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JUGGLING CONVENTION (article first published : 2006-01-21)

Jugglers meet in Hibberdene on the KZN South Coast for a long weekend of juggly fun-in-the-sun in March. All levels welcome.

From humble beginnings, The South African Juggling Association has come a long way. This year's Juggling Convention will be their 10th, and the fourth at the Convention's now permanent home, The Natal Mercury Hibberdene Children's Holiday home.

According to Garth van Vliet, convention convener, this circa-1930 orphanage is the ideal venue. "It's right on the beach, has acres of sprawling lawns, provides affordable, dormitory style accommodation and they can offer us a variety of catering solutions. The Home normally provides holidays to underprivileged children but also welcomes members of the public to make use of their facilities. Profits from public use are used to subsidise holidays at the home for children who would never have had this opportunity for a beach holiday. The charity angle was the clincher when the decision to select a permanent home for the convention was made.

In true grassroots style, South African Juggling is very much driven from the ground up. Unlike the more structured American or European conventions, the South African convention is a remarkably laid-back affair. "We don't run a strict time-table of workshops and events" explains Garth. "What you will see happening is someone noticing another convention-goer performing a trick they'd like to learn. They'll walk over and utter the magic words 'Show me how you do that?' Other jugglers will join in and before you know it, you have a workshop."

The Convention starts on March 18 and continues until brunch on March 21. As they did last year, a couple of die-hards will start gathering at the venue on March 14 for a week-long version.

A traditional 'Renegade Show' will be held in the Home's hall on Sunday evening. For more information and online-registration, visit www.juggle.co.za or e-mail convention@juggle.co.za




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