Conceptualizer and first Festival Director of The Durban International Blues Festival (2005-2017)
It was with the 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 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 :
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.
A tribute to the late Pinkie Mtshali
We sadly said goodbye to another of our co-directors PINKIE MTSHALI who went Home to join the Choir in the Sky in July this year.
We miss your input and feel your absence Blues Lady (Rest in Peace)