One of South Africa’s biggest and most loved Afrikaans arts festivals, Aardklop, returns to its Potchefstroom home for another year of festivities. The festival is a bastion of arts and culture in South Africa. It boasts a range of theatre, music, arts, lifestyle, discussion and kids events that showcase the very best in South African talent. Our editor rounds up the top events this year.
Legendary South African actors, beloved plays and debut shows are all part of the Aardklop programme. Tom Lanoye’s award-winning reimagination of William Shakespeare’s King Lear, Koningin Lear, shows for the first and only time in the northern part of South Africa. Frank Opperman stars in Donkie, the comedic story of a 58 year old school principal who is under a lot of stress.
As 2019 marks the 120th anniversary of the start of the second Anglo-Boer War, Sandra Prinsloo tells Susan Nell’s harrowing real-life story in Kamphoer. The stand-up comedy show Die Intermissie has been described by those who have seen it as “better than Bakgat 2, the cure for depression, bronchitis and related diseases”. 2019 is also the first year Aardklop hosts a fringe-festival, called Aardklop-Aktiveer.
From classical to contemporary to musical theatre, Aardklop has musical shows to suit everyone’s taste. South Africa’s ‘Queen of Rock’ Karen Zoid performs for one night only. Most South Africans know and love the nostalgia of Laurika Rauch’s music, which is why she headlines this year’s Aardklop. In Miss Mandy, Amanda Strydom takes the audience on a 40-year musical journey from her early years to now. Experience something slightly different from CH2 and The Fire Gypsies, as the virtuoso-guitar duo share the stage with fire dancers.
Aardklop isn’t just for the adults theatre-lovers, there are shows for the kids too. Storytime comes alive with KlopKidz, as celebrities interact with the children in drama classes, workshops and entertainment throughout the festival. Die Ware Verhaal van die Drie Varkies is the story of Ot-Truida, the ma pig who knits jerseys and the three little pigs who want jerseys. It’s a play filled with shenanigans and comedy. The newest production in the Liewe Loeloe series, Liewe Loeloe en die Moenie-Boelie-Masjien, begins with Ouma Dot having built a Moenie-Boelie (“Don’t-Bully”) machine.
In between the theatre shows, or perhaps as the highlight of your festival experience, Aardklop offers a variety of lifestyle events and activities to attend. Kontreistories is a new event, where guests sit around a campfire, with a glass of wine and a group of storytellers. Chef Nathan Robinson leads guests through a series of culinary workshops in Kulinêre Kunsies. The Aardklop Langtafel is a yearly highlight, with guests sitting under the trees at a long table laden with food and drink and filled with festive spirit. Taste brandy, gin, champagne or whisky in the popular, and now bigger than ever, Taste Experiences programme.
The visual arts theme this year is Letters to the Night and is curated by Dr. Johan Thom. Cobus Haupt is the main festival artist. Haupt is best known for his bronze sculptures. His exhibition, Uitzicht, is about shaping and expressing our nocturnal fears, the ones that haunt us even though we believe we left that fear of the dark in childhood. Nagmusiek incorporates sound. The art pieces are the visual representations of emotions, ideas, stories or concepts elicited from the music of Strauss, Schubert, Fauré and Berlioz. Aspire presents a selection of rare art films about local art and artists. On the Maboneng Arts Tour, guests visit the houses in Ikageng that have been transformed into art galleries.
Attend talks about business, current affairs and social issues as well as discussion with your favourite South African authors. Discuss “Culture & inheritance in a young democracy” with Heindrich Wyngaard. Kabous Meiring presents a talk about gender titled “Ladies and Gentlemen (and everything in between and on the otherside)”. Divan Botha talks about entrepreneurship in his talk “Must I really be an entrepreneur?”.