Category: @Fest

loyiso

There’s probably going to be a lot of empty plinths in South Africa’s major centres soon – well, if this country’s self-styled landscape decolonisers get their way. The problem is: all those statues of Van Riebeeck will probably end up being replaced by statues of other particularly dour and/or problematic personages. So we want to propose something different: put up some statues of popular artists. But which ones would be most suitable? Here are a few proposals.

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I remember seeing hundreds of men and women in red berets, presumably members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), at the 2013 Cape Town International Jazz Festival. They circulated between stages like fuzzy flying saucers. This year, in Grahamstown, I have seen none. Is the absence of South Africa’s most successful political branding exercise – certainly since democracy – a product of time, geography, a changing political landscape, or something else?

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Albie Sachs says that when he grew up, he didn’t exactly see Cecil John Rhodes as Mr Nice Guy. But when he was at the University of Cape Town, the ethos was to be friendly to him. Although bothered by the presence of Rhodes, Sachs says they had bigger battles to fight at the time. There was academic integration, but social segregation on campus. Obviously all that has now changed.

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To live in Grahamstown is to live at an address of amaz!ng privilege. We’re as spoilt as passengers on a cruise ship: we just wait here drinking aloe daiquiris in the sunshine until the world of art pulls up at the door.

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Rhodes fell in Cape Town, so needless to say being back in Grahamstown this year for my sixth Festival has been a very strange, polarising, yet enriching experience. Last year I skipped it without flinching: I felt I had outgrown the town and the Festival. Now don’t get me wrong: I count myself lucky to have studied my undergrad degree at Rhodes University.

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Antoinette Pienaar is a graphic designer based in Grahamstown who works under the umbrella of Woel Design.

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Throughout this festival I’ve been hearing people rant and rave about Dr Stef and his hypnosis show. Comments have been wide-ranging, from “absolute farce” to “absolutely amazing”, so  I decided to get in on the action and see for myself what all the fuss is about.

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Is satire about freedom of expression or about the freedom to laugh? Should we, as the public be so eager to laugh that we seek entertainment from anything and everything?

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Conrad Koch performs as Chester Missing in Missing at the National Arts Festival, in Grahamstown, 08 July 2015. The puppet performed to a full house. (Photo: CuePix/Tamani Chithambo)

Just in case my isiXhosa middle name may have distracted you: yes, this is another column by another white guy with another original take on white privilege. Once again, another one of us would like to take up even more of your time to talk about us. Let’s put white people in the spotlight. You know, for a change.

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On Saturday 4 July, two middle-aged men were overheard discussing sex workers while standing near the Frontier Hotel taxi rank. “I found two young girls in Durban. They’re willing to come and work during Festival,” one man said. His companion looked anxious. “Don’t worry – they’re fresh; not like the girls from Point Road. They’ll be given clean clothes. Their appearance will be taken care of.”

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