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I think you are off the mark, Mr Opperman

Lynette Marais

I think all festivals are wonderful! Festivals are a celebration — be it of a particular culture, cultures or special events. These may be local, regional, national, international or a combination. They are all unique, whether they are celebrating the arts, the whales, biltong or German beer! Why try to destroy their spirit? Why don’t we build each other up and not seek to destroy?

Mr Opperman’s few thoughts on the three great arts festivals in South Africa are a vicious attack on the Standard Bank National Arts Festival and a cruel dismissal of Aardklop. What for? Why? A few years ago he was never going to perform in Oudtshoorn again! Take heart, Aardklop, you might be top of Mr Opperman’s pops in three years time!

I think you are off the mark, Mr Opperman, in your views of the Standard Bank National Arts Festival’s interpretation of “fraternity”. I do not recall that we have ever not recognised that cultures differ. It is, in fact, exactly that which we celebrate. We believe that to know and understand each other’s cultures, is what brings mutual respect, dignity, tolerance and love for our fellow human beings. We live in not only a country, but also a world of many cultures and traditions.

Mr Opperman’s dismissal of black South Africans’ attendance and participation at festivals is, to say the least, presumptuous. Perhaps he needs to take his head out of the sand and concede that Africans too have communication traditions such as story telling, music and dance.

You do not always have to present everything separately and neatly packaged in its own little “community of consciousness” box.

Occasionally throw off the lid, shake out the content, mix it around and, surprisingly, you can create an aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable picture. This does not mean that you are destroying the content which can be packed back again and remain whole in its individuality. It is also marvellous to experience individuality in context on its own. This is why most people love to travel to other lands, but do not decline the offer of a little smorgasbord!

From the land of the pineapple, aloe, elephant, kudu and plenty of ostriches, please don’t rely on Mr Opperman’s culinary tastes, I can assure you that “boet and swaer” make a mean pineapple sosatie!

  • Lynette Marais is the Festival Director of the Standard Bank National Arts Festival

    boontoe / to the top


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