Afrika Cultural Centre
Launched in 1980, the Afrika Cultural Centre (ACC) is today an independent, Section 21 not-for-profit educational, cultural and developmental Non Governmental Organisation which was formed by Benjy Francis and others to promote, produce, research and develop cultural, artistic, educational and vocational programmes for the encouragement and advancement of community development.
The inspiration to create a cultural centre grew out of the June 1976 Soweto uprising, and was followed by a period of three years of work within township areas eg. Soweto, Kliptown, Eldorado Park and Lenasia, where Benjy Francis had set up a circuit of workshops in the arts, focused on liberation and development. The difficulties on moving to these areas and working in unstable environments due to apartheid oppression made it difficult to build the programme. The need to find a fixed setting to develop a full spectrum of facilities grew out of this situation .
The ACC found a temporary home in a space in the old Market building, adjacent to the Market Theatre, which they leased from Johannesburg City Council. The Centre opened its doors in 1980, with Sipho Sepamla as director. Led by the Afrika Cultural Trust, the ACC has undertaken innumerable programmes for young people over the years, always with the purpose of affirming the rights of Human Rights through artistic expression.
In 1989 the Afrika Cultural Trust, also a non-profit body, was formed to develop, manage and maintain the facilities required to fulfill the mission and vision of the Afrika Cultural Centre, and to do fundraising for the Centre's activities.
The building project was the result of some ten years of struggle to acquire a suitable site. In 1991, the Afrika Cultural Trust was finally granted a substantial piece of ground Johannesburg City Council, an area of 2.2 hectares at 52 Goch Street in Newtown, Johannesburg.
Over time a Children’s Museum, an Operational Centre with resource library, crafts workshop, video studio and edit suite, cafeteria and the small theatre was developed on the site. The Herbert Dhlomo Theatre Centre resorts under the ACC.
However, after 1994 funds for capital development became increasingly difficult and by 2008 they were facing eviction from the venue.
Afrika Cultural Trust
The Afrika Cultural Trust (‘the Trust’), also a non-profit body, was formed in 1989 to develop, manage and maintain the facilities required to fulfil the mission and vision of the Afrika Cultural Centre. The Trust was also tasked with fundraising for the Centre’s activities.
• Dr Ellen Khuzwayo, Member of Parliament, ANC - deceased • Mr Hashim Bham, Quantity Surveyor • Ms Irene Menell • Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Constitutional Court- resigned • Mr John Samuel, Ex Deputy DG. Dept. of Education – Former CEO, Mandela Foundation. • Ms Mary Slack, Anglo American and De Beers Chairman’s Fund • Mr Benjy Francis, Director, Afrika Cultural Centre
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