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TUKS CELEBRATES DEMOCRACY & RECONCILIATION (article first published : 2005-02-21)

The University of Pretoria is to host an Arts and Reconciliation Festival and Conference from March 14 to 20.

In celebration of a decade of democracy and the ten year commemoration of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well as 150 years of existence of the city of Tshwane (Pretoria), the festival and conference aims to redefine and emphasise the role that music, drama, films and the visual arts play in South Africa - as well as in many other countries - to bring down the walls of racial, political, socio-economic and cultural divisions and to help build bridges towards healing and reconciliation.

Nobel prize laureates, former Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President FW de Klerk will act as patrons of this initiative. Archbishop Tutu will present a key-note lecture and FW de Klerk will deliver the closing address.

The programme consists of a number of activities: academic tracks, practical workshops and master classes, lunch-hour entertainment, evening concerts, a drama and film festival, as well as numerous exhibitions.

Stories and experiences from all over the world are brought together in the programme: from South Africa and other African countries, the USA, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine, Iran and Iraq and the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. Themes that will be explored are conflict, guilt, justice, forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. The role that the arts play in the prevention of and the fight against HIV/Aids will also be underlined.

In the lunch-hour concerts as well as in the evenings there will be music and drama performances, film shows and poetry readings. At the opening ceremony on the evening of March 14, Michael Moeraneís famous My Country will be performed as well as works from Beethoven and Saint-SaŽns.

During the rest of the week the evening programme will include the following contemporary South African films; piano and chamber music by Jewish composers who escaped from Nazi Germany; an open air performance ín Afrikaner Waarheids- en Versoeningskommissie; a contemporary South African rendition of Hšndelís Messiah (Die Messias -die Jirre seun); a fusion of African and classical music, as well as a jazz and local festival.

For the duration of the week a number of prominent South African artists will exhibit artworks in which the theme of reconciliation is explored.

Registration fees include Full conference package (R950 African delegates/$250 international delegates); Day delegates R400, and Student conference package R300. Fee for the opening ceremony and concert R60. Workshops per afternoon R30, drama and music concerts R30.

For the detailed programme and to register for this festival visit www.thediplomat.co.za/artsrecon




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