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NAF EVENTS (article first published : 2005-03-23)

New cross-genre fusions, new multi-media spectacles, new scripts and new culture-smart agendas stimulated by new audience appetites are the dominant flavours on the Main programme for the National Arts Festival taking place in Grahamstown from June 30 to July 9. (see articles in individual disciplines)

"A new tribe of mature and professional South African artists with international experience are cooking up a storm in the Mzantsi arts kitchens. The ingredients for this festival were garnered from the four corners of our creative marketplace by people who know the shortest route to the heart of an audience," said Lynette Marais, Festival Director.

In this year's Winter School, Judge Dennis Davis uses examples from film to support his argument that public perception of the law is shaped almost entirely by mass media. Philosophers Tom Martin and Ward Jones consider ‘racism and reason' and ‘comedy and love' in the films The Believer and His Girl Friday.

Authors Claudia Ford and Peter Mtuze talk about their research and two other authors, Olive Schreiner and André Brink are talked about by Stephen Gray and Godfrey Meintjes respectively. Elinor Sisulu considers the culture of reading in South Africa.

On the spiritual front, Azila Reisenberger introduces some principles of Jewish law; and Najma Moosa analyses the veiling of Muslim women. On the culture front, Zayd Minty expands on the South African/Indonesian connection and Prone and Prostrate is the telling title of Helen Moffett's paper on Victorian iconography.

Politics is on the agenda with Lungisile Ntsebeza on South Africa's land redistribution policies; and Peter Vale on the current Think Tanks in the New South Africa - are they "a boon, a burden, or just plain bilge water?" he asks.

Rhona Duncan addresses the critical shortage of science and technology skills in South Africa. Popular hypnotist and consummate showman, Stef Juncker will be on hand for a Q&A session on hypnosis.

To make the most of the festival experience, everyone needs the maximum me-time and this is precisely what the Childrens Arts Festival offers youngsters and parents alike. Fully supervised in the safe environment of St Andrew's Preparatory School, the children's programme includes shows concerts and workshops (performance and craftart) every day.

For the interactive experience, try the Transnet Village Green and the Church Square craft market precincts. There are oodles of gorgeous and unusual things to ogle and buy as well as a plethora of fast snack foods.

A number of cosy restaurants serving a range of home cooking are open in Grahamstown only during the festival. And for an action break, festinos are spoiled for choice: golfing, outrides (on polite horses), hiking and biking, microlite and helicopter flips and much, much more.

This festival is presented by the Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank, National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, SABC and the National Arts Council and booking kits will be available during mid April in time for the opening of the booking on May 9. The Fringe booking kit will be available from May in time for the opening on May 23. Further information on 046 603 1103/1164 or visit http://www.nafest.co.za




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