UNIMA SA’s mission is to promote artistic excellence, social cohesion, cultural awareness, environmental sustainability and economic growth through the power of puppetry.
UNIMA SA consistently innovates new applications for the medium of puppetry to meet identified needs andcontribute to achieving its mission and vision.

Puppetry brings together the creation of visual objects and images, dramatization, storytelling, collaborative groupwork, the animation of imagined images and Wonder and inspiration. At UNIMA SA we work to realize our vision by using puppetry as:

  • A rich form for artistic self-expression.
  • A dynamic learning tool that communicates across languages, gender, race and age. 
  • A medium for psychological and emotional care: puppetry encourages nurture as the puppet is brought to life.
  • An effective way to promote collaboration and group work. Performance teams depend on each other in the creation of work and the animation of individual puppets.
  • An interdisciplinary art form that builds skills in design, construction, delivery, confidence, memory, special co-ordination, language, leadership, initiative and creative thinking. 
  • A marketable skill for generating employment for young people who can use visually striking puppetry to bring wonder to the public.
Puppetry is effective because it allows people to play, imagine, tell their stories, negotiate viewpoints through groupwork, develop and self confidence through creative and dramatic expression. Puppetry brings together all the benefits of theatre-making and story-telling with all the benefits of visual arts creation. 
Socio-cultural message transmitted through entertaining puppetry performances can inspire an openness to change, experimentation and innovation, which has the ability to mobilise and educate.
Marie Kruger, Stellenbosch Universit
History and Evolution
Union International de la Marionette (UNIMA) was the first cultural organization established by UNESCO in 1929 and on-going works to encourage cultural interaction and world peace through the art of puppetry. UNIMA SA was founded in 1972.
In 2005, we formalized the constitution, registered as a Not for Proffit Organisation (NPO). At this time we began to run development programs focused on youth and children at risk as well as promote original African puppetry arts.
From 2006 to the present UNIMA SA has operated on a year-round basis, running several training and development portfolios. From 2006-2011 UNIMA SA ran the 10-day international puppetry festival Out The Box. UNIMA SA has become a thriving social enterprise promoting skills development, sustainable arts practice and creative excellence.

What we do

UNIMA SA’s activities include a variety of artistic and community events, artistic platforms for emerging artists, skills training and social development interventions. UNIMA SA has four focus areas for its activities. Within each of these portfolios, projects are run which correspond with our mission.
  • Skills and sustainability (Active Puppets, Child’s Play)
  • Wholistic development (Indawo Yobom)
  • Professional pathways (Puppets Work)
  • Diversity and Social Cohesion (Out The Box)
Unima South Africa