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A tribute to the late Themi Venturas

Conceptualizer and first Festival Director of The Durban International Blues Festival (2005-2017)

It was with devastation that the Durban Arts world learnt of the passing of Themi Venturas, the much loved local arts practitioner who lost his battle to cancer on 11 Sep 2017.  Venturas was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April of the same year.

Venturas was born in Zimbabwe in 1958, and the the youngest of four sons. Originally named Michael George Lostrom, he was adopted by his aunt, Evangelia Venturas and her husband and renamed Themistocles Venturas and moved to South Africa with his adoptive parents.

By the age of 5, Themi had won his first talent contest and in Grade 9, at Marist Brothers College, Venturas wrote his first play at this school and thus was the respect for his creative talent born.

With a career spanning over 30 years, Venturas acted, he directed about 500 plays and managed and wrote a number of award winning productions.

Themi Venturas served  on many boards  such as President of the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) in KwaZulu-Natal, as a member of the PANSA national executive committee, a trustee on the Arts and Culture Trust of South Africa and as a member of the Theatre Biz board to name but a few.

Themi was also the conceptualizer and founder of the Durban International Blues Festival in 2005

With his love for this genre of music, he recognized a gap and took it. Modelling the concept much on that of the Jazz festival which has become synonymous with  Cape Town, Themi  found his team of specialist and together worked relentlessly from 2005 until present day, coming up against many  odds as the theatre and music world dictates, to now have an established, annual event which is also realising the past Director’s passionate dream :

To make Durban the Blues Capital of South Africa if not the continent.

R.I.P. Themi. You are gone from here, but never forgotten as we continue with your legacy and every Blues Festival moving forward will carry your name in association – with pride.

The Durban International Blues Festival Team of Directors salutes you.

Will Wallace.   Tanya van Agthoven Marais.   Pinkie Mtshali.   Thando Nyameni

And the many associates and crew who worked with you and continue in the name of Blues.