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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

GRAHAMSTOWN, TUESDAY JULY 3 (article first published : 2001-07-3)

Today dawned perfectly and it’s now an absolutely beautiful, glorious sunny day. The Standard Bank National Arts Festival is in full swing with no less than 586 events taking place – 297 on the Main and 289 on the Fringe. And that’s not counting what’s happening at Wordfest.

I saw three interesting and wide-ranging productions yesterday from Offbeat Broadway and Ben Voss in Men’s Night to the UND student production Left Luggage. Today I’m seeing A Portion of Time between Two Points, the commissioned work from this year’s Standard Bank Young Artists Award winner for Dance. (Watch out for reviews – when I can draw breath to write them!)

Four KZN performers appear in the top best-selling productions of the festival (see separate story).

Sad news received yesterday that my father-in-law, Murray Gardner, had passed away peacefully in Durban after a short illness. Ironic that I should currently be in the place of his birth.

Murray attended St Andrews College, acquired a law degree at Rhodes University and was the first to qualify at the Grahamstown School of Aviation in 1937. He had a distinguished war career, serving in the South African Air Force as Lt Colonel Officer Commanding 40 Squadron (motto: “Mud in Your Eye – Never Give Up”) in the Western desert during the Second World War. After the war, he joined the Royal Air Force serving as a wing commander based at Staff College and Calshot, UK.

He was awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) in 1941 with a further bar awarded later and received the OBE (military) in 1943.

At the time of his death, he was looking for a publisher for his book. Titled “Sky Hooks”, it covered his experiences, memories and events in 50 years of flying.




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