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  • South Africa: Celebrating Freedom 20 Years Later

    Celebrate the 20-year Anniversary of South Africa's Freedom Day with Manifesto at Hot Docs!

    Nelson Mandela became a free man two years after I was born on February 11th, 1990. By this time, my parents had already left the Apartheid-riddled country and found peace in Toronto for almost a decade. In the four years that followed his release, Mandela worked vigorously with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish Apartheid, leading up to the first multi-racial democratic election to take place in South Africa in 1994. In an overwhelming win, the African National Congress came into power, and Nelson Mandela became the first black President of a country previously riddled by laws and regulations that didn’t even allow black people to vote. Although I was 6, and not quite aware of what this victory really meant, I knew when everybody else was shouting and yelling across the phone-lines, something big happened. At a time when democracy became a synonym for freedom, April 27th, 1994 marked the first day all people in South Africa, regardless of a hierarchy based on race and class, were deemed free people.

    "Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world," marked the words Nelson Mandela said on May 10th in Pretoria shortly after his presidency was declared.

    For this reason, April 27th of every year is known as Freedom Day in South Africa. This year, the South African community is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of many firsts that happened on April 27th. We celebrate April 27th as the first day of post-Apartheid South Africa, where everyone is considered an equal. We celebrate the “Rainbow Nation”, a term respectively coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu a month after Mandela came into power to reflect a racial unity. We celebrate South Africa’s current flag, which reflects a union between the past and the present: black, green and yellow to represent the ANC and red, white, blue and green to reflect South Africa’s history of colonization. And lastly, we celebrate April 27th as a day of healing the past and celebrating a promised future.

    "Today we are entering a new era for our country and its people. Today we celebrate not the victory of a party, but a victory for all the people of South Africa," Nelson Mandela said in Cape Town on May 9th, 1994. Twenty years later, South Africa has had its share of ups and downs since that first democratic election. It has had its fair share of successes and heartaches, most recently with the passing of the always-remembered Nelson Mandela. But if there's one thing we take with us year to year at this time, it's these words from the late Madiba:

    “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

    * * * * *

    Manifesto x Hot Docs DOCUMENTAL selection Nelson Mandela: The Myth & Me makes it North American Premiere on Saturday, April 26 at Hart House Theatre at 9:30pm as part of the 2014 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

    Come celebrate with Manifesto the evening before the 20-year Anniversary of South Africa's Freedom Day!

    Manifesto has specially priced $10 tickets available for this screening. Simply select the April 26 screening from the documentary profile page, enter the discount code "HDDOCUMENTAL14" and complete the purchase. Nelson Mandela: The Myth & Me profile page can be found here >>> http://bit.ly/1lTrzaZ

    We hope you can join us!

    * * * * *

    On Thursday, May 1 join the F-YOU Project as they unite with Desmond Tutu to help the world start the process of forgiveness. The Tutu Global Forgiveness Challenge will launch on May 4, and this event with F-YOU at City Hall at 6pm on May 1 will celebrate the kick-off of this global forgiveness movement in Toronto.

    For more information about this event contact Tara Muldoon at: tara@thefyouproject.com


    Street style blog Urban-Guilt recently shot an editorial featuring the first spring drop of MNFSTO product. The recenlty launched blog is headed up by Manifesto Volunteers model Hital Mistry and photographer Duy Nguyen. Here are some of our favorite shots from the four editorials that were posted.

    Love Fist Hoody, buy it HERE, view more photos HERE.

    The Mottos Tee, buy it HERE. View more photos HERE.

    Each One, Teach One Long Sleeve Tee, buy it HERE. View more photos HERE.

    Love Fist Hoody, buy it HERE. View more photos HERE.

    Documental Spotlight: The Homestretch

    Student and homeless are two words typically unassociated with each other. Unfortunately, for 19,000 young adults fallen victim to issues of juvenile justice, immigration, foster care and LGBTQIA discrimination - being a homeless student is a daunting reality. The Homestretch follows Kasey, Anthony and Roque - three Chicago teens fighting for better futures every day and struggling to survive their present every night. Their stories provide a chance to shake the stigma of homelessness as they persevere to create a better life for themselves.

    Manifesto and Hot Docs invite you to join us for the world premiere of The Homestretch -  "a powerful, original perspective on what it means to be young, homeless and building a future in America today". As an exclusive offer, tickets for the world premiere on April 26, 2014 - 3:00pm  @ TIFF Bell Lightbox are now available at a discounted price!


    Purchase tickets online through the individual film pages which you can view here.

    Tickets can also be purchased at the Hot Docs box office - located at 2 Bloor Street West in the Cumberland Terrance (lower level) - for $10 each with presentation of the 'DOCUMENTAL' flyer or PDF print out. Open the PDF here to print and present it at the box office.

    Hot Docs also offers free same day tickets for all screenings before 5pm to seniors (60+) and students with valid photo I.D. at the venue box offices (subject to availability).

    For a complete list of Documental films please visit here.

    Manifesto Announces New Managing Director: Judi Lopez

    Manifesto is happy to announce the hire of Judi Lopez as the new Managing Director of Manifesto Community Projects. Judi takes over from former MD Stephanie Perrin who finished up her time with Manifesto last month, with school in her near future as she pursues a masters degree.

    Judi Lopez has done past work with Manifesto as a volunteer in 2012, and as part of our 2013 dance programming team where she presented her KeepRockinYou b-girl collective as part of the festival programming under the supervision of Jon "Drops" Reid - Manifesto Dance Programmer.

    Lopez comes to Manifesto with experience both as a professional dancer, but also as an arts organization leader through KeepRockinYou (KRY) which she launched just under two years ago. KRY is a community-based artists' collective that inspires females through hip hop culture.

    Dwayne Dixon, Manifesto's Executive Director states:

    While still relatively young, Judi is already a trailblazer within the arts world and I'm extremely excited to welcome her to the Manifesto family. Her passion, dedication, love, and energy for the arts is infectious and will serve us well as we prepare for another amazing festival while continuing to offer strong year round programming for 2014 and beyond.

    Hennessy Artistry x INK Entertainment x 1LoveT.O. presents: ?uestlove

    Hennessy Artistry, INK Entertainment, and 1LoveT.O. have teamed up to present ?uestlove of The Roots spinning inside TATTOO Queen West this coming Thursday, April 17, 2014.  Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at Ink Tickets and various other locations. For additional details see below.

    Known for co-founding the infamous hip hop group the Roots and helping create the neo-soul movement, ?uestlove has created groundbreaking hip hop albums such as Things Fall Apart (1999) and Phrenology (2002). Since 2008, he has come to popular acclaim as part of the house band for the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon talk show.

    Hennessy is bringing the ‘Global Art of Blending’ to Toronto with it's first Hennessy Artistry Event for 2014. Representing ‘The Art of Blending,’ Hennessy Artistry blends the best in music, bars and long drinks to create an unforgettable experience for audiences all over the world.

    DJ ?UESTLOVE with special guests
    Thursday, April 17 2014
    19+ / General Admission
    Doors: 9:00pm
    Advance Ticket: $15

    Tickets can be purchased at: Play De Record, Soundscapes, Rotate This, and Ink Tickets, Soundscapes

    416 RISE: Panel, Keynote, and Performances

    416 RISE presented by R.I.S.E. will begin with an Arts Enrichment panel with some of Toronto’s vital community leaders/arts organizations. The panel will include Che Kothari Founder of ManifestoAmy Hosotsuji of GYC TorontoGiancarlos Falcioni Business Dean at The Remix ProjectSabra Ripley from City of Toronto Culture: Arts Services and Michael Prosserman Founder of UNITY Charity.  

    The Panel will be followed by a keynote speech and live performances including international trailblazing poet, D’bi Young and Canadian Hip Hop Pioneer Maestro Fresh Wes.

    The Arts Enrichment panel will provide young entrepreneurs and art lovers the opportunity to learn from some of Toronto’s brightest minds. It’ll be a great opportunity to network with entrepreneurs and emerging/professional artists.

    416 RISE
    Wednesday, April 16
    585 Dundas St. East
    Doors open 6pm | Event starts 7pm

    Tickets are available online: Eventbrite


    It's spring cleaning time here at Manifesto HQ and while going through storage the MNFSTO team found 17 original "Knowledge Reigns Supreme" Hoodies from the 2012 Manifesto Festival. The KRS hoody sold out it's first run at the festival and 50 more where re-printed for a pop-up shop and events. These 17 are part of that second 50 run. The sweaters will go on sale this Friday April 4th on the MNFSTO site and will be only available online and until they sell out.

    Hip-Hop #LyricsToGo with Art in Transit

    Arriving at a subway platform near you Manifesto and PATTISON Onestop are proud to showcase the poetric artistry of ten Toronto based hip-hop with Lyrics To Go. The month-long feature will see silent 30-second videos on PATTISON Onestop screens all across the city designed to draw the commuter’s attention to the narrative revolution and metaphoric rhyming schemes of hip hop. Lyrics To Go is part of PATTISON’s ongoing Art in Transit programme.

    Lyrics To Go artists include:

    Farewell To The Flesh (Trinidad Carnival Portraits)

    The word “Carnival” is derived from the Latin “Carne Vale” and translates into “Farewell to the Flesh”. Trinidad is a deeply multicultural society and this is reflected in its Carnival. Although rooted in Pagan belief, there are elements from Europe, India, Amerindian Populations, Asia and Africa, which shine through with elements from Africa seeming to be the most prominent.  The French arrived in Trinidad during the 18th Century, which was a time of colonialism and slavery. It was mainly the European elite who held the Carnival celebrations in Trinidad from 1783 to 1838. At that time, strict law banned African slaves and persons of mixed race from participating in street festivals. After emancipation in 1838, slaves took the celebrations from their barrack yards where they used to have it, to the open streets. Costumes carry historic and cultural significance and embrace elements of the nation’s history, folklore, and heritage. Masqueraders (those who wear the costume and directly partake in the celebration) also carry ritualistic elements as well as the designer’s own personal and creative touch, often including elements of fantasy.

    Trinidad is one of the many nations in the world that celebrates Carnival and it is commonly referred to internationally as “The Greatest Show on Earth”. In Trinidad, they call it “Playing Mas” (where “Mas” is an abbreviation for Masquerade). Two days mark the culmination of a year’s work of design, organization, and preparation. Costumes incorporate wire, face paint, steel, mud, beads, paper-mache, fabric, glitter, masks, feathers, long stilts, engineering techniques, and more. Size and elaboration of costumes do not hinder the masqueraders from jumping and dancing their hearts out to Calypso, Soca and Rapso Music. Carnival is color, revelry, loosening of inhibitions, re-enactment of past history and more. Carnival also serves to break down social barriers while transcending social norms, age and status.

    The photographic process used was unorthodox yet rewarding. Initially when witnessing Carnival I wanted to photograph individual masqueraders in a studio. However, since it would be impossible to gather hundreds of masqueraders within 2 days, I decided to “Bring the studio to them” and immerse myself in the celebration as much as possible. Combining elements of street photography, documentary and portraiture. Masqueraders were lit outside using studio lighting with power generated from battery packs. They were photographed live on the streets of Trinidad during Carnival in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

    Trinidad Carnival Portraits
    featuring the photography of Ray Traboulay
    Monday, March 24 - Thursday, April 10
    Opening reception - Monday, March 31
    Ryerson University - School of Image Arts
    122 Bond Street (at Gould St.)
    1st floor commons


    Having worked in Advertising as well as fine art with clients such as Lonsdale Saatchi & Saatchi and The National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, his most recent work focuses on Cultural Portraits of Trinidad and Tobago's Carnival.  Select photographs were present at The Royal Ontario Museum as part of Carnival designer Brian Macfarlane's exhibition entitled “CARNIVAL: From Emancipation to Celebration”. His Cultural Portraits of Trinidad Carnival were used at the Caribbean T20 Tournament 2013 which was the commemoration of the launch of it’s partnership with the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as well as exclusive art decor at the National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago media launch of Carnival celebration in 2013. He was also featured in a Documentary titled WHERE IS HOME which was produced by Two Time Emmy Award Winner Paul Saltzman and Directed by Aga Alegria which discusses the lives of people who grew up as expatriates as he lived in France, Indonesia, and the U.S. as a youth. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Major in Photography from Ryerson University - School Of Image Arts in 2009.


    Daley Performing Live at Adelaide Hall on April 4 (presented by Live Nation)

    If you asked Gareth Daley to sum up his music in just three words the answer he'd give you is: Future throwback soul. The artist explains, "I call my sound 'future throwback soul' since it's what people love about old soul music, that throwback sound... but I bring it into the future." Hailing from Manchester, London the singer laments on the difficulties of making a name for himself in his hometown, "It was tough fitting into the Manchester music scene which had always been really focused on guitar and dance music, the urban scene was almost non-existent.." and yet he finds himself poised for the spotlight. While his palette's rooted in the classics, he pushes music forward with a sound beyond his years. "It's soulful at its core and in terms of sound and production, the album reflects me and my influences -- a combination of US and UK sounds," he details.

    Daley is set to make his Toronto debut this coming

    Friday, April 4
    Adelaide Hall
    250 Adelaide St West
    Tickets: Live Nation or TicketWeb. The event is 19+.

    For a sneak peek at what's to come, see below: