and reach varied audiences.


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