Cultural boycotts will be under discussion on 4 August as part of the GIPCA Great Texts / Big Questions lecture series.

The Gordon Institute for Creative and Performing Arts (GIPCA) invites you to participate in a panel discussion on Thursday 4 August at 17:30 in Hiddingh Hall as part of the Great Texts/Big Questions public lecture series. The topic is: South African artists and cultural boycotts: should the latest call for a cultural boycott of Israel be heeded?

South African artists, including Nadine Gordimer, William Kentridge and the Cape Town Opera, have faced calls for a cultural boycott of Israel. Is this justified? Would it be effective? Should the Israeli occupation matter to South African artists and intellectuals? And is the experience of the boycotts of the 1980s here in South Africa relevant?” We are inviting academic Andrew Nash, artist William Kentridge, activist Zackie Achmat and Judge Dennis Davis to advance the discussion, which will be chaired, by Dean of Humanities and chairperson for the Gordon Institute Board, Professor Paula Ensor.

Speaker’s Biographies:

William Kentridge’s work has been seen in museums and galleries around the world since the 1990s, including Documenta in Kassel, Germany (1997, 2003), the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1998, 2010), the Albertina Museum in Vienna (2010), Jeu de Paume in Paris (2010). Kentridge’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute was presented at Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Festival d’Aix, and in 2011 at La Scala in Milan. He directed Shostakovich’s The Nose for the Met Opera in New York in 2010 (the production goes to Festival d’Aix and to Lyon in 2011), to coincide with a major exhibition at MoMA. Also in 2010 the Musee du Louvre in Paris presented Carnets d’Egypte, a project conceived especially for the Egyptian room at the Louvre. In the same year, Kentridge received the prestigious Kyoto Prize in recognition of his contributions in the field of arts and philosophy.

Andrew Nash teaches history of political thought at the University of Cape Town. Before that, he taught philosophy and politics at the universities of Stellenbosch and the Western Cape, and was editorial director of Monthly Review Press in New York. He is the author of The Dialectical Tradition in South Africa (Routledge, 2009) and he is currently chair of the UCT Palestine Solidarity Forum.

Zackie Achmat is a political activist, most widely known as founder and a chairperson of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and for his work on the behalf of people living with HIV and AIDS in South Africa. Zackie joined the African National Congress in Victor Verster prison in 1980 as an anti-apartheid organiser. From 1985 to 1990 Zackie was a member of the Marxist Workers Tendency of the ANC playing a leading role in establishing its underground structures during the last years of apartheid. Zackie co-founded the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality in 1994 and remains active in promoting equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Africa and elsewhere. Zackie lives with HIV and in 1998 co-founded the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). In 2008, TAC helped coordinate the efforts of civil society to assist people displaced by xenophobic violence. From these efforts, Zackie joined others to found the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), an organisation dedicated to promoting safety and security for all people in South Africa. Currently, he serves as a member of the SJC secretariat. He also helped found and currently serves on the board of Equal Education, a social movement dedicated to achieving quality and equality for all. Furthermore, as a member of Open Shuhada Street, Zackie also works directly with Palestinians and Israelis resisting the Occupation through grassroots and non-violent methods.
Zackie has written and directed four major documentaries on children’s rights, the Afrikaans language, South African lesbian and gay history and the Constitutional Court. Today he serves as the Co-Director of Ndifuna Ukwazi, a non-profit organisation involved in leadership development and providing strategic support to other organisations.

Dennis Martin Davis, Judge of the High Court in Cape Town was educated at Herzlia School, Universities of Cape Town and Cambridge. Judge Davis has also been Judge President of the Competition Appeal Court since 2000. He was Professor of Law at UCT (where he currently still teaches as Honorary Professor), and at the University of Witwatersrand where he was the Director of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) between1990 and1997. While at CALS he acted as legal advisor to the multi-party conference that drafted the South African constitution. He is author of 10 books, the latest being Precedent and Possibility -the use and (ab) use of law in South Africa (2008) with Michelle Leroux). He has also authored some 150 academic articles on legal theory, constitutional law, taxation, labour law, competition law, administrative law and South African history. He has held visiting professorial posts at Toronto, Melbourne, Harvard, NYU, Florida, Brown and Georgetown. Judge Davis is married to Claudette and they have two children Liat and Joshua. He is a keen Manchester United supporter.

This event will take place at Hiddingh Hall, University of Cape Town (UCT) Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town on Thursday 4 August at 17:30 and is free. Refreshments will be served from 17:00. No Booking is necessary. For more information on the series, please contact 021 480 7156 or

Cultural Boycotts audio recording available for download

Cultural Boycotts video recording:

Start: 4 Aug ’11 5:30 pm

End: 4 Aug ’11 7:00 pm

Cost: Free


Organizer: GIPCA


Venue: Hiddingh Hall 

Phone: +27 21 480 7156 

Address: Google Map UCT Hiddingh Campus, 31-37 Orange Street, Cape Town, 8001, Cape Town, Western Cape, 8001, South Africa