ASSITEJ SA celebrated on the TYA global stage

Yvette Hardie

The 20th ASSITEJ World Congress saw SA President, Yvette Hardie, step down after 10 years, as Selloane Mokuku is elected to the Executive Committee.

The 20th ASSITEJ International World Congress would be a bittersweet one owing to the stepping down of its President Yvette Hardie, after leading the organisation for three terms over 10 years, and the election of ASSITEJ South Africa’s Chairperson Selloane ‘Lalu’ Mokuku to the committee. Thus, a heartfelt goodbye to President Yvette Hardie births a new dawn at ASSITEJ international.

The fifth and final day of the ASSITEJ International General Assembly took place on 31 March and saw a jubilant and teary digital applause for Yvette Hardie, who bid farewell to her position. The outgoing president was then unanimously awarded the position Honorary President Award by 171 International delegates.

As part of her motivation for Yvette to be an honorary president, Marisa Gimenez Cacho of ASSITEJ Mexico and Honorary Member of ASSITEJ said, “I think, sincerely, that ASSITEJ could not have had a better president than Yvette Hardie these years: because of her character, strong and balanced at the same time, her kind personality, her ability to listen, her motivation that originates in the will to do good, her South African origin that gives her experience in the management of inequalities, inequities and conflict resolution, her activism for the best world causes, her knowledge of theatre matters, her sensibility as an artist, her intelligence and above all, for her enormous capacity for work.”

This award honours Yvette’s lasting contribution to the transformation of the organisation, which includes embedding philosophies of accessibility, representivity, transparency, and generosity into the DNA of the association. She has also contributed to greater gender equity within the Executive Committee, the development of new projects, important efforts to build participation from the African continent, including hosting the first African Congress, Cradle of Creativity in Cape Town in 2017 and the co-creation of specific networks that expand and enhance the aims of ASSITEJ. This award was coupled with an outpouring of love from the ASSITEJ International Community. “Thank you for everything you’ve done for this global community, your passion, your integrity and power to be visionary – that led the community develop in a new direction” said Gabi Dan Droste of the Young Dance Network.

Incoming President Sue Giles of ASSITEJ Australia said of Yvette “I follow in the footsteps of an incredible human being, who has shown us all the importance of generosity, compassion, transparency and respect in our complex Association. Yvette Hardie has led this Association for 10 years with courage, grace, determination and care.”

The new committee led by Sue, also saw South African playwright and chairperson of ASSITEJ South Africa, Lalu Mokuku elected as a new executive committee member. Lalu received an astounding 112 votes of support from the international community. Lalu joins fellow African, Pamela Udoka of Nigeria in representing the continent.

“As a new dawn has arrived for ASSITEJ International, we at ASSITEJ South Africa fully support the new executive committee. The new President, Sue Giles from Australia is the right person to take this organisation forward into the next term. She is authentic, committed, inspired and inclusive, and a great leader. We celebrate our very own Lalu Mokuku for being the perfect representative for South Africa. We look forward to the ASSITEJ Artistic Gatherings in Sweden in 2022, Serbia in 2023 and France in 2025. We particularly look forward to the 21st World Congress in Cuba in 2024“, said Yvette Hardie, who continues to serve as the director of ASSITEJ South Africa.

The full ASSITEJ International Executive Committee for 2021 – 2024 are as follows: Sue Giles (Australia / President), Bebê De Soares (Chile / Vice President), Pamela Udoka (Nigeria / Vice President), Seok-hong Kim (Korea / Vice President), Louis Valente Sørensen (Denmark / General Secretary), Ernie Nolan (USA / treasurer), Julia Dina HESSE, Selloane ‘Lalu’ Mokuku (South Africa), Shoaib Iqbal (Pakistan) , Cristina Cazzola (Italy), Tatiana Bobrova (Russia), Yannick Boudeau (Belgium), Minoovash Rahimian (Iran), Emilie ROBERT (France), Jon Dafydd-Kidd (United Kingdom)

The 20th ASSITEJ World Congress & International Performing Arts Festival for Children and Young People / MIRAI 2020 is a global space for the ASSITEJ international community to host professional exchanges, premiere innovative theatre for young audiences, network and most importantly connect. This year’s congress was a hybrid event, physically hosted in Japan and with a large presence online. The 11 day event ends on 1 April 2021.


ASSITEJ South Africa is a registered NPO (066-875), which operates as a networking platform for people working with or interested in theatre for children and young people. It aims to promote and foster high quality theatre for children and young people, to raise standards within the industry, to increase access and awareness, to develop and support artists working in the field, to be an advocate for the right of every child to arts education in schools, and to build relationships within the sector locally, nationally, across the continent and globally.

ASSITEJ South Africa is generously supported by Rand Merchant Bank, the National Lotteries Commission, the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, the Department of Basic Education, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), the HCI Foundation, the City of Johannesburg and the City of Cape Town. Other funders, supporters and partners include and have included Dala Arts, the Learning Trust, the DG Murray Trust, the National Arts Council of South Africa, UNESCO IFCD, Buz Publicity, Splitbeam Gearhouse, Institut Francaise, Alliance Francaise, Africalia, Pro Helvetia, Goethe Institut, Government of Flanders, SIDA, The National School of the Arts, Soweto theatre, Artscape, Baxter Theatre, Theatre Arts Admin Collective, the National Arts Festival, the Distell Foundation, the Kids of the Cape, the Cape Tercentenary Foundation, CATHSSETA, Ruth & Anita Wise Trust, Lorenzo and Stella Chiappini Charitable Trust, Puppetry South Africa, The Arts and Culture Trust and Nedbank Arts Affinity, Copy Dog Productions, Mandela Bay Development Agency, Speeltheater Holland Studio, Bush Radio, FMR, and Cape Town Television.

Kofi Maqhawe Dotsey
061 066 0538
ASSITEJ South Africa