Become human at festival

2019-06-26 06:01

The annual Vrystaat Arts Festival returns to offer arts lovers the real treat of local and international flair from Monday (01/07) to Sunday, 7 July, in Bloemfontein.

This year’s is the fourth edition of the multi-cultural event, showcasing arts and performances.

While other events will be hosted at selective venues such as Hoffman Square, the University of the Free State (UFS) will be the main centre of attraction with most activities taking place there.

“The festival promotes cultu­ral diversity and brings people together in shared experiences,” said Prof. Francis Petersen, rector and vice-chancellor of the UFS.

“They are catalysts for intercultural dialogue and they reach out to people from different backgrounds and across gene­rations. Festivals help us to see how our histories, cultures and societies are intertwined.

“My goal to involve the UFS with the festival even more has become a reality with the presentation of the Inaugural Thought-Leader Series during last year’s festival. The aim of the series is to position the university as a thought-leader and as an institution that takes part in public discourse on matters of national concern.”

According to Annalize Dedekind, chair: Vrystaat Kunstefees and deputy editor: Volksblad, this year’s edition will serve as a reflection of humankind.

“A mirror can be alarmingly honest. Sometimes painfully so. Sometimes heart-warming. It is a reflection of the true you. The arts are like a mirror reflecting with unsettling honesty our inner and outer selves, the environment, our deepest being.

“This is what this year’s Vrystaat Arts Festival is focusing on. ‘Becoming Human’ – a charged theme with the suggestion of movement, development, change and growth,” said Dedekind.

Dr. Ricardo Peach, director of the Vrystaat Arts Festival, said the weeklong festival has plenty to offer arts enthusiasts, adding that it was growing in statue due to diversity.

“The Vrystaat Arts Festival has an enormous artistic offering in 2019. From flagship Afrikaans and Sesotho theatre and music productions (in addition to various English works) to experimental dance, craft, sound art and live art, there is something for everyone,” said Peach.

Gert Coetzee, editor of Volksblad, said the festival calls for celebration of becoming human together because it is human driven.

“A human being is a human being through or because of others. You are who you are because of how you interact with those around you.

“The theme ‘Becoming Human’ personifies this wisdom for individuals and communities. The core business of the Vry­staat Arts Festival (founded as the Volksblad Arts Festival) remains the arts – for, from and through people.

“In this shared space of the arts, languages and cultures, people come to expand their humanness through interaction with others.

“Let’s celebrate ‘Becoming Human’ together. Come share in the fun,” Coetzee said.

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