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HENNIE FOR CALABASH (article first published : 2005-03-27)

Hendrik Baird has been appointed as the North West Cultural Calabash Project Co ordinator as of April 1 for a year’s (renewable) contract.

Hennie is a director, writer, actor, puppeteer and arts administrator. Born in Kimberley in 1963, he matriculated in 1981 from Hoerskool, Pretoria-North, and then studied at the University of Pretoria where he obtained a BA (Drama) Hons degree in 1988. After a three-year stint as an actor at Pacofs in Bloemfontein, Hennie joined the Mmabana Cultural Centre in Taung in 1992 as Drama Unit Manager. He moved to Durban where he worked for a year as Director of the BAT Centre Trust after which he worked as an actor and magician for four years.

“To say that I am excited about this is an understatement,” says Hennie who KZN audiences will remember both as an actor and as magician, Hendini. The following is taken from his website at http://culturalcalabash.blogspot.com/

“I am in fact ecstatic. And to understand why, let's quickly retrace our steps and go back to 1994. “The place: Mmabana Cultural Centre in Taung. After two years of wonderful results, we are on a go-slow, waiting for the elections. My annual production with students is on hold. Antigone must wait until we go to the polls. Then it happens. We are a democracy. We are free.

In the Green Paper on Arts and Culture, I find a paragraph that states that the country must have more indigenous arts festivals. And so a seed is planted. An idea soon becomes a reality and the rest is history.

The North West Cultural Calabash started as a one-day event and has grown into a year-long arts event. Not only do we have workshops and travelling road shows and competitions, but also a major event at the end of September. People and contestants from all over the province are drawn to the main event in the rural village of Taung, home to an ancient ancestor, the Taung child.”

After an absence of some five years, Hennie has now returned to take over the reigns of the festival once again.

The North West Cultural Calabash is one of the North West Province's premier developmental arts festivals, giving voice to previously disadvantaged artists. It is a year-long event that culminates in a major festival in September, featuring competitions, workshops, shows and associated industries.

Contact Hendrik Baird on 012 329 5467 or 083 698 7998, e-mail: hendrik03@telkomsa.net or visit http://culturalcalabash.blogspot.com/




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