After the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, Mike Van Graan was appointed as a Special Adviser to the first minister responsible for arts and culture where he played an influential role in shaping post-apartheid cultural policies. His leadership roles include serving as Associate Professor in UCT’s Drama Department from 2015-2019, Director of the Community Arts Project, Projects Officer for the Congress of South African Writers and General Secretary of the National Arts Coalition, and Technical Adviser to UNESCO’s 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. He is the founding Secretary General of Arterial Network, a Pan African network of artists, cultural activists, creative enterprises and others engaged in the African creative sector and its contribution to human rights, democracy, and development in Africa. He is the 2018 recipient of the Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award in recognition of his contribution to the fight against apartheid, to building a post-apartheid society, and to the study of the interface between peace and culture both in his home country and across the African continent.
Van Graan is a prolific and accomplished playwright; he was Artscape’s Associate Playwright from 2011-2014 and he received the Standing Ovation award at South Africa’s 2012 National Arts Festival for his sustained contributions as a writer and activist. His works include Green Man Flashing (2004), Some Mothers’ Sons (2005), Die Generaal (2007), Brothers in Blood (2009), Iago’s Last Dance (2009), and Rainbow Scars (2013).