It is with great sadness and regret that The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) announces the cancellation of the ACT | DALRO | NEDBANK Scholarships Programme for 2020.

Due to the impact of Covid-19, the subsequent lockdown, travel ban, and the anticipated adjustments to the school calendar we have concluded that it will not be possible to go ahead with the ACT Scholarships Programme this year. The ACT | DALRO | Nedbank Scholarships Programme celebrated a 10 year milestone last year and has since its inception in 2009, awarded scholarships to more than  40 scholars and students, a contribution with a collective value of R3 million in tertiary education funding.

This decision to cancel the ACT Scholarships Programme was not made lightly as we understand the mammoth impact this will have on the many hopeful scholars. ACT cannot with any sense of integrity guarantee the easing of lockdown levels to accommodate for auditions that would traditionally take place in  July, across all provinces or guarantee the safety and immunity of the participating students from the Covid-19 virus.  As an organisation we place the highest value on the arts and capacity building but not at the cost of our South African children’ and fellow citizens safety.

The immediate effects of the virus are throwing the whole nation into turmoil and the lasting residue will leave us with many questions to answer. For now we believe the best response is to practice physical distancing and social solidarity.

ACT CEO Marcus Desando says, ‘As ACT we pride ourselves in our contribution to knowledge creation for our sector through this youth-focussed programme. The ACT Scholarships Programme is a vehicle of hope and artist-youth empowerment that has become a highlight in our annual calendar, so cancelling this year’s programme was not an easy decision to make. We hope that this interruption to our offerings will be temporary and that when the world opens up again we will come out of it stronger.’

Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank, says, ‘At Nedbank we see money differently and we regard our support of the ACT | DALRO | NEDBANK Scholarships Programme as an investment in our country’s highly talented young people who are integral to the spirit, economy and growth of South Africa. We look forward to a time in the near future when the world opens again and the arts and arts education can flourish.’


Stay safe and practise social solidarity and physical distancing.

Together we will rise!





Notes to editors

Over 25 years of arts funding

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) is South Africa’s premier independent arts funding and development agency. The primary aim of ACT is to increase the amount of funding available for arts and culture initiatives, and to apply these funds to innovative, sustainable projects that make a meaningful contribution to society. Through structured funding programmes, ACT provides support for 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 Trust’s website. Follow ACT on Twitter or like the ACT’s Facebook page.


The Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO) is a multipurpose copyright society that collects royalties for the use of copyright-protected works on behalf of authors and publishers and then distributes the collected royalties back to the correct copyright owner. As a custodian of copyright and the protection of rightsholders’ works, DALRO’s main areas of administration are reprographic reproduction rights (photocopying from published editions), public performance rights (including stage rights for book musicals and dramas) and reproduction rights (whether for publishing or copying) in works of visual art. DALRO has been in existence for more than 50 years, having served the copyright needs of the creative industry since 1967. For more information please visit


The Market Theatre is renowned worldwide for brilliant anti-apartheid plays that have included Woza Albert, Asinamali, Bopha, Sophiatown, You Strike the Woman You Strike a Rock, Born in the RSA, Black Dog – Inj’emnyama, as well as the premieres of many of Athol Fugard’s award-winning dramas. The Market Theatre’s history is intertwined with the cultural, social and political struggle for freedom in South Africa. For more information please visit


About Nedbank

In partnership with the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT), the Nedbank Arts Affinity has donated more than R23 million to support over 800 arts, culture and heritage development projects countrywide. If you would like to make a difference to the lives of talented young artists in South Africa, simply link your Nedbank Greenbacks to the Arts Affinity and Nedbank will donate funds to ACT, at no cost to you. The Arts Affinity currently supports the ACT Development Programme and the annual ACT | DALRO | Nedbank Scholarship Programme. For more information download the Greenbacks app, visit any Nedbank branch, call us on 0860 555 111 or visit