The Market Theatre joins Embassy of Sweden to extend digital platform for cultural exchange amid COVID-19

17 April 2020

Sweden and South Africa have a long history of friendship and collaboration dating back to the movement against apartheid. The Market Theatre is one of the institutions that has been instrumental in maintaining this relationship, most notably manifested through a ten-year collaboration with Stockholm City Theatre (Stockholms Stadsteater) including co-productions, expertise exchange and touring plays from 1994 – 2004.

The Embassy together with an array of partners in South Africa and Sweden, has launched a virtual online performance and collaboration platform for innovative global engagement as a response to the pandemic. The digital series; Sweden-South Africa Live Connection: Digitally Yours is aimed at creative industries, affording the opportunity for promoting income generation, co-learning and support in a time of strain, encouraging creatives to seek opportunities to benefit and thrive from the digital revolution.

Initially, the series was set to air five episodes. The first two episodes included roundtable discussions with curators from various industries in the creative sector, with live performances by musicians and poets including Swedish poet Burcu Sahin and South African musicians Msaki and Ayanda Jiya, moderated by popular radio personality Phemelo Motene. Since the success of these initial episodes, with over 29 000 views. The Market Theatre has officially come on board as a new partner, enabling the series to be extended by another four episodes which will focus on theatre, music, fine arts and women in film.


Currently in South Africa and globally, the world lockdown as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Yet people and especially creatives strive to find a way to overcome. The Market Theatre, fittingly known as the “Theatre of Struggle”, is one of these institutions to pioneer the drive for change and has hopped aboard the Embassy of Sweden’s digital initiative to help keep creative industries in business.

Statement by the CEO of the The Market Theatre, Mr. Ismail Mahomed: “In this time of the COVID-19 lockdown, The Market Theatre Foundation supports the passion with which artists are taking their creative expressions online. The Market Theatre Foundation is committed to support and grow initiatives that have a multiplier effect and multiplier benefit for artists. The Market Theatre Foundation’s financial contribution and logistical support for this partnership with the Embassy of Sweden and the Hear My Voice NPO is also aimed at advancing platforms that can create some financial relief for artists during these challenging times.”

The Embassy of Sweden in Pretoria and local NPO Hear my Voice and now, The Market Theatre are bringing together artists and stakeholders from both South Africa and Sweden through virtual roundtables and performances. The series was launched on the 4th April will continue until the 23rd May 2020. Sweden-South Africa Live Connection: Digitally Yours series incorporates creatives from different art sectors including theatre, fashion, literature, music, spoken word, media, government and academia.

The third instalment of #DigitallyYours will go live on 18th April at 19:00.


This episode will focus on the sustainable fashion industry and will seek to highlight the importance of creating a cleaner environment through the clothing we wear.  The panel includes Tshepo Bhengu of South African fabric recycling innovators Rewoven, Swedish costume designer Nina Sandström, South African fashion designer and LVMH Prize finalist Sindiso Khumalo and moderated by award-winning fashion curator Annegret Affolderbach. Ambassador Cecilia Julin will join in the conversation. The complete weekly line-up will be shared on the Embassy of Sweden’s social media platforms and website.

Follow The Embassy of Sweden in Pretoria on Facebook for updates on the line-up of artists and stakeholders and live stream the Sweden-South Africa Live Connection: Digitally Yours series.

Embassy of Sweden in South Africa