DIANE DE BEER
For those not traveling down to Mkhanda for the National Arts Festival, Toyota SU Woordfees is presenting its second TV pop-up channel, which has been specifically curated to embrace a broad range of genres: writers and books, which is what started the festival in the first place, theatre, contemporary and classical music, dance, lifestyle, discourse, stand-up comedy, film, and visual arts.
There is a strong focus on quality-Afrikaans books, theatre, music, and film, as well as this year’s newbie, discussions on agricultural issues.
A selection of 2021’s most popular TV festival programmes will also be broadcast in non-primetime slots. New programmes specially produced for 2022 will be available on DStv Catch Up.
Here are a few personal highlights:
The Woordfees started 22 years ago as an all-night poetry festival, and books and writers are still at the heart of the festival programme.
There are 18 new book talks on the programme, including the following:
Dol heuning with SJ Naudé: A Hertzog Prize winner – and the first person to win the prize two years in a row for prose – refers to himself as “an activist for the short story”. He talks to Marius Swart about where he gets his inspiration from and Sandra Prinsloo reads an extract from one of his stories.
Wanneer vandag en gister nie lepellê: Kirby van der Merwe (Eugene), Audrey Jantjies (As die katjiepiering blom) and Brian Fredericks (Hou jou oë oop) share their inspiration with Diane Ferrus.
Digtersparadys: With Philip de Vos, Lynthia Julius, Elias P. Nel, Louise Boshoff, Grant Jefthas and Franco Colin, Dean Balie and Kabous Meiring (presenter). It’s an afternoon with poetry, musical arrangements by Wilken Calitz and a special musical reading by Dean Balie from the new Adam Small collection.
Pretoria se Elon Musk; Adriaan Basson speaks to Michael Vlismas and Herman Wasserman about Elon Musk – Risking It All (an unauthorised biography).
All 19 book talks filmed last year, including a conversation between iconic theatre maker Marthinus Basson and his friend, 2021 Booker Prize winner, Damon Galgut, will be broadcast again. It’s magnificent if you missed it before.
This is quite delightful as seven quirky clowns play juggle with mimicry, magic and fun. De Klerk Oelofse, Dean Balie, Jemma Kahn and others provide a joyous experience for the family.
Proscenium: Toutjies & Ferreira
Saartjie Botha’s award-winning play starts out as a comedy focussing on backstage before the lights go on, but then it turns into heartache as parents left behind after their children emigrated are in the spotlight. Frank Opperman and Joanie Combrink star.
If you haven’t seen the Rachelle Greeff production starring Sandra Prinsloo, Die Naaimasjien, it’s a must-see with great writing and an extraordinary performance.
Mis and Krismis van Map Jacobs will be re-screened from last year, but the one to watch over and over again is Andrew Buckland and Sylvaine Strike in one of my all-time favourites,
Ferine and Ferase. The play was directed by Toni Morkel, with musical accompaniment by Tony Bentel, and film direction by Jaco Bouwer. It received the coveted kykNET Fiësta Award for Best Festival Production.
Also catch the short but powerful Cleanse by the young creative Jane Mpholo, someone to watch as she addresses issues that need airing in a very personal way. It cuts to the bone.
CONTEMPORARY MUSIC, according to Artistic Director Saartjie Botha, has been given special focus.
Not to be missed are:
Al om Antjie: Antjie Krog is a multi-award-winning literary icon. She is best known for her evocative Afrikaans poetry, her reporting on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and her book Country of My Skull. Artists including Frazer Barry, Anton Goosen, Laurinda Hofmeyr, Antoinette Kellermann, Babalwa Mentjies, Churchil Naudé and Jolyn Phillips celebrate her 70th birthday with some of her most beloved poems set to music.
Brel/Piaf: described as a stylish revue of the timeless songs of Jacques Brel and Edith Piaf, performed by André Schwartz and Amanda Strydom, accompanied by Coenraad Rall and Dawid Boverhoff and directed by Saartjie Botha, is a welcome addition as I missed the live show when it had short runs in Joburg and Cape Town.
Afrika Blues is what guitar genius Schalk Joubert describes as one of his favourite shows. And with the mesmerising voice of Sima Mashazi and musical virtuosos Louis Mhlanga, Schalk Joubert, Albert Frost and Jonno Sweetman, it’s pure gold.
Hanepoot Brass Band Live at The Daisy Jones is also something to witness. They know how to swing. In 2019, Jannie Hanepoot (Gereformeerde Blues Band, African Jazz Pioneers) wrote some new arrangements for eight of his favourite musicians and the Hanepoot Brass Band was born. They’re to die for.
Highlights from the 2021 contemporary music series will be re-broadcast:
David Kramer Tribute – Boland to Broadway; Karen Zoid & die Kaapstadse Filharmoniese Orkes; Smeltkroes
Viewers are spoilt for choice with:
Community Spectacular Gala 2021: Anna Davel, Earl Gregory, Luvo Maranti and Zip Zap Circus perform with the Cape Town Philharmonic in the latest annual community gala that raises the roof at Artscape each year.
Elgar Cello Concerto: by South Africa’s foremost cellist, Peter Martens, and Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 conducted by Bernhard Gueller.
Mozart and Schubert: Esthea Kruger performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor, KV 466, and Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony conducted by Bernhard Gueller.
Celebrating Stephenson and Rajna: The Amici Quartet perform works by Allan Stephenson, Thomas Rajna and Ravel as well as Puccini’s Crisantemi.
Th eStellenbosch University Choir concert as well as Zorada Temmingh’s organ recital from 2021 will be re-screened.
Krummelpap, Afval en Sunlightseepbaddens by the celebrated Garage Dance Theatre from Okiep present dance with poetry by Ronelda Kamfer. I won’t miss this hook-up that makes perfect sense.
Pergolesi se Stabat Mater: During lockdown in South Africa, Cape Town Opera, Cape Town City Ballet and the Cape Town Baroque Orchestra joined forces to create a physically distanced film of excerpts from Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, choreographed via videocall by Mthuthuzeli November. It is a multi-faceted exploration of grief, empathy, and faith.
There are some fantastic lifestyle programmes, including Stellenbosch and its very particular and exclusive lifestyle, which features architecture from this historic town, wine (naturally) food and mushroom foraging amongst others.
Standup comedy is also a large feature with both new performances and the popular ones from last year again part of the schedule.
A variety of discussions around hot topics hosted by seasoned journalists Kabous Meiring (anchor of kykNET’s Prontuit) and Pieter du Toit (Assistant Editor for in-depth news: News24).
The seriously funny (or so they say) Filosofiekafee 2021 will be screened again.
Discussions with experts about food sustainability, land issues, and stories of hope.
En tog die deuntjie draal – Die Koos Du Plessis-verhaal: this poet/songwriter changed the landscape of Afrikaans music and lyrics and I will not miss this screening of one of our greats.
Locked Doors, Behind Doors: Indoni Dance, Arts and Leadership Academy directed by the award-winning Sbonakaliso Ndaba explore the stark reality of their members’ lives during the pandemic, when home induced feelings of powerlessness and despair. The documentary uses research into the migrant labourers and slaves of preceding generations to develop choreography that expresses the sacrifices of those who helped to forge the nation of South Africa.
Die ongetemde stem – ’n Herontdekking van Afrikaanse musiek: a programme I caught at this year’s Silwerskerm and again, not to be missed, featuring Churchil Naudé, Frazer Barry, Deniel Barry, David Kramer, Johannes Kerkorrel, Koos Kombuis and more, directed by Riku Lätti and Gideon Breytenbach.
The WOW festival which is the youth leg of the Woordfees will also be represented.
Check Toyota SU Woordfees for times and schedules.