The town of Oudtshoorn is abuzz ahead of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK), which will once again be held, after a hiatus of two years due to COVID-19. The event will be held from the 29th of March to the 3rd of April.
During the programme launch on Saturday night, it was announced that the big names of the Afrikaans thespian and music community will be back on stage, including Nataniel, Amanda Strydom, Sandra Prinsloo, Karen Zoid and Emo Adams.
The excitement is palpable. One of South Africa’s biggest arts festivals will once again draw visitors to Oudtshoorn. KKNK Chairperson, Crispin Sonn, says a festival is best enjoyed in person.
“Human beings we’re social beings, we like feeling each other, seeing each other and we’re tactile. Just the ability to have contact with people is a massive relief for us so that we can facilitate that. we had a great opportunity to make our material available to people digitally. But it’s a second prize to having somebody in close proximity, so we’re excited.”
The past two years have not only seen the arts community suffering financially, but a number of artists and those affiliated to the KKNK were lost to COVID-19 and other causes. They include one of the founding members of the festival, Dr David Piedt, and well-known actors such as Shaleen Surtie-Richards and Ben Kruger. A moving tribute
“We lost so many people over the past two years, colleagues, artists friends and one of the songs I dedicated to those who are not here anymore, many of our friends, many colleagues, musicians, actors, actresses. I do believe it’s so wonderful having the festival starting up again and I do believe that somehow when we play and when we’re on stage, they’ll be part of it and sing along.”
Veteran actor Frank Opperman was surprised with an honorary award for his contribution to the arts.
‘The award tonight…I’m not somebody who believes in awards, but on a rainy day an award is a nice thing. It was really a surprise and really lekker to be told here’s something, but it just makes one feel a little bit old, that’s the only thing about an award like that.”
KKNK Artistic Director, Hugo Theart, has once again reminded visitors that strict COVID-19 regulations will apply, including a vaccination mandate.
“We’ll follow a vaccination mandate which means that people who are vaccinated can buy tickets. For people who are not vaccinated, there are exceptions where you can do a PCR test and if it’s valid it will be scanned and you’ll be allowed into venues as well.”
The visual arts will also once again play an integral part of the festival.
The festival artist this year is internationally renowned Mary Sibande. Tickets will go on sale from the 1st of March.