The annual Wits Art and Literary Festival (WALE) kicks off today, 9 May, with an impressive program of art, music, theatre, dance, film, and public discussion, presented by distinguished professionals in the arts, many of whom are Wits University alumni, students or staff.
WALE was devised in 2007 by Wits Dean of Humanities, Tawana Kupe, and has progressively gained in profile. The festival takes places across various venues on the university’s humanities campus, and is open to the public.
The focus of this year’s WALE programme rests heavily on music and theatre, with only a small representation of the visual arts. Highlights in the music section include performances by bassist and composer Carlo Mombelli, together with his band The Prisoners of Strange, and the Feya Faku Quintet. Theatre highlights include stagings of the play The Line, directed by Gina Shmukler, and The Vagina Monologues.
Though small, the visual arts program is strong, with an innovative interactive intervention curated by Donna Kukama and Nadira Patel at the Substation. Titled Café Exchange, the project provides visitors with refreshments in exchange for ephemeral shared experiences. Visitors are encouraged to tell stories, sing karaoke, and engage in conversation in exchange for consumable goods. Most events are free to the public.