17 January 2023

Opportunity Description

The Arts & Culture Trust announces the open call date of the Thuthukisani Programme cycle 3, proudly supported by Nedbank.

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) Thuthukisani Programme is a business development programme to empower a selected group of artists and creative entrepreneurs to implement and execute their chosen projects in a strategic and sustainable way. A total of 63 successful applicants, seven from each province in South Africa, will receive training. After completing the training programme, participants will pitch their projects for the opportunity to receive a cash investment and one-on-one mentorship. Only projects with merit that can generate income will be eligible for potential investment.

The word ‘thuthukisani’ is a call to action taken from the isiZulu word ‘thuthukisa’ (a verb), meaning ‘to develop’. Initiated and managed by the ACT, the ACT Thuthukisani Programme is supported by Nedbank.

The roll-out of the programme takes place in three cycles and applicants from three predetermined provinces per cycle are invited to apply. Cycle 1, covering Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga has been completed and cycle 2, covering the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal is in its final stages. Applicants from Gauteng, the Free State and the Western Cape can now apply for cycle 3.

The open call will run from 3 November 2022 to 17 January 2023. Application forms are available online at act.org.za/thuthukisani, and outcomes are expected to be announced in February 2023. Training is provisionally scheduled to start at the end of February 2023.

Only 21 ACT Thuthukisani Programme participants per province will be selected. After training has been completed, up to three qualifying projects per province will receive a cash investment and ongoing mentorship for the duration of the project.

To be considered for selection in cycle 3, applicants must meet all the stipulated criteria. Only South African nationals with projects taking place in South Africa may apply. Arts organisations and/or individuals must carry on an active, registered and compliant arts business in terms of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission and the South African Revenue Service requirements.

An ‘arts business’ in this instance refers to an entity that operates in the disciplines of visual arts, performing arts, music and literature. If applying in a music or film capacity, the content, theme or subject matter must have arts and culture at its core. For example, music videos or documentaries about animals are not eligible.

It is also important for applicants to know that project plans or ideas need to be further developed, executed and generate income within 90 days. Participants must strictly comply with and attend all training and mentorship sessions.

ACT interim Chief Executive Officer Jessica Denyschen says: ‘The sustainability of artists and arts businesses practising in the creative sector and the development of their ideas, products or concepts need context as well as business-specific training, mentorship and investment to become profitable. The ACT Thuthukisani Programme is designed to offer and educate applicants using relevant sustainable strategies for operating profitably in the South African context. The Trust is proud of the success and applauds the artists and businesses from cycles one and two, who are moving towards creating sustainable futures for themselves and, by doing so, creating opportunities for others in the sector.’

Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank, says: ‘People in the arts in every part of South Africa have to learn to run a business efficiently and make money to be sustainable and grow. Essential to this is training in business entrepreneurialism and arts administration, which is why the ACT Thuthukisani Programme has been developed. We are excited to see who applies from Gauteng, the Free State and the Western Cape.’

As a business development course, this programme requires a significant commitment in terms of time and effort. Selected applicants will need discipline and excellent communication skills, and will be required to work with their mentor to develop their project plan. Acceptance into the programme does not guarantee monetary investment.

Successful applicants will receive online training through a curriculum including an introduction to entrepreneurial practice, asset-based community development, audience development, strategic marketing, project management, governance and financial management.

The allocation of programme slots is at the discretion of the ACT. The decision on all applications for participation is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

‘I really enjoyed the ACT Thuthukisani Programme. It allowed me to look at my organisation through a new business-minded perspective; no longer a hobby but an income-generating business. I am now confident in saying that I am equipped to move forward with the knowledge and expertise passed on by the group of ACT Thuthukisani Programme facilitators,’ says Garnett Ludick, a finalist in cycle 2.

To keep in touch with the ACT, please visit their website, follow them on Twitter or like their Facebook page.
Over 28 years of arts support
The ACT is South Africa’s premier independent development and arts investment organisation. The primary aim of ACT is to increase the capacity for arts and culture initiatives to create sustainable futures, through development and investment in innovative, sustainable projects that make a meaningful contribution to society. Through structured development programmes, ACT provides support to all expressions of arts and culture, including literature, music, visual art, theatre and dance, and the support extends to festivals, community arts initiatives, arts management, arts education and arts administration. For more information, please visit the ACT website, follow them on Twitter or like their Facebook page.


In partnership with ACT, the Nedbank Arts Affinity has donated more than R28 million over 28 years to support over 830 arts, culture, and heritage development projects countrywide. If you would like to make a difference in the lives of talented young artists in South Africa, simply link your Nedbank Greenbacks to the Arts Affinity and Nedbank will donate money to ACT, at no cost to you. The Arts Affinity currently supports the ACT Nyoloha Scholarship Programme, the ACT Thuthukisani Programme, and the ACT Tlholo Project. For more information, visit any Nedbank branch, call us on 0860 555 111 or visit nedbankarts.co.za.