Issuu on Google+


9 771607 519004

1 2 0 1 2>

SA R32,95 - Dec 2012/ Jan 2013

Diane Victor: Drawing in smoke ACT Lifetime Achievers 2012

Exclusive! J.M. Coetzee Interview

Katherine Jenkins This is Christmas

13 brand new christmas songs

plus ‘Come What May’ featuring Plácido Domingo

Cover image: JM Coetzee Photo © Ulla Montan

cover story 22

‘… A CERTAIN AGE…’ – J.M. COETZEE John Maxwell ‘J.M.’ Coetzee is known as one of the world’s great literary recluses and rarely gives interviews. Yet in the exclusive interview he granted to Classicfeel, Lore Watterson was given answers that provided a considerable

contents insight into some of his thoughts and feelings, presented with the same precision and economy that readers may recognise from his published work.

art and culture 30




Easily one of South Africa’s most talented and disturbing

This holiday the Absa Gallery hosts a fascinating exhibition

artists, Diane Victor’s rage, distress, and dark humour

entitled Re-Sampled, which juxtaposes renowned historic

has produced some compelling images.

artworks against the modern interpretations thereof, as conceptualised by some of South Africa’s most promising young




There have been no shortage of highlights and lowlights taking place in the world of visual arts in the past year.


ACT AWARDS 2012 The Arts and Culture Trust Awards 2012 saw the recognition




of four outstanding members of South Africa’s arts and

Artist Paul Emmanuel writes of his impressions during an

culture community – Nadine Gordimer, Welcome Msomi,

artist’s residency in France.

Andrew Verster and Jonas Gwangwa




Gordon Froud, artist and senior lecturer at UJ, reports on the

Five years after they made their debut, the quartet known

extensive exhibition of South African sculpture that recently

as Sterling EQ have reinvented their sound and style with

took place in the Hague.

their new album.

2 / classic feel


KATHERINE JENKINS’ THIS IS CHRISTMAS Released just in time for the festive season, Katherine Jenkins’ latest album is a collection of the superstar singer’s favourite Christmas songs.



lifestyle and entertainment 80

Michael Renier is a world-renowned tenor, who, although

Phil Alcock, Executive Chef at Two Oceans Restaurant,

born and raised in South Africa, has lived and performed in

Cape Point

Europe for well over 30 years. Recently, he has recorded two


albums of ‘popular songs done in a traditional tenor way’, bringing his music back home to his South African fans.


Classic Chefs


Classic Wine Robertson Wine Valley


Film reviews


CD reviews


Book reviews

Soprano Alma Oosthuizen, a respected singing teacher and concert performer, recently released a selection of remastered recordings of Lieder and show tunes


Following in the wake of Nicholas McCarthy’s highly


acclaimed performance at the closing ceremony of the


Classic print

London Paralympics in September 2012, the pianist is set


News and events

for a three-date South African tour. Classicfeel introduces



Artlooks and Artlines NAF Director Ismail Mahomed provides first-hand insight

the world’s youngest left-hand-only pianist.

into the ins and outs of arts festivals




The dual role of the arts

Durban-based cellist, Marguerite Spies, currently the only

Michelle Constant, CEO of Business and Arts South Africa

South African member of The World Orchestra, writes for

(BASA), considers the dual role of the arts in society –

Classicfeel about her experiences on the international ‘music for peace’ organisation’s most recent tour – to the

namely its duty to be both ‘attractive’ and ‘imperative’. 78

Mediterranean island of Mallorca.

Whalspotting Mark Strathmore, Ecosystem Alliances at Nokia South Africa, demystifies IT and electronics for Classicfeel


STANDARD BANK YOUNG ARTISTS 2013 The latest winners of South Africa’s most distinguished


Encore Karabo Kgoleng, radio journalist and presenter at SAfm

arts awards have finally been announced. Introducing the winners of the 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist Awards.

classic feel / 3


IT DOESN’T NEED A SINGLE WORD TO SAY IT ALL. There are those who don’t strive to be noticed, their presence is simply felt. Similarly the new BMW 7 Series offers like-minded drivers the power and authority to say it all without saying a word. For more information go to


The new BMW 7 Series is available in 730d, 740i, 750i, 750Li, 760Li and ActiveHybrid 7.

BMW 7 Series

Sheer Driving Pleasure


South African greats – past, present and future i


music a r t s c ult ur e life st yle


his issue is a very special one for us. It isn’t everyday that you find a publication


that contains features on, not one, but both of South Africa’s Nobel Prize

classicf eel

for Literature laureates. Nadine Gordimer once again graces the pages of

The groundbreaking book by Andrew Zuckerman



memorable and award winning covers back in 2009 – as we celebrate her as

The fascinating origin of Puccini’s opera


the recipient of the first ever Arts and Culture Trust (ACT) Lifetime Achievement Award

MUSEUM AFRICA A tribute: l’Afrique

for Literature. Classicfeel has long been a media partner of the ACT Awards, giving us

MOREIRA CHONGUICA Citizen of the World

the opportunity this year to feature Ms Gordimer alongside her fellow honorees Welcome



Msomi (Theatre), Andrew Verster (Visual Arts) and Jonas Gwangwa (Music).

Food and wine Movie, book, CD and DVD reviews


Classicfeel – readers may remember that she had featured on one of our most

The African literary tradition l lif


SA R29,95 – May 2009


The real coup for this issue was securing an interview with South Africa’s Nobel Prizewinning author, J.M. Coetzee, who will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of the Witwatersrand in December. He is well known for his reclusiveness and his reluctance


to speak to the media, so we are proud that he granted us the interview and of course, once we managed to procure these beautiful photographs of him by Swedish photographer Ulla


Montan, we simply had to have him on our cover. This final publication of the year has turned out to be an issue that is absolutely packed with some of South Africa’s leading exponents of the arts – both well established and up and coming. We have ten of the country’s most exciting rising artistic voices in this issue – the six Standard Bank Young Artists for 2013 and the four ImpACT Award winners. While we look at the achievements of Coetzee, Gordimer, Gwangwa, Msomi and Verster, as well as much-admired visual artists Diane

Diane Victor: Drawing in smoke ACT Lifetime Achievers 2012

Victor and Paul Emmanuel, we can also look forward to the era-defining work this younger crop of artists are creating and are destined to create in the future. In fact this holiday the Absa Gallery hosts a fascinating exhibition entitled Re-Sampled, which juxtaposes renowned historic artworks against the modern interpretations thereof, as conceptualised by some of South Africa’s most The Classicfeel team would like to thank all our supporters for their continued belief

SA R32,95 - August 2012

promising young artists.

Exclusive! J.M. Coetzee Interview

in our publication. Looking at the planned line-up for next year we will have a great arts,


culture and lifestyle year ahead of us. Wishing you all a very happy, peaceful and restful Festive Season.





Lore Watterson;

Millicent Myakayaka;

Debbi Gregory;



Published by DeskLinkTM Media

Chris Watterson;


PO Box 3670, Randburg, 2125


Kgosi Khetsi;

Tel: 011 787 0252 Fax: 011 787 8204

Warren Holden;



LoveBurd |

Natalie Watermeyer;


PRINTING ColorPress (Pty) Ltd

Debbi Gregory;

© Copyright DeskLinkTM Media

RECEPTION Angelina Ramano

The opinions in this publication do not necessarily

DISPATCH Khumbulani Dube

represent the views of the publisher.

6 / classic feel

Shane Cooper (Jazz), Fana Tshabalala (Dance), Prince Lamla (Theatre), Mary Sibande (Visual Art), Anthea Moys (Performance Art), Runette Botha (Music)

Congratulations to the winners of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award 2013 For 29 years we have sponsored the Young Artist Awards at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. Join us in congratulating the winners of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award 2013. For more information visit

Moving Forward


Authorised financial services and registered credit provider (NCRCP15) The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited (Reg. No. 1962/000738/06). SBSA 128210-10/12 Moving Forward is a trademark of The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited


By now Cape Classic has become an institution of the Western Cape’s arts

NEO MOTSATSE CONCERT 2012 The 12-year-old violinist Neo Motsatse will hold her third annual concert on 9 December at the Yamaha Theatre in Sandton. Accompanied by

and culture scene. Each year between February and March, a select group of international musicians come together to perform in a series of chamber and solo performances in some of the most elegant settings the region has to offer. For the 2013 series, the programme features a focus on the bassoon, and

esteemed guest musicians, including Miroslav Chakaryan on violin,

acclaimed 20-year-old German bassoonist Christian Kuhnert has thus accepted

Diane Coutts: on piano, Peter Jaspan on oboe (and also conducting the

the invitation to showcase his instrument and its repertoire at the event. Kuhnert

performance), Sergio Zampolli on accordion, Jemma Zoe Thorburn on violin

was enrolled in a course for exceptionally talented students at Würzburg

and Teboho Motsatse on piano, the young soloist will perform a selection

Conservatory when he was only six years old. Since then he has received

of classical and contemporary pieces, some of which have been specially

numerous accolades and prizes. Invitations to festivals led him to appear both

arranged by leading local and international composers.

as a soloist and chamber ensemble member at many national and international

To reserve a ticket, call Fezeka Motsatse on 0827842585 or via email on

festivals such as the Rheingau Musikfestival, the Schwarzwald Musikfestival, Wolfsburg Movimentos Festival, the Schwetzinger Musikfestspiele, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele and the Chamber Music Festival in Elmau Castle. He has also performed with many famous orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, the


Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Aachen theatre, the Meininger Hofkapelle as well as being a permanent member of the ‘Ensemble 8’ and the‘Trio d´anches’

The latest novel by Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behaviour, has just been released. This new

in Hamburg. When he was only 17, Kuhnert was appointed Professor for the

work by the bestselling novelist tackles the issue of climate change in the confines of a small

Bassoon at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre.

rural community that is suddenly exposed to the wider world through a devastating, mysterious ‘cautionary miracle’.

Together with Kuhnert, several other distinguished chamber music performers can be seen and heard at Cape Classic 2013: violinist Elena Graf and pianist Isabel von Bernstorff, as well as Christiane Dimigen (oboe, English

Classicfeel readers stand a chance to win

horn), Rupert Wachter (clarinet), Silke Schurack (horn), Katharina Wildermuth

copies of Flight Behaviour.

(violin), Thomas Rössel (viola) and Johann Bohorquez (violoncello). The

To enter, send your name, contact details

repertoire covered by this ensemble will include works by Brahms, Beethoven,

and the answer to the question below to

Stamitz, Schumann, Mozart, Glinka and the lesser known Czech composer

Classicfeel / Barbara Kingsolver giveaway,

Anton Reicha, a contemporary of Beethoven’s who is often credited as the

PO Box 3670, Randburg 2125,

father of the wind quartet. The concert venues are Blaauwklippen Vineyards,

fax: 0860 515 9763,

the Sasol Art Museum, Lanzerac Estate, the residences of the Italian and

or email:

German ambassadors to South Africa, the Morgenster Wine Estate, Allée

Please note that only one entry

Bleue Wine Estate, the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre and Babylonstoren. Tickets

per person will be accepted.

at several of the concerts are very limited. For further information, visit www.

Closing date: 31 January 2013. or send an email to

Question: What contentious contemporary issue does Flight Behaviour address?

Double Orchestra Anniversaries As part of its 125th anniversary, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, rated by Gramophone magazine as the World’s Greatest Orchestra, will visit South Africa in March 2013 to celebrate the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra’s 30th anniversary. The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic is widely considered to

Mr Jan Raes, Chief Executive of the Royal

be the finest orchestra on the continent. The Orchestra

Concertgebouw Orchestra said: “We are delighted to be

was established in 1983 and its 30th anniversary marks a

hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra

significant milestone in the South African arts world. It has

in South Africa, on our World Tour in celebration of 125

earned a reputation for excellence and innovation, with a

years. How appropriate that the Royal Concertgebouw

firm commitment to public duty and community involvement.

Orchestra, which has a reputation for achieving and delivering the highest level of quality at every

As Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Mr Bongani

performance, should be partnering with an orchestra

Tembe said: “It is a privilege to host undoubtedly one

whose quest for excellence and innovation has enabled

of the best orchestras in the world on their first tour of

them to be the first orchestra in South Africa, post 1994,

South Africa. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra will

to distinguish themselves with a 30-year record. For the

perform in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria, whilst also

RCO, every performance is another opportunity to let

participating in educational/community related work

listeners hear the unhearable, feel the unfeelable and

in Soweto and Umlazi township. This is sure to have a

touch the untouchable. That’s when magic happens and

lasting impact on all who come into contact with this

a concert becomes a truly unforgettable experience. We

exceptional group of musicians.”

look forward to delighting South African music lovers.”

Bookings can be made for the RCO concerts through Computicket as follows: 9th March, 8 pm: Artscape Opera House, Cape Town 10th March, 7.30 pm: City Hall, Durban 12th March, 7.30 pm: State Theatre, Pretoria


9 / classic feel


Ticket prices range from R250.00 to R750.00 at all three venues.

CASTA DIVA Boutique Hotel

A unique venue, nestled high on the Northern slopes of the Magaliesberg amidst peaceful and tranquil surroundings that offer stunning views and an unsurpassed setting of natural beauty and elegance in an oasis of peace and serenity in the city. Marcel Meyer as Chicken in Kingdom of Earth

CHARISMA Restaurant Guaranteed the true Decadent, Divine, Delightful fine dining experience, the perfect fusion between the magic of Casta Diva, fresh ingredients, a dedicated culinary team and the friendliest service of South Africa.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS’ KINGDOM OF EARTH AT ARTSCAPE A new production of Tennessee Williams’ rarely-seen masterpiece, Kingdom of Earth, by Abrahamse & Meyer Productions, makes its South African première at Artscape this December after a highly successful debut in the USA at this year’s Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival. The production played to standing ovations and was lauded by Williams aficionados and scholars as one of the finest productions to date of this savage, sexy and darkly-comic play. Terminally ill Lot returns to the Mississippi Delta with his new bride, Myrtle to reclaim his ancestral home from his brooding, feral half-brother, Chicken. As rain falls and the river threatens to flood the land, these three lost souls engage in a brutal power play for the possession of all they’ve ever known. Directed by the acclaimed Fred Abrahamse, who also designed the sets and lighting, the play stars multiple award-winning actress, Anthea Thompson as Myrtle, Marcel Meyer as Chicken and Nicholas Dallas as Lot. The production features an original score by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder. An American critic said of the production, ‘Who would imagine it

Functions Conferences

would take a troupe from South Africa to bring Williams’ words to life, but that’s exactly what happened in a nuanced but forceful revival of


Kingdom of Earth. There was so much energy on that stage, so many great


Williams lines. All three actors were perfect in their roles. The staging was

Theatre Art Gallery

impeccable, everything worked. The actors earned two curtain calls and standing ovations.’ Kingdom of Earth runs from 13-30 December at Artscape. Tickets are available at Computicket. For more information contact Marcel Meyer at

67 Albatros Street, Ninapark, Pretoria Tel: 012 542 4449 | Fax: 012 542 3085 | or 072 910 5785.

Next Music is proud to be South Africa’s leading label and distributor of the best in Classics!

Naxos Music Library Naxos Music Library is the most comprehensive and affordable collection of classical music available online. Over 1 million tracks and more than 76,000 CD’s. Complete Naxos and Marco Polo catalogues plus selected titles from over 500 other leading labels. Over 14,000 composers represented. New releases are added monthly. New additions are added GDLO\6HWXSLVVLPSOHDQGHDV\ZLWKÁH[LEOHDFFHVVFRQWUROIRUSULYDWHDQGHGXFDWLRQDOLQVWLWXWLRQVXEVFULSWLRQV6\VWHP requirements are minimal and access is also available with iPhone or iPod Touch.

available now at all good music stores and online


BTE VO1SS CHRISTMAS CONCERT BTE VO1SS’ annual Christmas Concert has established itself as one of the definitive concerts in this genre, and has become a tradition in Pretoria. Building on the successful formula of the previous years, BTE VO1SS, previously known as the Black Tie Ensemble, will present a Christmas Concert in Johannesburg, proudly sponsored by MTN. The concert will be held on 30 November at 20:00 in the Linder Auditorium, Parktown. BTE VO1SS requests all patrons attending the Christmas Concert to bring along a wrapped gift for children from the age of 3 to 18, between the value of R50.00 and R100.00 and to please indicate on the gift if it is for a girl or a boy. These gifts will be donated to the Reach for a Dream Foundation. This heart-warming concert by members of BTE VO1SS and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) will include much-loved traditional carols and sacred songs for the festive season. The concert will be conducted by Brandon Phillips from Cape Town. The programme will cater for the whole family and includes: ‘Joy to the World’, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, Little Drummer Boy, White and Christmas, to name but a few. This concert will be followed by two Carols by Candlelight

GOETHE-INSTITUT PRESENTS THE SPINES PERFORMANCE FESTIVAL The three-day performance festival SPINES, presented at the end of

performances, first at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in Roodepoort

November and the beginning of December 2012, invited the audience to

on 1 December and then at the Pretoria Botanical Gardens on 8 December.

move on the city’s urban routes using minibus taxis, their own feet, the

Book at Computicket outlets or phone (011) 340 8000 or online at www.

Gautrain, and bicycles. Festival visitors saw, heard and felt performances in For block bookings, please contact Computicket on (011)

different neighbourhoods from Sandton to Soweto. As the third section of

340 8000 or online at

the Goethe-Institut’s New Imaginaries series, SPINES seized on both public and private transport lines in Johannesburg, connected them and made the sociocultural and architectural diversity of the city the backdrop of an investigation into the city’s transport and life lines – its spine. SPINES was divided into to main routes that connect at Park Station: United African Utopias and the In House Project. United African Utopias aimed at altering, inverting and transforming perspectives. It ventured into the future and into people’s dreams of a better world, a better time, a better person – into the dreams that we often seem to forget while swimming in the current of so-called real life. The starting point was the Rent-a-Wreck car rental service in Doornfontein. On foot and by various means of transport, visitors moved through the city to several venues, the utopias. Along the way they encountered performances, sounds, works of art, human beings. The In House Project took contemporary dance and performance art out of the dark auditoriums that are traditionally accepted as theatre venues and brought them back to the centre of people’s living spaces, into their apartments, houses and residential environments in the city or its suburbs – be it in Soweto, Alexandra or in the northern suburbs. Performances were presented in private living areas as well as public spaces to which visitors are being guided along diverse public transport routes. The performance journey challenged participants and the audience to break their routine and habits and experience Johannesburg and its surroundings from other people’s point of view. There were three different tours on three days, starting at Park Station in Johannesburg’s city centre using mini bus taxis and the Gautrain.

12 / classic feel

Arisa Voges, Director of Music, UNISA & Convenor of the Muziq 2012’s judges with Muziq winners 2012, US Percussion Duo - Dylan Tabisher and Cherilee Adams

Muziqanto finalists, Japie Gouws(CEO: ATKV) , Brett Pyper( Head: KKNK ), adjudicators (Lize Coetzer, Abel Moeng en Hanli Stapela) & Mimi Coertse.

ATKV Music Competitions 2012 In August and September 2012, the ATKV’s annual Muziqanto and Muziq competitions were held. Muziqanto, the singing competition, was won by Capetonian soprano, Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi, while the Muzig competition for instrumentalists was won by the US Percussion Duo. ATKV-Muziq is one of the most prestigious classical music

ATKV-Muziq originally included a vocal category but since 2011, the

competitions in South Africa. Each year, it invites young musicians between

ATKV has held a separate competition for singers – ATKV-Muziqanto. This

the ages of 15 and 27 from across South Africa to compete for cash prizes

year, at the final concert held in Oudtshoorn on 11 August, 28-year-old

totaling R 106 000. The competition is divided into seven categories –

Cape Town based soprano Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi was crowned overall

namely, piano, strings, organ, brass, woodwind, chamber ensembles and

winner of this prestigious singing competition, taking home prize money

an ‘other instruments’ category. This year, 35 instrumentalists took part in

totaling R30 000.

the final rounds. Ultimately, at the final gala event, held in Stellenbosch on 8 September, it was a percussion duo that took the top prize. Cherilee Adams and Dylan Tabisher started percussion in 2002 at the

Mkhwanazi, a postgraduate student at the University of Cape Town Opera School, was also recently awarded the second prize in the prestigious Hans Gabor Belvedere International singing competition in

Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre with Suzette Brits. They were members

Vienna. From the original 3000 auditions held worldwide, 138 singers were

of the Hugo Lambrechts Percussion Trio in 2006 that was overall winner

selected to compete in the first round of this competition in Vienna, and

at the Stellenbosch Ensemble competition. In 2007 they formed a duet

from the 45 semi-finalists 13 made it into the final round.

and performed as soloists with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and

She comes from a very musical family and both her parents are

Stellenbosch Symphony Orchestra. In the same year they were also

involved in choral music. She has been on the Dean’s Merit list every

members of the US Percussion ensemble that won a category prize at the

year since starting her studies at UCT. Her plan was to study engineering

ATKV-Muziq competition. In 2009 the US Percussion Duo were chosen

at UCT, but changed to opera because singing was too important to

to perform as guest artists at the opening of the Stellenbosch Chamber

her. Hlengiwe studies voice with Hanna van Niekerk and opera under

Music Festival. The Duo received the category prize at the Stellenbosch

the direction of Kamal Khan, Director of the SA College of Music Opera

International Chamber Music Competition in 2010. In 2011 both Cherilee

School. Her first major role was Adina in L’elisir d’amore (Donizetti) in

and Dylan toured America as ad hoc members of the Cape Philharmonic

2009. Since then her roles for the opera school have included Madama

Orchestra, who presented a series of eighteen concerts. At ATKV-Muziq

Cortese (Rossini: Il Viaggio a Reims), Susanna (Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro),

2012, Adams won the ‘other instruments’ category and the duo come

Anne Trulove (Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress), Daria in (Donizetti: Viva la

out on top of the chamber music ensemble category, in addition to being

Mamma) and Konstanze (Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail). At the

named the overall winners. The other category winners were Richard

end of 2012 she will sing Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte (Mozart) and Antonia in

Rheeder (piano), Hentus van Rooyen (organ), Anna van der Merwe (strings),

Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Offenbach).

Ryan Kierman (brass) and Louisa Theart (woodwind).

14 / classic feel


THE GALLERY @ GRANDE PROVENCE PRESENTS I AM AN AFRICAN The seventh annual Angels exhibition at The Gallery @ Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate, Franschhoek, part of Huka Retreats, opens on Sunday, 9 December 2012 at 11h00 and runs until 27 February 2013. In 2006 a group show titled Angels was established by The Gallery at Grande Provence. The title was playfully based on the award winning collection of ‘Angels Tears’ wines that is produced by the Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate. Over the years the exhibition has progressed from an annual festive-season group show with references to angels, to a thought-provoking exhibition that addresses a range of current social and environmental matters. Angels 7 is themed ‘I am an African’. The theme references one of the greatest African speeches ever delivered to visually celebrate our identity, growth, achievements and the beauty of our people, land and cityscapes. However, the exhibition also aims to communicate the critical social and other challenges that currently face our society and environment. All aspects of life in contemporary South Africa will be represented. Some of the contributing artists in this year’s “Angels” exhibition include: Christiaan Diedericks, Eugenie Marais, Strijdom van der Merwe, Mbongeni Buthelezi, Richard Smith, MJ Lourens, Ruhan Janse van Vuuren, Wilma Cruise, Frank van Reenen, Ricky Dyaloyi, Greg Lourens, Katie Barnard Du Toit, Uwe Pfaff, Loni Drager, Mongezi Gum, Neil Visser, Koos de Wet, Sanna Swart, Thalitha Deetlefs, JP Meyer, Marieke Prinsloo, Ingrid Coerlin, George Holloway, Zhann Solomons, Marleen Wolters, Thokozani Mthiyani, Sanna Swart, Erika Prinsloo, Anastasia Sarantino, Janet Botes, Noelene Kleve, Anton Smit, Martin de Kock and Marieke Kruger. The famous speech, ‘I am an African’ by former President Thabo Mbeki was supplied to the artists as inspiration for their work. A selection of angel artworks and distinctive gifts and crafts feature in The Shop at Grande Provence to complement the ‘Angels Tears’ collection that is available in the retail area off the courtyard, behind The Gallery. For more information regarding this years exhibition please contact the curator Carina at +27 (0)21 876 8630 or e-mail

16 / classic feel


ASHRAF JOHAARDIEN :: Head of UJ Arts & Culture :: Photo by Martin Rhodes

DANGEROUS LIAISONS Re-interpreted through dance by choreographer Owen Lonzar to resonate with contemporary social communication media. :: Photo by Jan Potgieter

The first UJ Arts & Culture drama production coincided with the April 13 birthday of K Sello Duiker, the author of the book, The Quiet Violence of Dreams, adapted by Ashraf Johaardien for stage and directed by Alby Michaels. The production used a mix of students, alumni and professionals, an internationally recognised method of developing quality skills in student and amateur actors. The first time I attended the Con Cowan theatre was in 2011 for the Reading Gay festival and I am impressed with the changes in the character of the theatre from a neglected, barely functioning multipurpose venue to the marvellously intimate working theatre with a unique quirky atmosphere. The Reading Gay festival culminated in the 2012 THATSOGAY Festival with Snowman (directed by Renos Spanoudes), Little Poof! Big Bang! (directed by Neels Clasen starring Bruce Little), The Boy who Fell from the Roof (directed by Jade Bowers), and Dalliances (directed by Alby Michaels). The Boy who Fell from the Roof made use of students, alumni and professionals, but the other three were full professional productions, each superbly crafted and impressively executed. Two performances stand out beyond all the others from the THATSOGAY Festival. The first is that of Deirdre Schoeman in Snowman and the second is that of Brenda Devar in The Boy who Fell from the Roof. Also at the Con Cowan Theatre was a production en route to the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, Mary and the Conqueror, written by Juliet Jenkin and directed by Roy Sargeant. On the student front, Forbidden Broadway

also found itself on the Con Cowan stage. Directed by Greg Homann with musical direction by Rowan Bakker and choreography by Clint Lesch, this was predominantly a student production, however it was so slick that it was difficult to believe that this was not a professional cast. UJ Arts & Culture’s presentation of the iconic musical Little Shop of Horrors thoroughly delighted me and was directed and choreographed by Owen Lonzar in its original B grade movie tradition. Matthew Counihan, an alumnus who is now a professional musical actor, first impressed me some years back when he was still a student. If I remember correctly that was in Westside Story in about 2006. UJ, unlike other local universities in Gauteng, has no performing arts department, and all the students are studying in fields other than drama or music. This makes their sterling performances all the more impressive. 2012 saw the inaugural ACT/UJ Conference, a forum for the broad spectrum of the Arts to come together to discuss matters of interest. The theme was “The Art of the Creative Economy” in May 2012; just days after the national debacle of the ‘Presidential Spear’ had broken, giving speakers plenty to say about freedom of expression and the rights of individuals to dignity on both sides of that debate. The ACT/DALRO/Nedbank scholarships competition showcase, one of my favourite annual activities, now in its fourth year, has found a new home at the UJ Arts Centre Theatre, a larger venue than The Globe Theatre,

Gold Reef City, which has been hosting it up until now, allowing more people to see the amazing singing, dancing and acting talents which South Africa produces year after year. The two 2012 scholarships for studying musical theatre at an accredited tertiary academic institution, each worth R105 000 were awarded to Chantal Evans from Gauteng and Amanda Kunene from KwaZulu Natal. The National Arts Festival in Grahamstown is certainly South Africa’s largest and most important platform. For the first time the students from UJ made their appearance on the student programme with two works, Alice Who?, the Owen Lonzar dance work which captured my heart in 2011 and SA Shorts, a series of six ten minute plays. The latter was presented at the UJ Arts Centre Theatre after the festival and was most enjoyable. The final production of the UJ year was Dangerous Liaisons, a fascinating and passionate interpretation of the kinky sex novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos, first published in 1782. Where the book deals with letters written by the two main characters to each other, choreographer Owen Lonzar, re-interpreted that to resonate with contemporary social communication media like Facebook and Twitter. It was clear that everyone in the audience found it to their liking as well. This was evidenced by enthusiastic calls during the standing ovation on opening night. If one listened carefully one would have determined that some of those whoops of delight were emanating from me. Ÿ


CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT :: The Boy who Fell from the Roof, Little Shop of Horrors, Dalliances, Little Poof, Big Bang! and The Quiet Violence of Dreams :: Photos by Jan Potgieter

Classical highlights of the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre Summer Season 2012-2013

Stellenbosch Libertas Choir

Magdalene Minnaar

Franklin Larey



We hereby introduce to you a brand new group of singers: The South African


Sopranos. This exciting group consists out of five opera stars: Jo-Nette le

The year 2013 marks the centenary of the composition of Stravinsky’s Rite

Kay, Lynelle Kenned, Goitsemang Lehobye, Janelle Visagie and Minette Du

of Spring, a work which caused uproar because of its modernity. The duo

Toit- Pearce. They are accompanied by Elna van der Merwe and are directed

of Laura Pauna and James Redfern will perform this exceptional work

by Niël Rademan. Between the seven of them, they have performed for Nelson

here alongside Schubert’s famous Fantasie in F minor, and Ravel’s virtuosic

Mandela, Queen Elizabeth II, King Gustav of Sweden and Queen Marguerite

Rhapsodie Espagnole.

of the Netherlands. The South African Sopranos perform music from operas,

Laura Pauna (Romania | Germany) – Piano, James Redfern – (Great Britain)

operettas and musicals. They also sing popular music from around the world.

– Piano

This is your chance to hear them sing! Sunday 3 March: CAPE CLASSIC Friday 14 December: KELEBOGILE BOIKANYO &CPO

Christian Kunert (bassoon), Christiane Dimigen (oboe, English horn), Rupert

Kelebogile Boikanyo is the Standard Bank Young artists for Music. Over

Wachter (clarinet), Silke Schurack (horn), Isabel von Bernstorff (piano),

the course of a few short years, the 24-year-old soprano has quietly and

Elena Graf (violin), Katharina Wildermuth (violin), Thomas Rössel (viola),

determinedly solidified her position among South Africa’s recent crop of

Johann Bohorquez (violoncello).

brilliant young opera singers. She will be joined by the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Brandon Philips, to showcase her renditions of

Dvorák’s sublime Piano Quintet in A Major features the mighty sounds of a

some favourite opera and operetta areas.

string quartet paired with a grand piano. Throughout, the muscular drama freely intermixes with numerous sections of pure, euphoric beauty with the

Saturday 20 February: CAPE TOWN OPERA

constant interlacing of magical dance music abounding with spontaneity

They have just completed two concert series- one in Oxford, UK and the

and vitality.

other in Melbourne –with some great Verdi and African Choral music accompanied with piano.


Saturday and Sunday 23 &24 Feb: CARMINA BURANA

This production was extremely well received by audiences at the Oude

SOLOISTS: Magdalene Minnaar and Nicholas Nicholidis

Libertas Amphitheatre in 2007 and there have since been constant

CONDUCTOR: Richard Cock

requests for a repeat performance. Once again, Amanda Strydom’s take on

PIANISTS: Francois Du Toit and Franklin Larey

Misa Criolla can be heard at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre.

This gigantic work will be performed by the Symphony Choir of Cape Town and 2 pianos. 20 / classic feel

22 / classic feel

Image © Ulla Montan

... a certain age

J.M. COETZEE John Maxwell ‘J. M.’ Coetzee will be receiving an honorary doctorate this year in December from the University of the Witwatersrand. He is, of course, the recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first writer to be awarded the Booker Prize twice and the holder of many honorary doctorates around the world. He is known as one of the world’s great literary recluses and rarely gives interviews. Yet in the exclusive interview he generously granted Classicfeel, Lore Watterson was given answers that provided considerable insight into some of his thoughts and feelings, presented with the same precision and economy that readers may recognise from his published work. classic feel / 23

‘ I tend to resist invitations to interpret my own fiction. If there were a

three years their letters touched on nearly every subject, from sports

better, clearer, shorter way of saying what the fiction says, then why not

to fatherhood, film festivals to incest, philosophy to politics, from the

scrap the fiction? Elizabeth, Lady C, claims to be writing at the limits of

financial crisis to art, family, marriage, friendship, and love.

language. Would it not be insulting to her if I were diligently to follow

Coetzee was born and grew up in South Africa but later settled in

after her, explaining what she means but is not smart enough to say?’

Adelaide, Australia and in 2006 became an Australian citizen. While still

(J.M. Coetzee’s response to David Attwell, Dagens Nyheter)

keeping strong ties with his country of birth he is and always has been a truly international writer whose work is celebrated in many different

It was with some trepidation that I prepared for the interview with J.M.

languages. His books and the adaptations of his works – plays, opera

Coetzee, keeping always in mind the above quotation and his well-known

and films – resonate with people around the globe, people who find that

reluctance to speak about his own work. Equally, since I also have to

they identify with his words. To evoke such a feeling of identification and

admit to some family ties between my husband and him, questions about

relevance while also offering new insights, something transcendent, is

his personal life had to be kept out of this interview. But there were

what makes a great writer.

still so many questions I wanted to ask him for Classicfeel and I must have done something right because, as it turned out, his answers, in the distinctive Coetzee style, gave interesting insights into aspects of his life

Lore Watterson: The JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice – the first

and career that had not been quoted anywhere before – as far as I know.

of its kind in Australia – was opened earlier this year at the University

But some of these answers sent me back to research further, to

of Adelaide. You lent your name to ‘A New Centre Where Inspiration,

‘complete the list’ as he said, to discover more about his involvement

Ideas and Invention Come Together’. Could you elaborate on how you got

with Nicholas Lens and the adaptation of Slow Man for example. The

involved and what this Centre is all about?

opera was met with great international interest and praise. Hopefully the work will travel and according to the official website of Lens, Slow

J.M. Coetzee: I don’t actually have much to do with the JM Coetzee

Man is going to be followed by further collaborations between these two

Centre for Creative Practice. The Centre is the brainchild of Brian Castro,

artists who seem to have greatly enjoyed this joint work.

the novelist who runs the creative writing programme at the University

Coetzee’s reaction to the question about Disgrace and the post-

of Adelaide, and the musicologist Mark Carroll. It offers a home, or

apartheid South African government reminded me that he had been

at least a shelter, to creative writers and composers, and encourages

awarded the Order of Mapungubwe (gold class) by the South African

collaborations across generic boundaries. My name is attached to the

government in 2005 for his ‘exceptional contribution in the field of

Centre because I have become some sort of benign cultural presence in

literature and for putting South Africa on the world stage’. The South

the city of Adelaide and more specifically on the University of Adelaide

African Mint featured Coetzee in 2011 on the Protea Coin series, which

campus. I don’t do any teaching in the Centre – I retired from teaching

is dedicated to paying tribute to the great people, places and symbols of

nearly a decade ago.

South Africa. In fact The Deputy General Manager at SA Mint, Natanya van Niekerk went to Adelaide to let Coetzee strike the first coin of the series himself in the presence of the South African High Commissioner.

LW: Although Classicfeel, like the J.M. Coetzee Centre, has cross-

Being very intrigued by his current work and new book, The

disciplinary interests in all spheres of arts and culture, music is one

Childhood of Jesus, I searched thoroughly but there is still a tightly

of our particular focus areas. In Summertime you talk about the two

controlled embargo on information and this time there are no leaks on

‘schools of vocal music at war with each other in the house: an Italian

the net – or none that I could find.

school, his father’s, manifested by Tebaldi and Tito Gobbi in full cry; and

But Faber and Faber gave me special advanced information about an exciting book they are publishing next year, Here and Now, a collection

a German school, his own, founded on Bach’. How important is music in your life these days and what school of music, if any, do you follow?

of letters between Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee. Although Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee had been reading each other’s books for years, the two

JMC: Music has always been important to me, and my allegiance to

writers did not meet until February 2008. Not long after, Auster received

JS Bach has never wavered. I think that the body of Bach’s music is

a letter from Coetzee, suggesting they begin exchanging letters on a

the greatest gift – unsolicited and unmerited – that mankind has ever

regular basis and, ‘God willing, strike sparks off each other.’ Here and

received. (I speak, of course, as someone nurtured in the Western

Now is the result of that proposal: an epistolary dialogue between two

tradition.) But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy Italian opera too.

great writers who became great friends. According to the publisher, over

LW: Your writing has been adapted into other art forms. Phillip Glass

24 / classic feel

Extract from JM Coetzee’s Summertime published by Harvill Secker

So when Corporal Coetzee returned to South Africa at the end of hostilities,

it was with a newfound passion for opera. “La donna è mobile,” he would sing in the bath. “Figaro here, Figaro there,” he would sing, “Figaro, Figaro, Feeegaro! ” He went out and bought a gramophone, their family’s first; over and

“Don’t you recognize the voice?” he asked. His father shook his head. “It’s Renata Tebaldi. Don’t you remember how you used to love Tebaldi in the old days?”

over again he would play a 78 rpm recording of Caruso singing “Your tiny hand is

He refused to accept defeat. He continued to hope that one day, when

frozen.” When long-playing records were invented he acquired a new and better

he was out of the house, his father would put the new, unblemished record

gramophone, together with an album of Renata Tebaldi singing well-loved arias.

on the player, pour himself a glass of brandy, sit down in his armchair,

Thus in his adolescent years there were two schools of vocal music at

and allow himself to be transported to Rome or Milan or wherever it was

war with each other in the house: an Italian school, his father’s, manifested by

that as a young man his ears were first opened to the sensual beauties

Tebaldi and Tito Gobbi in full cry; and a German school, his own, founded on

of the human voice. He wanted his father’s breast to swell with that old

Bach. All of Sunday afternoon the household would drown in choruses from the

joy; if only for an hour, he wanted him to relive that lost youth, forget his

B-Minor Mass; then in the evenings, with Bach at last silenced, his father would

present crushed and humiliated existence. Above all he wanted his father

pour himself a glass of brandy, put on Renata Tebaldi, and sit down to listen to

to forgive him. Forgive me! he wanted to say to his father. Forgive you?

real melodies, real singing.

Heavens, what is there to forgive? he wanted to hear his father reply.

For its sensuality and decadence – that was how, at the age of sixteen, he

Upon which, if he could summon up the courage, he would at last make

saw it – he resolved he would forever hate and despise Italian opera. That he

full confession: Forgive me for deliberately and with malice aforethought

might despise it simply because his father loved it, that he would have resolved

scratching your Tebaldi record. And for more besides, so much more that

to hate and despise anything in the world that his father loved, was a possibility

the recital would take all day. For countless acts of meanness. For the

he would not admit.

meanness of heart in which those acts originated. In sum, for all I have

One day, while no one was around, he took the Tebaldi record out of its sleeve and with a razor blade drew a deep score across its surface. On Sunday evening his father put on the record. With each revolution the

done since the day I was born, and with such success, to make your life a misery. But no, there was no indication, not the faintest, that during his

needle jumped. “Who has done this?” he demanded. But no one, it seemed, had

absences from the house Tebaldi was being set free to sing. Tebaldi had,

done it. It had just happened.

it seemed, lost her charms; or else his father was playing a terrible game

Thus ended Tebaldi; now Bach could reign unchallenged.

with him. My life a misery? What makes you think my life has been a

For that mean and petty deed of his he has for the past twenty years felt the

misery? What makes you think you have ever had it in your power to make

on the contrary grown keener. One of his first actions when he returned to the

my life a misery? Intermittently he plays the Tebaldi record for himself; and as he listens

bitterest remorse, remorse that has not receded with the passage of time but country was to scour the music shops for the Tebaldi record. Though he failed

the beginnings of some kind of transformation seem to take place inside

to find it, he did come upon a compilation in which she sang some of the same

him. As it must have been with his father in 1944, his heart too begins to

arias. He brought it home and played it through from beginning to end, hoping to

throb in time with Mimi’s. As the great rising arc of her voice must have

lure his father out of his room as a hunter might lure a bird with his pipes. But

called out his father’s soul, so it now calls out his soul too, urging it to join

his father showed no interest.

hers in passionate, soaring flight.

with kind permission from the publishers Harvill Secker

classic feel / 25

adapted Waiting for the Barbarians into an opera in 2005, and in August

LW: It was announced in 2010 that, ‘The Harry Ransom Centre, a

2012, the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town presented Alexandre Marine’s

humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas

stage adaptation of the novel, which is now set to travel to Montreal’s

at Austin, has acquired the archive of Nobel Prize-winning writer, and

Segal Theatre in January and February 2013. Motion picture adaptations

University of Texas at Austin alumnus J. M. Coetzee. Spanning more

have been made from In the Heart of the Country and Disgrace. How do

than 50 years, the archive traces the author’s life and career from 1956

you feel about these interpretations of your work? What are your thoughts

through the present.’ Why the University of Texas at Austin? There must

when you see a J.M. Coetzee book assume another life as a Philip Glass

have been many research centres that competed for this honour. Could

opera, morphing your creations from one art form to another? How much

you talk about your time at this university and why you agreed to have

weight do you give to these interpretations? Another interesting aspect is

your archive there?

of course how you protect your intellectual property in these cases. JMC: The Harry Ransom Centre in Austin holds one of the largest JMC: Your list is not complete. Earlier this year an opera by the Belgian

collections in the world of literary manuscripts from the 20th century. I

composer Nicholas Lens, based on my novel Slow Man, received its first

can’t think of a better home for my own papers. Add to that the fact that I

performance in Poland.

am a graduate of the University of Texas, where the Centre is housed, and

I like and admire Lens’s opera. As for Glass’s Waiting for the

have on occasion visited the University to teach or give readings. Image © Rodger Bosch, Courtesy of the Baxter Theatre

Image © Rodger Bosch, Courtesy of the Baxter Theatre

Chuma Sopotela and Grant Swanby in Waiting for the Barbarians at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town

Barbarians, I haven’t actually seen it on stage, but I have heard the music and find it very powerful. I wrote the libretto for Lens. Glass used Christopher Hampton, who has much more experience writing for the stage than I have.

Chuma Sopotela in Waiting for the Barbarians at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town

Back in the 1960s the University of Texas offered me a modest job and a place in its graduate programme, at a time when I was a nonentity, a young man with an undistinguished academic record from a university in Africa. It should not be surprising that I feel I owe it a debt.

I don’t feel particularly possessive about my books. Once they are released into the world, people must make of them what they will. The phrase ‘intellectual property’ makes me uneasy. I don’t regard my books

LW:: What does your archive consist of and where was it kept before it

as my property in any intellectual sense. However, to the extent that

found a home in Austin? Who collected it all and did other universities

copyright law prevents strangers from pirating my books and making

you have been associated with contribute to this archive? Did your

money out of them, I am in favour of copyright law.

publishers contribute? It used to be that actual letters would be kept for posterity but now, in the age of e-mail correspondence, what would be

26 / classic feel

archived as correspondence, for example? Will the archive be available to scholars for research? Who ultimately decides what is in the archive?

top class – that is just a fact of academic life today. Yes, I am sometimes contacted by students who are working on me. I make it clear to them that I don’t comment on my own work.

JMC: My so-called archive consists of notes for, and drafts of, my various books; also as much of my correspondence, professional and personal, as I have preserved. Some of this material used to be held by the Houghton

LW: Under the previous South African government a great part of your

Library at Harvard University; but it has now been passed over to the

writing was subject to censorship. Then later, Disgrace drew heavy criticism

Ransom Centre.

from the post-apartheid government. As we in South Africa are currently

Of course the large-scale shift from paper to electronic

debating The Protection of Information Bill and the proposed Media Appeals

correspondence has had huge consequences for institutions like the

Tribunal, which has caused controversy both domestically and abroad, would

Ransom Centre. But the Centre is moving with the times and has a

you share what it meant for you to write and live with censorship?

very efficient staff of specialists in new media. Much of my archive is open to bona-fide researchers. Some material of a more personal nature is restricted – that decision was

JMC Let us be clear about censorship in the old South Africa. It was not

mine and is of course supported by the Centre.

the case that specific writers were singled out for scrutiny. In theory, Image © Tabaran Company

Image © Tabaran Company

Slow Man - Nicholas Lens and John M. Coetzee

A detail for the poster advertising the opera Slow Man.

LW: For your PhD dissertation in 1969 you studied the early work of Samuel

every book published in the country, and every imported book, had to

Beckett, who at that time was about the same age as you are now. He was

pass under the censor’s eye. I detested the system then, as I detest

awarded the Nobel Prize the same year you graduated. You have always

every system of censorship now, not only for the individual bans that

been involved with students in one way or another and today there must be

the censors impose but for the chilling effect they have on writers and

many students who are writing dissertations about your work, students who

(particularly) publishers.

are as fascinated with the fiction of J.M. Coetzee as you were with the work

As for Disgrace, published in 1999, it would be going too far to say

of Samuel Beckett. How do you feel about this? Do they contact you, do they

that the book drew criticism from the government. Certain persons within

ask for guidance – and how do you respond to them?

the government didn’t like the book, and said so. But the government did nothing to impede the distribution of the book. Nor has it made me

JMC: I don’t regard myself as in the same class as Beckett. There are plenty of writers who get to be studied and written about without being

persona non grata in South Africa – far from it. The recent ANC-sponsored legislation, meant to make life difficult

classic feel / 27

Image © Ulla Montan

for journalists, investigative journalists in particular, is clearly the work of an administration which has been hugely embarrassed by scandals and responds by threatening vengeance on the messenger.

LW: Since Classicfeel is on the review list of South African publishing houses we cannot fail to notice how often you are asked to comment on a particular book, or collections of South African essays or short stories. Do you keep close links with the literary world of South Africa? Do you receive similar invitations from Australian authors and publishing houses? JMC I am asked to provide publicity for writers – particularly young writers – from all over the place, not just South Africa or Australia. Such is the fate of anyone whose name is more or less prominent in the world of letters. I certainly try to keep up with developments in South African writing, but, living so far away, I would be foolish to claim I am up to the minute.

LW:: You will be coming to Johannesburg in December to receive an honorary degree from the University of the Witwatersrand and have been asked to address the graduates. What sort of ‘words of wisdom’ are you going to give them? How different is the world today for these young people from the way it was for you when you first graduated from the University of Cape Town? JMC: Once you reach a certain age you can easily fall into the trap of lamenting the way the world is going and generally becoming an old bore. I do my best not to fall into that trap, whatever my private opinions may be. The world is and isn’t a different place from what it was in the 1950s. An interview with Classicfeel isn’t the best place to expand on that theme. LW: Considering your busy schedule, involving a fair amount of lecturing, traveling and giving readings of your work, how much time do you manage to find for creative writing these days? What can your readers expect next from you? The word is that The Childhood of Jesus is due for publication in March 2013. Can you tell us a little about that? JMC: For some 35 years I held down an academic job, meeting classes, advising students, reading essays, marking exams, attending meetings, doing research, producing academic articles, while at the same time writing fiction in my spare time. Interrupting my writing to give the occasional reading or talk, nowadays, is child’s-play compared with the old routine. The Childhood of Jesus is due out in March 2013. It is a work of fiction; I won’t say more than that. Left: J.M. Coetzee, 2003 in Sweden while receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature. Right: J. M. Coetzee by Diane Victor – one of her series of smoke portraits of important South Africans lost to the ‘diaspora of moving on and migration’

28 / classic feel

Image Š Diane Victor, Courtesy of Goodman Gallery

classic feel / 29

Diane Victor, smoke drawing on glass of a goat, displayed in an abandoned abattoir

A Prodigious Flowering of Rage In his book Francisco Goya: A Life, Evan Connell writes that Goya ‘kept no journal of his thoughts but he registered a prodigious flowering of rage’. Easily one of South Africa’s most talented and disturbing artists, Diane Victor’s rage, distress, and dark humour has produced images every bit as compelling as the legendary Spaniard’s.


iane Victor’s work allows the viewer a kind of aesthetic

series, which she references in the title of her own Disasters of Peace,

pleasure that many artists nowadays either can’t, or won’t,

an ongoing series of etchings begun in the early 2000s, examining the

provide: that of seeing something drawn with consummate

failures and atrocities that mark the cracks in society following the end of

skill. She draws like an angel, albeit one stuck in hell. And

apartheid – a period that heralded so much change for the better. Victor

therein lies the rub: just as you’re drawn in by her sheer

speaks softly and very fast, except when relating the horrors that have

virtuosity, you are pulled up short by her subject matter, and more than

fuelled her image-making; then she slows down, carefully enunciating

that, the inherently disturbing quality that pervades so much of her work.

each word. She wants to communicate the full dreadful impact of what she

‘I’ve learnt through experience, that producing an image that’s too aggressive, too confrontational, loses you your audience,’ she says.

is saying; the same principle drives much of her work. ‘I get incredibly upset at things happening in our country, and the

‘Because what they do is they go, “Ag, sies!”, and they turn around and

injustices that happen in a country that has everything going for it, so

walk out. As opposed to producing an image that’s perhaps more – slightly

amazingly,’ she says. ‘The Disasters of Peace series, [was initially] based

more aesthetically pleasing, and you can pull people in. It’s like “oh, that’s

on an incident I read in the newspaper about that woman who had been

interesting, it’s so beautifully drawn... oh. Oh my God” – but by then you’ve

abducted for three days down in Bertrams, and then the guy had raped

had a chance to communicate with them, because the visual has pulled

her and whatever – as if this was part of the norm – and then had used a

them in.’

clothing line to burn off her nose and mouth. He’d just defaced her. And

Fuelled by rage and disgust, Victor’s critique of society is in the tradition of works such as Picasso’s Guernica and Goya’s Disasters of War

30 / classic feel

it got headlines – as it should, I suppose – for one or two days, and then something else had happened... I don’t have a very good editing button

classic feel / 31

Diane Victor, General Mayhem, etching, from the Disasters of Peace series

inside my head; I don’t have a very good ability to close things down and

something that’s similar to the bone structure of the person [I’m] drawing.

switch them off. I had to produce an image, some kind of – not a ghastly

And then it’s basically just muscle memory – a certain way that you move

record, not a drawing of – one doesn’t want to visualise the actions. But

your arm gives you a certain mark. Because I’ve now done this for nearly

just some kind of document that speaks of an iron as a defacing device....

ten years, I’ve built up a kind of range of working; different kinds of candles

But at the same time, I’m not pessimistically negative. There’s a very dark

give you different quality of smoke... different brands give you different

sense of humour that comes through in much of the work that I’m making,

coloured smoke, and the wick length actually makes a difference as well’.

in that humour is the survival habit it is.’ Victor’s smoke drawings, while using a medium that would be

Victor began her smoke drawings with a series of portraits of people infected with HIV/AIDS, shown during a Berlin exchange and later at Michael

poetically apt for an image born of rage, instead come from a softer, sadder

Stevenson in Cape Town. She then moved on to portray missing children;

impetus, one concerned with loss, vulnerability and fragility: ‘catching

‘the recent dead’, for which she gathered images from newspapers and the

ghosts in smoke’, she calls it. Her experimentation with smoke brought

friends and family of victims, finally producing ‘this sort of memorial space,

many challenges: ‘It’s quite a difficult medium initially, you tend to set

which could have just been ongoing, of these little ghosts in smoke’; portraits

your pages on fire. If you stop – and, because I’m a bit of a control freak,

of important South Africans lost to the ‘diaspora of moving on and migration

I’m an etcher and I tend to slow down – they do ignite. So it’s a very good

- Donny Gordon, JM Coetzee... I looked at people that I felt our country had

discipline in that it forces you to move on promptly.’

diminished through them moving’, and others. Working with a master printer

Over the ten years during which she has experimented with smoke,

to find a way to transfer her smoke drawings to print lead her to try smoke

Victor has learnt to work upside down (‘which I must admit really affects

drawing on glass, with interesting results, which she employed to great

your judgement’), relying heavily on ‘muscle memory’, as she is unable to

effect as festival artist for Innibos. There she used an abandoned abattoir

see much of what she is doing. She begins, she says, with a light pencil

as a venue in which to display smoke drawings on glass of the animals that

drawing to indicate the proportions, subsequently erasing this to leave

would once have been slaughtered there.

‘just the ghost of eyes, nose, mouth and roughly a head structure – I get

32 / classic feel

‘I’ve never been to a working abattoir, it’s perhaps something that we

Diane Victor, Human Enclosure, etching, from the Disasters of Peace series

should all do, but I never have... for the kind of killing that occurred in it,

The most challenging of these is an as yet unfinished glass altarpiece

it disturbed me that it was such a little, discrete building. It had stopped

entitled No Country for Old Women, which she intended to show at last

being used perhaps five or six years earlier, so it was clean, apart from

year’s Burning the Candle at Both Ends at the University of Johannesburg.

the fact that the steel fittings and the rotating chains and the hooks were

Primarily due to its size and weight, creating No Country has been

still there. But the windows were broken, and there was rubble in it, and

a ‘technical nightmare’, which could not be resolved in time for the

the paint had peeled off the walls... The smoke drawings on glass, in that

exhibition. Instead, it will be debuted at next year’s Absa KKNK festival.

space... there was no need for a framing device, so large sheets of glass

‘The initial inspiration for it was my little aunt,’ says Victor. ‘I had this tiny

hanging in a rather busy abandoned abattoir space were almost invisible.

little aunt, she took me at my shoulder [Victor herself is quite small], she

They just hung... As you moved, the smoke drawings appeared and

was 82. And this tiny little woman, who worked for the church – someone

disappeared. Really, it was for me one of the most poignant shows that

broke into her house one day, and beat her up, and killed her, and buried

I’ve produced.’

her in her vegetable garden. That made me so angry.’

As Victor puts it, ‘I often produce work that doesn’t make people happy,

‘A lot of my work is driven by anger; it’s my attempt to deal with

or it angers them’. Despite this, taking her work out of the safety of the

issues. I wanted to make an altarpiece... looking at women in society,

gallery into the fraught space of the abattoir inspired more intense reactions

women who are ostracised or damaged or... the abuse of female children

in her audience than usual. ‘I think people were really quite disturbed by

and the limited job [opportunities for women].’

the pictures. I attempted to make them very beautiful, very poignant, just

The need to keep on pushing her own technical capabilities eventually

because what I was doing was really quite disturbing, I was going round

lead Victor to begin drawing with the ground-up ash of burnt books. For

abattoirs and butcheries, and asking if they could keep the heads for me so

Burning the Candle at Both Ends, half of the exhibited works were created

that I could photograph them … But they were so sad; they produced these

in smoke and other half in ash, allowing Victor to achieve the kind of tight

very sad, poignant severed heads, that floated there. And it was based on

detail that is impossible with smoke.

that, that I’ve started doing more and more work in smoke on glass.’

Victor is currently working on a ‘medical suite’, dealing with

classic feel / 33

Diane Victor Waste Accumulation Agents, etching, from the Disasters of Peace series

‘the craziness of health care which should deal with someone who’s

being at Wits in the 80s, that sense of critical thinking – that positions

an emergency case but, if they don’t have the right card in their

of power are there to be looked at critically, looking critically at one’s

pocket, sends them on down the hall’, as well as a series using the

society, and being interested in damaged societies – no matter where I’d

image of a crocodile as a metaphor for fear: ‘this woman who lives

be, I would start immediately looking at the cracks. Which is what I do,

on the crocodile; she keeps her finger across her lips – “let sleeping

whether it’s in the States, or in Europe; I start looking at the damaged parts

crocs lie”. Keep your fears dormant, keep them quiet... she rides the

of their psyches, and how they camouflage them over, and how carefully

crocodile at one point, and at another point she dances with it or

governments attempt to make things look wonderful on the outside, with

carries it. So it’s looking at fear and how one negotiates one’s own

the corruption underneath.’

personal fears’. The crocodile is reminiscent of her recent Birth of Nation series, in which she replaced the she-wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus with a hyena, a wet nurse for South Africa; these being, as she says ‘problematic animals, they’re not something that you have tattooed on your arm’. Clearly, Victor’s relationship with, and perception of, her native country is far from ideal; one that an increasing number of South Africans may share. And yet she, like many others, is not prepared to leave. ‘The cold, driving engine of what I do comes from here... I’m South African, I can’t be anything else. I think coming up as a student in the 80s,

‘I’m intrinsically just bound to here. I could not imagine living longterm anywhere else.’ CF

Harry’s Newell’s installation, Reverse Missionary, one of the pieces shown at the Rendez-vous 12 exhibition

2012: A Retrospective There has been no shortage of highlights, lowlights and just plain drama taking place in the world of visual arts in the past year. Classicfeel looks back on the year that was 2012.


he past year brought with it plenty to celebrate for

featured 10 curators and 20 cutting edge contemporary artists drawn from

enthusiasts of the visual arts, even apart from the usual

five continents, exhibiting new work in diverse media – everything from

multitude of great exhibitions and festivals, of which there

video and installation to drawing, painting and performance.

have been too many to mention. In June, the France-South Africa Seasons kicked off,

Later in the year, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, in collaboration with l’Institut Français d’Afrique du Sud (IFAS) showed French Connections,

bringing a wealth of visual art from around the world to South African

demonstrating some of the phenomenal collection hidden in JAG’s vaults.

shores, including 20th Century Masters: the Human Figure, which exhibited

Focusing on work created by French artists working in the 19th century, the

work by Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, Degas, and other 20th century giants at

exhibition encompassed work by Impressionists such as Monet, Pissaro,

the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg; and Rendezvous 12, shown at

Morisot, Degas and Sisley, to Post Impressionists such as Gauguin, Cezanne,

Iziko’s South African National Gallery in Cape Town. Rendezvous 12

Matisse, Van Gogh and Picasso – an impressive ensemble and much needed

classic feel / 35

Paul Cézanne’s Card Players fetched the highest price ever paid for an artwork – US$250 million

Edvard Munch’s The Scream, which was sold at auction for a record US$119.9 million.

reminder of the beleaguered gallery’s largely hidden potential.

Kudzanai Chiurai won the 2nd FNB Art Prize. Some 8500 people attended this

Downtown Johannesburg has been graced with the Wits Art Museum. WAM opened in May, the laudable outcome of roughly a decade’s worth

year’s art fair, where sales were up 30% from 2011. Both locally and internationally, art sales continued to make headlines.

of fundraising, planning, design and execution. The architects responsible

The Kingdom of Qatar bought Cézanne’s Card Players for $250million, the

for the overhaul of University Corner won an award for their efforts; and

highest price ever paid for a work of art, while Edvard Munch’s The Scream

a packed opening event allowed audiences their first real glimpse of the

sold for $119.9million, setting a new record for an artwork sold at auction. In

interior, as well as some of the African contemporary and traditional works

London, an auction of Old Masters at Christie’s fetched $133,454,590, setting

housed in the Wits collections.

a new record for the category.

While WAM celebrated its inauguration, several important art

Back at home, Irma Stern’s Arab fetched R17.2million at a Strauss & Co.

institutions came of age. The Bag Factory, the artists’ studio space

auction in Johannesburg, the second-highest price ever paid for a painting

established by Robert Loder and David Koloane in 1991, marked their 21st

sold in South Africa. Works by Robert Hodgins, Alfred Thoba, Ezrom Legae,

anniversary with an exhibition of work created by residents past and present

Johannes Meintjies, Gerard Bhengu and Cecily Sash were among the auction

– a ‘who’s who’ of South African artists including Paul Emmanuel, David

house’s other sales to obtain record prices.

Koloane, Sam Nhlengethwa, Kagiso Pat Mautloa, Diana Hyslop, Kendall Geers, and many more. Artist Proof Studio likewise celebrated its 21st with an exhibition that

At Stephan Welz & Co, several works set new world records, including Peter Clarke’s Ruined Houses at Simon’s Town (R504 000), David Botha’s Winter Street Scene, Paarl (R268 800), Keith Alexander’s Ovoid (R672 000),

filled the Johannesburg Art Gallery with prints by staff, students, and the

Hennie Niemann Jr’s Woman Playing the Mandolin (R246 400) and Lot’s

illustrious artists who have worked with the printmaking studio.

Wife by Diane Victor (R31 360). Paintings by Ruth Everard-Haden and Gladys

They had further reason to celebrate at this year’s Absa l’Atelier Awards,

Mgudlandlu both achieved new South African records.

when APS graduate and assistant curator Bambo Sibiya walked away with

All of which would not have impressed Australian art critic Robert

the Gerhard Sekoto prize. Elrie Joubert won the coveted Absa l’Atelier prize,

Hughes, who once complained that the ‘new job of art is to sit on the wall

thereby securing a six month residency in France.

and get more expensive’. Hughes, ‘the world’s greatest art critic,’ died in

Photographer Mikhael Subotsky added the 2012 Standard Bank Young

August; in his time Hughes celebrated Cezanne’s ‘heroic doubt’, called

Artist Award for the Visual Arts to an already impressive resume, and

American pop artist Jeff Koons the ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ of Andy Warhol, and

consequently debuted Retinal Shift at this year’s Standard Bank National Arts

deemed the presence of a work by Damien Hirst in any collection as a ‘sure

Festival in Grahamstown, a four-channel film installation accompanied by

sign of dullness of taste’.

additional video and photographic material, that examined the ‘practice and mechanics of looking’. In Holland, South African artist Marlene Dumas won the Johannes

Regardless of Hughes’ opinion, a retrospective of Damien Hirst’s work had crowds flocking to London’s Tate Modern between April and September, where his ouevre stirred much debate of the ‘but is it art?’ variety.

Vermeer Prize, the Dutch State prize for the Arts, while back at home, Erik

In October, many were saddened by the death of renowned local

Laubscher was awarded the Molteno medal for his contribution to art in

photographer Alf Khumalo. Although self-taught, Khumalo become one of

the Western Cape. At the annual Johannesburg Art Fair, Zimbabwe born

the country’s best photojournalists, capturing the realities of life under the

36 / classic feel

apartheid regime and beyond; he was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in 2004. Former president Thabo Mbeki described Khumalo as ‘one of South Africa’s eminent historians’.

of these were recovered soon afterwards. The increasing frequency of art theft has prompted specialist art insurer Artinsure to create an Art Theft Register. This details art reported stolen in an

Unsurprisingly, rising art prices brought with them an increase in

attempt to raise awareness of missing pieces, and increase the likelihood of

art crime, both locally and abroad. On 3 January, in Ireland, thieves used

recovery. (To familiarise yourself with stolen artworks, go to www.artinsure.

cellphones to communicate with an expert in selecting pieces, eventually

leaving with several million dollars worth of paintings. Works by Picasso,

Finally, who could forget May’s collision between art and politics, when

Mondrian and Gugliermo Caccia were stolen from the Greek National gallery

Brett Murray’s portrayal of president Zuma with genitals exposed attracted

in the same month. In England, a Henry Moore sculpture was stolen from

the ire of the ANC, and ignited debate around issues of human dignity versus

the artist’s former home, only to be recovered 12 days later, while a Seagram

freedom of expression. The ANC demanded that the painting be removed;

painting by Mark Rothko was vandalised at the Tate Modern. October saw

the Goodman Gallery – in which Murray’s exhibition was held – refused,

the theft of several masterpieces from a museum in Rotterdam in one of the

citing concerns regarding censorship. Further fuel was added to the fire when

largest art heists to date: work by Picasso, Monet, Gauguin, Matisse, and

two men entered the gallery and defaced the painting. City Press displayed

Lucien Freud were among those stolen in a haul estimated to be worth tens

an image of the Spear on its website, which also drew fire from the ANC; the

of millions of pounds.

party went to court to have the painting and all images thereof banned. City

Back at home, more than 20 external hard drives of work belonging to

Press eventually removed the offending image, the ANC later sought to drop

photographer Zanele Muholi were stolen from her Cape Town flat in May;

the proceedings, and the Goodman gallery ended the year on a high note,

valuable Chinese porcelain was stolen from Groot Constantia later the same

with an exhibition of work by David Goldblatt and Alfredo Jar.

month. In November, an armed robbery took place at Pretoria Art Museum,

And so, with 2012’s calendar of exhibitions and events drawing to a

with some R15 million worth of paintings taken, including work by Irma

close, 2013 beckons. Whether it will prove as eventful as this year, only time

Stern, Maggie Laubser, Gerard Sekoto, J.H. Pierneef and Hugo Naudé. Most

will tell.

Paul Emmanuel in France Artist Paul Emmanuel writes of his impressions while undertaking an artist’s residency in France.

People dancing to Salsa on the Rive Gauche or South Bank of Paris on weekends.

A window into the Douamont Ossuary, Verdun.

was lucky enough to have been awarded the Institut Français’ Visas

artillery ammunitions almost a hundred years old. The authorities spray

Pour la Creation artist’s residency based in Paris to conduct research

these with luminous paint before they are collected, to warn passersby.

for a public artwork I am planning to create. The work will be a

Sometimes, one can find the bones of men.


continuation of The Lost Men Project, which commenced its journey

It is the names of these men that I wish to cast in steel type and blind

at Grahamstown’s National Arts Festival on the tenth anniversary of

emboss onto my own body. These fleeting impressions on my skin will be

South Africa’s democracy in 2004. This installation was also installed in

photographed before the temporary bruising fades. The photographs will

the grounds of the Sylt Foundation situated on the island of Sylt, where I

be printed onto large, delicate, semi-transparent silk organza sheets that

undertook a two month residency in 2009.

will then be hung outdoors in a specific configuration in the landscape and

The Lost Men 2016 will be a new site-specific (and time-specific), temporary, outdoor memorial installation. This new ephemeral work will

left to the wind. It is so difficult to imagine the devastation of the trenches of the

comprise of photographs of my body embossed with the names of fallen Allied

Western Front of the First World War. As I walked in the landscapes

and German soldiers who died fighting in France in World War One, and will

in the region of Picardie, I was surrounded by rich farmland stretching

include the names of the many black and white South African soldiers. I plan to

to the horizon in every direction. Almost 100 years ago, the scene was

install it somewhere on the battlefields of the Somme in France. The timing of

very different and men from all over the world scurried in trenches of

this installation is intended to coincide with the centenary commemorations of

slippery mud infested with opportunistic rats. While visiting Fort De Vaux,

the First World War that will take place between 2014 and 2019.

constructed in the side of a hill close to the town of Verdun, I stumbled

During my residency I often ventured out into the quiet French

across one of the heavy iron shells that were fired deafeningly from the

countryside to experience the landscape and walk on forest floors still

canons; with my slight frame I couldn’t lift it. A hundred years ago these

scarred with the vestiges of trench warfare. There, one can still find live

things screamed through the air and bombarded the earth continuously. It

38 / classic feel

must have seemed as if the sky was raining steel. All I could hear was the

It drew me deeper into understanding the defining nature of this war and

wind through the trees.

its importance as a turning point in human history; a war that was once

At the South African Delville Wood Memorial, there is a single surviving tree from the original forest that was witness to the devastation,

referred to as ‘the war to end all wars’. While viewing footage of a global brand’s 2012/13 men’s formal wear

named Die Laaste Boom. Around it and embedded in the folds of its

fashion show, the militaristic nature of the suits and the steel, medal-like

gnarled trunk, pilgrims have placed flowers, crosses and other tokens

designs of the details, also struck me. Even contemporary men’s corporate

commemorating the dead. It would seem that The Last Tree draws more

fashion is influenced by war. Perhaps this is a response to the economic

devotion than the man-made edifices of remembrance close by.

uncertainties of our time – trying to reassure ourselves that we are in

On visiting a network of excavated limestone caves called Le Caverne du Dragon (The Dragon’s Lair) on the mountain road known as Chemin

control and ready for battle. Amid the sophisticated fashionistas and bustling tourists, are many

Des Dames, thousands of black men from the French colonies joined

homeless people in the city – even in the old and expensive Quatrieme

their white colonisers and the Allies to fight against the Germans. For

Arrondissement district, where the Cité des Arts studio complex is

military registration purposes they were photographed from the front and

located. One man I saw every day slept on a large metro air vent, which


the side. They were all stripped of their nationality and simply referred

blew warm air from underground. Over this same air vent, wealthy tourist

The Last Tree – a Hornbeam at The South African Delville Wood Memorial, the Somme.

The South African Delville Wood Memorial designed by Herbert Baker.

to as ‘Senegalese’.2 On the one hand, German propaganda criticised the

children played with their light inflatable plastic toys, making them float

Allies for the illegitimate recruiting of people from Allied colonies. On the

mysteriously in the rising air currents. Delighted moms and dads clicked

other, they framed these recruits as barbarians. They ‘accused African and

away with their iPhones.

Indian soldiers of all sorts of atrocities, poking out eyes and cutting off 3

Walking across the bridges of the Seine, I saw two men kissing and

ears or whole heads of captured or wounded German soldiers’. Attempts

hugging – openly and in public; and I’m not talking about light pecks on

were made to prove ‘that using “savages” against “civilised people” was

the lips. They were long, drawn out French Kisses. I was taken aback by


prohibited by international law’.

Against this backdrop, the globally branded sophistication of the city

my own sense of surprise. Right then, love between two men seemed so much less likely than war. On the Passerelle des Arts bridge I marveled at

of Paris to which I returned took on a slightly darker hue. While relishing

the thousands of metal padlocks– all relics bearing the inscribed initials of

the simple pleasure of sipping my glass of rouge seated à la Parisienne

people in love.

at the famous Café de Flore on Boulevard Saint Germaine, I watched the people walking by in the street and wondered if they ever contemplate the

I am about to inscribe the names of fallen soldiers onto my skin. With what passions did they love the country they died for? …

fragility of this urbane social fabric. As I thought about these things in my studio at The Cité, I saw the tragedy of the Marikana massacre unfold online; and while I was reading Ken Follet’s Fall of Giants, which brings together five fictional families through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, I could not help but draw comparisons between the protest at Lonmin’s platinum mines and

REFERENCES 1. Personal communication from Caverne du Dragon Museum, Chemin des Dames, Picardie, France. 2. Chemin des Dames: Le Memorial Virtuel website: 3. Dendooven, D and Chielens, P. 2008. World War I: Five Continents in Flanders. p18. Tielt, Belgium: The Lannoo Publishing Group. 4. Ibid.

Britain’s coal-mining strikes of 1914, just before the outbreak of this war.

classic feel / 39

‘Going Dutch’ Gordon Froud, artist and senior lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, reports on the extensive exhibition of contemporary South African sculpture that took place in Holland in 2012.

Work by Andries Botha shown on the Voorhout.

Gordon Froud run over by his own taxi

he Museum Beelden Aanzee and the Stichting Den Haag

to the artists that were present (Mary Sibande, Pitika Ntuli, Angus Taylor

Sculptuur in Scheveningen, The Hague, played host to the largest

and Gordon Froud), after which the Queen unveiled the bronze and granite

South African show of sculpture seen outside of the country. This

sculpture by Angus Taylor to formally declare the exhibition open. She

exhibition, fully sponsored by the organizers, was shown in three

then presided over a cocktail party at the Paleis Museum (the home of the

venues across the capital of Holland and was enthusiastically

Escher collection) where the artists and performers got to talk informally


received. There were two openings ten days apart and a three-month intensive program of events to maximize the exposure of the show. The first opening, by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix, took place in the

with the Queen and mingle with the high-profile guests. The second opening was held on the evening of 9 June at the Museum Beelden Aanzee in the coastal area of Scheveningen, ten minutes away

Klooster Kerk on the Lange Voorhout, a block away from the European

from Den Haag Centraal. At the same time, the third venue at the ANWB

Parliament. The 600-strong, formally dressed invited guests were treated

(headquarters of the equivalent of the Automobile Association) was

to an address by various directors of the museum, a poetry reading by Dr

opened to the public. A few other sculptures from the show were placed

Pitika Ntuli (an epic poem written especially for the exhibition, referring

at strategic points throughout the city to showcase the exhibition. This

to many of the works on the show), a musical performance by Larry Joe (a

opening, attended by more than 200 guests, featured an address by the

reformed ex-convict from South Africa who spreads the message of change

South African Ambassador, Dr Piet Grobler, a keynote address by journalist

through his music), the Queen’s address and finally a walk down the Lange

Chris Reinewald, with an overview of visual culture from South Africa, and

Voorhout with the guests of honor, where the queen stopped and spoke

an operatic version of Zulu songs by two Dutch performers.

40 / classic feel

The exhibition was conceptualised in relation to a sculpture commission awarded to Dutch artist Arie Schippers for a monumental 3.5m bronze sculpture of our own Nelson Mandela that is to stand outside

outer courtyard, a minibus taxi, in plastic hangers, by Gordon Froud was juxtaposed with the bronze boats and dogs of Deborah Bell. On the Lange Voorhout, the curators used the 500m sandy walkway

the new International Court of Human Justice in The Hague. As this

as a timeline to explore visions of South Africa. On the end opposite the

commission had focused attention on South Africa, the Museum Beelden

Klooster Kerk (in which Sibande’s third work was shown), Andries Botha’s

aan Zee and Stichting Den Haag Sculptuur decided to make South African

majestic elephant (woven from car tyres) symbolized the traditional view of

contemporary sculpture its featured exhibition for the summer of 2012.

rural South Africa, while at the other, Froud’s colourful Quantum taxi (made

(Last year China was the focus). They assembled a team to research the

of coat hangers) represented the view of contemporary urban South Africa.

Sculpture by Angus Taylor shown on the Voorhout.

Installation by Mary Sibande

type of work in South Africa, then contracted Annelies Brans-van der

Between these were works by Barend de Wet, Willem Boshoff, William

Straeten (an ex-gallerist who lives both in Amsterdam and in Cape Town)

Kentridge, Kendell Geers, Kevin Brand, Angus Taylor, Pitika Ntuli and

to curate the exhibition.

Eduardo Villa. This was a taste of the nature of work that would be seen in

Throughout her research and travels across the length and breadth of

the Museum.

South Africa, she was able to assemble an impressive, varied, historical

The third venue (ANWB – who sponsored bicycles for the tour from

and yet contemporary show that firmly places South African sculpture

one venue to the others) exhibited Wilma Cruise, David Brown and Pitika

on the world stage. The curatorial team took as their timeline Anton Van

Ntuli in their gardens and a Nissan 1400 bakkie made of hangers by

Wouw (born 1862) to Mary Sibande (born 1982). The exhibition in the

Gordon Froud in the entrance of the building.

Museum was arranged in such a way as to lead from Van Wouw, through

This exhibition shows the depth of sculptural vision in contemporary

formalism (Eduardo Villa) the influence on black artists (Sydney Khumalo,

South Africa. Many of the visitors commented on the fact that they had

Dumeli Feni and Jackson Hlongwane) to sociopolitical (Jane Alexander,

expected ‘tribal art’ from Africa, but were pleasantly surprised by the

David Brown and Willie Bester). This lead to sculptures around social

world-class conceptual and technical standards of the show. It is a show

issues as shown in the works of Nandipha Mntabo, Nicholas Hlobo, Wim

that any artist would be proud to be a part of, and is represented in fine

Botha and Andries Botha, followed by contemporary abstraction (Paul

form by the highly professional catalogue published by the Museum

Edmunds), the figurative works of Claudette Schreuders and Angus Taylor,

featuring fine essays by, among others, Musha Neluheni (Jhb Art Gallery)

and culminated in the large-scale installations by Mary Sibande. In the

and Esther Schreuder. CF

classic feel / 41

Re-sampled This holiday the Absa Gallery hosts a fascinating exhibition entitled Re-Sampled, which juxtaposes renowned historic artworks against the modern interpretations thereof, as conceptualised by some of South Africa’s most promising young artists. e-sampling or appropriation in the visual arts is the use

this they put forward works that took the artists’ ‘samples’ into account

of pre-existing objects or images in the creation of a new

and manipulated these through alterations in mediums or conceptual

artwork. Inherent in our understanding of appropriation

understandings. It’s these altered pieces that are being presented in the

is the concept that the new artwork recontextualises

exhibition as the re-sampled art works. ”


whatever it borrows to create the new work. Through

By presenting the works side-by-side, the viewer has the opportunity

appropriation artists are deliberately copying images to take

to interact with the historical as well as the contemporary work, opening

possession of them in their art.

up the possibility for a conversation between the two pieces.

Paul Bayliss, Absa Gallery curator explains, ‘Re-sampled gives the

‘Post-modern appropriation artists are keen to deny the notion of

viewer the opportunity to not only explore historical artworks from the

‘originality’. They believe that in borrowing existing imagery or elements

Absa collection but also to engage with works from a younger generation

of imagery, they are re-contextualising or re-sampling the original

of artists. The exhibition features 18 selected historic artworks from the

imagery, allowing the viewer to renegotiate the meaning of the original

Absa collection, dating from the early and mid-1900s. Alongside these are

in a different, more relevant, or more current context. This exhibition will

the modern interpretations of each piece, which have been created by a

attempt to put the philosophical ideals and principles forward from historic

group of 19 artists selected from the Absa L’Atelier top 10 winners from

artworks in the Absa collection, within a contemporary reading of the

2000 to present.

works within South African history,’ adds Bayliss.

“As such a number of historic artworks from the Absa collection

The artists involved in the exhibition are Amber-Jade Geldenhuys,

were presented to these young artists who then had the opportunity to

Amelia Malatji, Bambo Sibiya, Collen Maswanganyi, Jaco van Schalkwyk,

reinvestigate the observations and concerns of the original artists. From

Mahlomola Josiah Nkosi, Nina Liebenberg and Sarel Petrus van Rensburg.

Anton van Wouw (Noointjie van die onderveld Transvaal)

Collen Maswanganyl, Artist Statement The artist uses the representation of the ‘ideal’ woman as put forward by Anton van Wouw in Noointjie Van Die Onderveld Transvaal and reinterprets the idea of the perfect woman by carving seven women who represent what might be seen as the ideal women in contemporary culture. The artist used these seven women to embody ideas surrounding women and sexuality. The artist explores how

42 / classic feel

sexuality is used to create an idealised image of women and how dangerous these represented images of women are by referencing Isaiah 4:1. In this passage seven women wanted to be married to the same man and take care of themselves. For the artist, lust is a cause of polygamy, which is very problematic in contemporary society.

John Koenakeefe Mohl (Untitled).

Amelia Malatji, Artist Statement The artist has focused on the figures and brings more life to them by replacing the central images of men on horses with strong, confident and defiant women. If there is anything society fears the most it is a sassy, successful black woman and that society always tries to pull women one step back behind the men. The artist is depicting how women are taking the lead and creating opportunities for themselves by breaking the boundaries that society has created. The artist has added a different atmosphere or environment to the artwork (city environment). The original artwork has used an impressionistic style. The faces of the people are hidden creating an anonymous feel. In resampling this artwork images are painted that show the facial expression in order to represent the characteristics of the person that is represented. The purpose of this re-sample is to show that women can also be financial providers, competitive, independent, career-focused and leaders. It challenges the role of male and female in society.

Joe Maseko (Waiting for Darkness).

Mahlomola Josiah Nkosi, Artist Statement The artist has focused on his identity as a black artist and the difficulties he encounters in his community. Black Everything explores the ignorance uneducated people show when faced with an artwork. The artist explores people’s response and reaction to the artist. In particular, the artist’s parent’s response, where the artist is constantly told to find a job and art is not important. The artist hopes his work – as a black artist – will expose and inform his community of the value and importance that art has in our society. classic feel / 43

WH Coetzer – Landscape

44 / classic feel

Anton van Wouw – Miner with Chisel

Jaco van Schalkwyk, Artist Statement

Sarel Petrus van Rensburg, Artist Statement

The painting Landscape by WH Coetzer (1962), can be

The artist’s work addresses the act of writing and the obscurity of meaning,

seen as an aesthetic, linguistic artefact, and in part

written, spoken or thought; the pensive space required for writing down

mirrors the Gestalt of his period, which reflects the

significant experiences; the intangible ways in which memory escapes the

South African colonial, socio-political and philosophical

rules of language; and the ritual of describing events to oneself, regardless

principles of the period. By ‘realistically’ documenting

of the interpretations of others.

the South African landscape, he was nonetheless

Memory is elusive, infused by emotion. No-one can present experience

tempered by the then current use of romantic

objectively or comprehensively, especially not to an unknown recipient.

conventions, like the idealisation of the landscape, the

Not that one wants to let others read all the ramblings of one’s own mind,

depiction of the natural inhabitants as depersonalised

but how does one select? Finding a visual language to portray what is

figures, robbed of their individuality, depicted merely as

unfathomable is a solitary task. For the artist, hammering letter punches,

entities in a landscape. It is with this historical platform

one by one, consuming time, scarring physical surfaces of wood, wax or

in mind that Jaco van Schalkwyk endeavoured to

bronze with words is such a language. Intangible meaning made visible.

resample and reinterpret this particular painting from a

Meaning remains vague. Each little bronze letter is a portrayal of an idea

post-colonial perspective by juxtaposing landscape with

of a symbol by itself, igniting with meaning when read together. Was the

portrait and thus acknowledging the individuality and

miner not thinking of his own life, chiselling it into stratums, veins and

personhood of the indigenous figure.

layers of rock, while the foreman looked the other way?

PG van Heerden (Untitled)

Nina Liebenberg, Artist Statement Untitled (Invasive Species) stems from a historical and botanical enquiry. In 1975, after attaining independence from Portugal, civil war broke out in Angola. In that same year, the South African Defence Force orchestrated a covert unit – Operation Savanna – authorised by Prime Minister BJ Vorster, to intervene in the war. This intervention formed part of an ongoing period of conflict in South African history, known as the Border Wars. From a botanical point of departure, the cluster pine (or Pinus Pinaster) is a pine native to the western and eastern region of the Mediterranean – the range extending from Portugal and Spain north to southern and western France. In South Africa it is seen as invasive, competing with and replacing indigenous species. Liebernberg’s Untitled (Invasive Species) consists of cross sections of cluster pines used as target practice units, into which the artist shot R4 assault rifle bullets.

Re-Sampled runs from 12 November 2012 to 24 January 2013 at the Absa Art Gallery, 161 Main Street in Johannesburg, Gauteng. Members of the public are requested to bring their ID books along for parking and entry purposes. CF classic feel / 45

ACT Awards 2012 The Arts and Culture Trust Awards 2012 saw the recognition of four outstanding members of South Africa’s arts and culture community, as well as a promising group of young artists who are set to make a considerable contribution to the country in future.

46 / classic feel

he Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) Awards are held annually in


programme at Tshikululu Corporate Social Investments and teacher,

recognition and celebration of excellence in South African arts,

Janet Watts; theatre director, poet and teacher, Kga-fela oa Magogodi;

culture and creativity.

and choreographer, founding member and Artistic Director of The Forgotten

Since 1998, the ACT Awards celebrated more than 350

Angle Theatre Collaborative, PJ Sabbagha.

individuals and organisations that have made a significant

‘It was a great privilege to sit on the ImpACT judging panel. It is never easy to pick a winner. Without resorting to platitudes about “you’re all

the event’s history, three Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented

winners”, it is certainly true to say that the calibre of the ImpACT finalists

for Visual Arts, Music and Theatre. In 2012 a fourth award, for Literature,

shows that we are incredibly well served by brave, capable visionary

is added to the suit of Lifetime Achievement Awards. Past recipients of

young artists and thinkers who are claiming their space, finding their voice

this accolade include Miriam Makeba, John Kani, Gibson Kente, Ronnie

and contributing, at a high level of excellence, to the prospering of our

Govender, David Koloane, Pops Mohamed, Lynette Marais, David Goldblatt,

creative sector. It is a significant achievement to receive an affirmation of

Joseph Shabalala, Mannie Manim and Gcina Mhlope among others.

this nature within the first three years of professional life. It holds both a

Images ©John Hogg

contribution to cultural life in South Africa. In 2008, for the first time in

ACT Chairperson Melissa Goba

Lifetime Achievement Awards recipients are selected by the ACT Board

ACT Ambassador Brenda Devar-Sakellarides

responsibility and an impetus to continue making a difference and making

of Trustees whilst the ImpACT Awards for Young Professionals, which are

an impact. If our ImpACT winners are the yard stick, then our future is in

presented in tandem with the Lifetime Achievement Awards, are selected

very safe creative hands. As a sector we must make sure that we actively

by an independent panel of judges. Awards in Visual Art, Theatre, Music

engage with these energetic shape shifters,’ said ACT Ambassador and

& Singing and Design are awarded to young professional artists who have

spokesperson of the panel of Judges, Brenda Devar-Sakellarides

made an impact during the first three years of their professional careers. The 2012 panel of judges included: ACT Ambassador, Director at Pink

The 15th Annual ACT Awards 2012 were presented in association with the Vodacom foundation, SAMRO (Southern African Music Rights

Room Productions, actress, singer, creative consultant and arts manager,

Organisation), the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation

Brenda Devar-Sakellarides; award-winning conductor, music director and

(DALRO) and Media24 Books. Distell Foundation is once again sponsoring

instrumentalist, George ka Mxadana; business manager of Artist Proof

the ImpACT Awards for Young Professionals and long-standing media

Studio and Programme Manager of the Arts, Culture and Heritage funding

partner Classicfeel Magazine and Business and Arts South Africa support.

classic feel / 47

Image ŠJohn Hogg

ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature: Nadine Gordimer Strongly believing that one should not speak about oneself when one is honoured with an award like the inaugural ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature, the winner Nadine Gordimer deferred to longtime friends and associates, well known human rights lawyer George Bizos, and writer and activist Morakabe Raks Seakhoa. Both happily stepped forward to pay tribute to her and to share with Lore Watterson of Classicfeel the memories and impressions they have gathered in the decades since they ďŹ rst met Gordimer.

Supported by Media 24 Books Media24 Books is a division of Media24 and forms part of the Naspers group of companies. It comprises the trade publishers NB Publishers and Jonathan Ball Publishers, the schools publishing group Via Afrika Education, the higher education publisher Van Schaik Publishers and the book club business Leserskring/Leisure Books. 48 / classic feel

adine Gordimer needs no introduction. Her contributions to

and encourage young writers. She’d always say that, taking from her

the literary field, as well as her fearless efforts as a political

own experience, there is nothing like seeing your work in print. With her

activist have been honoured and celebrated, not only in

we established a regional literary journal called Ingolovane, then later

South Africa, but all over the world. She is one of South

we established COSAW Publishing… When she won the Nobel Prize,

Africa’s two recipients of the Nobel Prize for Literature,

she took part of the money and donated it to COSAW Publishing so that


an outspoken critic of the powers that be, a keen observer of the human

the journal could continue. Part of that was also to establish an award to

condition and a fearless writer of great power.

encourage short story writing in African languages. The reason for that

George Bizos met Gordimer at the launch of her first novel, The

was because she felt bad and ashamed that she couldn’t speak a single

Lying Days in 1953. ‘I couldn’t afford to buy the book so I waited until

African language. Another thing Nadine is very keen on is making sure

it was placed in the library,’ he says. ‘I read it and it really painted a

people get the necessary skills and education. You may know the very

picture of what our young lives were about. It captured the spirit of

popular musician Vusi Mahlasela. We recruited him into COSAW. He was

our generation. Our generation believed that the Second World War

working for a textile company in the late 80s and early 90s. He played

would end all wars. Although we met casually at various functions

the guitar beautifully but he could neither read nor write music… So

during the 1950s, we really became friends during the Rivonia Trial.

we spoke to Nadine and she personally arranged a tutor and Vusi went

Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki were well-known

to classes for about a year and now he can read and write music. So

public figures but the other accused in the trial didn’t have that same

Nadine has been a big influence on all of us…’

public exposure. I decided that I would ask each one of them to write

Gordimer is often described as bluntly honest and outspoken –

a short biography, particularly the ones that were not well known, and

traits that have made her rather intimidating to some who have met

they happily did this. We wanted them published, not as a book, but as

her. ‘She speaks her mind,’ Bizos says, ‘it doesn’t matter to whom.’

a little booklet, to distribute to the journalists. I took them to Nadine

Seakhoa agrees: ‘One thing I can tell you is that Nadine does not know

– who had been to the trial a couple of times – and I asked her if she

discrimination. She is as blunt and sharp with anyone, it doesn’t matter

would edit them. She agreed…’ Bizos also brought a draft of Madiba’s

whether it’s you or Nelson Mandela. I’ve had that experience with

famous ‘I am prepared to die’ speech to Gordimer and her good friend,

Nadine. We put together a book on Mandela and we went to present

writer and editor Anthony Sampson. ‘They were both very impressed,’

it to him, about five years ago. Nadine gave Mandela’s PA, Zelda le

he recalls. ‘The only changes were made by Anthony and that was to

Grange, a hard time, as she had told us that Mandela did not have much

change the order of paragraphs. Nadine agreed with him… After that

time for us. Nadine told her off! She went on to tell Mandela in front of

we all became friends…’

Zelda that we all have things to do, and that we were given 30 minutes

‘I met Nadine in 1987,’ Seakhoa says, ‘around 17 July. The reason

and did not like being told that we then only had 15 minutes. Mandela

I remember that is because I had just come out of State of Emergency

laughed of course. We ended up getting our 30 minutes… When I was

detention, where I was from July 1986 to 11 July 1987. When I came

at COSAW, something had made me very emotional and I wrote a poem

out there was a conference, which Nadine was very much involved with,

and immediately sent it to Nadine. She called me an hour later and said,

to form the Congress of South African Writers (COSAW)… Of course, I

"Comrade, this is not poetry! You write very well but not this time." Just

had spent a little time on Robben Island before that, from 1979 to 1984,

like that… There is no small talk.’

and I must say that it was actually then that I met her – in terms of her

At times, Gordimer has come close to endangering herself with this

writing. She made a very big impression on me then already because her

characteristic honesty, which appears to be an expression of a need for

writing was very different and it spoke to the issues… I think the first

absolute truth, and is also evident in her writing. Bizos recalls one such

book of hers that I read was Burger’s Daughter and then we fast-forward

occasion. ‘We called Nadine as a witness in the Delmas Trial [the trial

to 1987, when we met.’ Seakhoa successfully applied for a job at the

of eleven United Democratic Front members between 1985 and 1988].

COSAW, of which Gordimer was a vice-president at the time. As the

She gave evidence much to the irritation of the trial judge – he didn’t

Regional Co-ordinator of what was then the Transvaal region, Seakhoa

like her one bit but that didn’t prevent her. We spoke during the trial of

interacted frequently with Gordimer, ‘along with other comrades. We

discrimination against black people in general and particularly Bantu

used to go to her house, she used to come to our places… We were

education, the value of books and the detention of writers. She went

very close. One thing that always impressed me about Nadine – even

into the box to speak about these things. Reinholdt, her husband, was

now – is her keenness to impart skills to writers, particularly younger

sitting in the back of the court. The ANC was still a banned organisation

writers. With her and other comrades we ran creative writing skills

at the time. The prosecutor asked her, “What is your attitude towards

development programmes. We used to travel a lot to what was then

the African National Congress?” She answered, “I support it.” He then

called the Northern Transvaal. We would collect some of her books with

asked, “What about Umkhonto we Sizwe?” She said, “Same thing,

her help, and her connections overseas, as well as people here who

Wynand, I support them too.” Reinholdt thought the security police

would donate books, and we’d take them around the country. She really

would be there at the end of the day to arrest her but things had changed

was and is interested in coming out with publications that would inspire

substantially by the end of the 80s, so they didn’t dare.’

Image ©John Hogg

Gordimer’s writing between the 1950s and 1990s spoke to the injustices of apartheid and the way in which they impacted on South Africans – the repression of black people, the inner conflict and guilt of whites and the different kinds of fear that dominated the lives of all races. In keeping with her uncompromisingly honest nature, Gordimer was not simply paying lip service to the struggle through her work – she was an active participant in it. ‘Young black writers were followed by the security police,’ Bizos says. ‘The rooms they lived in were searched and they were sometimes charged with offences under the apartheid laws. They would turn to Nadine for assistance. If they were to appear in court, I would respond favourably to her request to defend them. She would come to court and encourage them not to be afraid. A lot of them saw her as a mentor and they would visit her, which was an unusual situation for a white South African. When they had a gathering or a party at their house, you would see a non-racial choice of friends who had one common objective and that was to write. ‘During the Rivonia Trial, which was led by Bram Fischer, she visited the court and became friends with him and his two daughters. That’s what inspired her to write Burger’s Daughter. When Bram Fischer went underground, I chose not to know any details, but Nadine was interested in Bram’s decision to go underground and she was part of the circle that was trusted.’ Aside from this support which she offered to fellow activists, Gordimer did what any self-respecting, conscientious person would do – she used her specific gifts and skills to serve the greater purpose of the struggle for justice and freedom. ‘The regime wanted the world to believe that the ANC and the struggle here in South Africa and its leadership were no different to the Baader-Meinhoff Gang in Germany, or the Red Brigade in Italy or the terrorists of Palestine,’ Bizos says. ‘We lawyers used the courtroom as a forum to inform the world of apartheid propaganda. Nadine’s writings – her short stories and books – were a mirror that portrayed a different image to what the apartheid regime wanted the world to believe. That was an important part, where the writers, journalists and filmmakers all contributed in their own way to the rejection of the propaganda of the regime.’ Today, 18 years after the new South Africa came into existence, Gordimer is just as uncompromising in challenging the shortcomings of the new dispensation. Even the authorities she has supported are not immune to her criticism. Together with Bizos and many others she raised her voice in protest against the controversial Protection of State Information Bill. Her uncompromising and unstinting scrutiny of the current state proves one important point: that the struggle to maintain South Africa’s freedoms is just as vital as the struggle that led to their attainment. For Gordimer, freedom is the highest ideal and threats to that freedom must be identified and challenged, regardless of their source. As Bizos says: ‘We aspire to the achievement of similar things, like the democratic dispensation of South Africa. She is a democrat at heart and hates dictatorships.’ Seakhoa recalls, when he commented on her latest book, No Time Like The Present: 'I said, '"you can't say that", and she said, "I can, I'm 89!"' In her fearless pursuit of both her craft and her ideals, Gordimer has secured her place as one of South Africa’s greats and as a truly fitting first recipient of the ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature.

50 / classic feel

classic feel / 51

Image ©John Hogg

ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Theatre: Welcome Msomi Welcome Msomi has written, directed, choreographed and acted in numerous plays, musicals, and works for radio: an extensive body of work that has earned him this year's ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Theatre. 'Are they worried that I may go soon?' he laughs while talking to Classicfeel's Natalie Watermeyer.


elcome Msomi is something of a raconteur, and so his telling of his life’s story (thus far) is vivid with drama, humour, and a perfect take-off of Nelson Mandela (Msomi describes his role in designing the former president’s 1994 inauguration ceremony as a career highlight: ‘He startled me – he held me by the hand and said “I want you to do the

inauguration” - you can’t say no to Mandela!’). His love affair with the theatre began at St Christopher’s school in Swaziland, where he first encountered the Bard via a copy of Julius Caesar. ‘It was fascinating. That was how I fell in love with Shakespeare’s plays.’ His interest in theatre and literature was further encouraged by an English headmaster, and by an encounter with Alan Paton, who came to speak at the school prizegiving and watched the school production of The Bishop's Candlesticks, in which Msomi played the bishop. ‘We became friends,’ recalls Msomi. ‘During the holidays I would go to Durban and stay at his house.’ Thus Msomi began writing short stories, although at this time he was set to become a doctor, an ambition staunchly supported by his father. But the Bard intervened yet again; after playing Marc Antony in a school production of Julius Caesar, says Msomi, ‘the applause was so amazing, I decided there and then I was going to devote my life to the stage’. His father

Supported by the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO) DALRO is a multi-purpose copyright society administering various aspects of copyright on behalf of authors and publishers. DALRO’s main areas of administration are reprographic reproduction rights (photocopying from published editions), public performance rights (including stage rights for book musicals and dramas) and reproduction rights 52 / classic feel

(whether for publishing or copying) in works of visual art. For more information please visit

was deeply disappointed, but Msomi’s mind was made up, despite several

song, the music of the impis!... Prof, I've got to go, I've got some people

obstacles in his way.

waiting for me at home!’

‘At the time, one had to apply to the minister of the interior to get

‘It didn't take me long, about three nights, to write the script,’ recalls

into Speech and Drama school at University of Natal,’ he says. This was

Msomi. However, the script was not enough to satisfy Sneddon. ‘What

something of a deterrent, and Msomi formed his own theatre company

about a cast?’ she asked, and then insisted, ‘you've got to play the lead!’

instead, and set about creating a ‘full length production in Zulu’. His choice of language was greeted with some degree of scepticism; people told him, ‘You're crazy! Mad! It won't have any impact.’ Nevertheless, Msomi went about selecting his cast, although not

As it transpired, Sneddon had the production in mind for an upcoming conference. Despite Msomi’s reluctance, Sneddon got what she wanted, and Umabatha made its debut. In the audience was Molly Daubeney, whose husband, Sir Peter Daubeney, was putting together productions of

in any conventional way; as he tells it, he picked people off the street,

Shakespeare's plays for the World Theatre Season in London. The play

‘watching them at bus stops’ and the like, before approaching them with

was an obvious fit, and so Umabatha travelled to London, closing the 1972

the offer to star in his play. Unsurprisingly, their reactions were varied, but

World Theatre Season.

he eventually got his cast together and began rehearsals, albeit with no

According to Msomi, his first inkling of how great Umabatha was

funding and very little support, the sum total of which amounted to a single

came when he looked through the newspapers in London, ‘and they were

spotlight borrowed from the University of Natal.

all rave reviews’. The play went on to be staged the following year at the

As it transpired, the spotlight was unreliable, and on the big day,

Aldwych Theatre – where it allegedly broke all box office records – before

worked only for a few minutes before failing at a crucial juncture, when

travelling to the Italian and America Spoleto festivals, Zimbabwe, and

‘everything went black’! The show went on regardless; once it finished

Scotland, as well as returning to South Africa.

Msomi bolted, fleeing at the prospect of crowds demanding their money

The play also enjoyed a three-month run on Broadway, where Msomi

back, money that he no longer had. As it turned out, the audience

discovered the delights of New York; he was to live there for the next 17

clamoured, not for a refund, but for tickets to the evening show.

years. He continued to write and direct during this time, producing works

‘This was in 1965,’ says Msomi. ‘It was the first time most people had

such as Halalala!, Bongi's Journey, and The Day, The Night – which was set

seen a production.’ The audience shouted at the play’s characters, much

to star Morgan Freeman. Unfortunately, the actor pulled out in order to film

as they might have done back in the Bard’s day. ‘It was fun to see people

The Shawshank Redemption in Los Angeles. ‘So that is how I lost Morgan!’

interacting with the story.’ Tickets sold out for the evening show, and the

exclaims Msomi. And, addressing himself to the star: ‘You missed out, man!’

production went on to generate sufficient attention to bring in a couple of

In 1991, Msomi was asked to appear in an ABC TV show; Nelson

US diplomats, who invited the editor of the Daily News to write a review.

Mandela was being interviewed by Ted Koppel, and the producers wanted

‘If it's a bad review, don’t publish it,’ Msomi pleaded. Fortunately

‘something South African’ to precede the interview. ‘Great,’ said Msomi; ‘I

the reviewer was greatly entertained and his subsequent review drew increasing numbers of white audiences to Durban's unzoned Bolton Hall.

didn't care about the deal, I just wanted to see Mandela.’ And see Mandela, Msomi did. Mandela, likewise, spotted Msomi:

Eventually, professors from the University of Natal invited him to put on the

‘He stops, he says to me, “I know you! You’re Welcome Msomi! Where is

production at Howard College, presumably with working spotlights. ‘You

Umabatha?”’ To which Msomi promptly replied, ‘I'll revive it for you!’

have no idea how wonderful it felt to perform in a proper theatre,’ says Msomi. ‘It was such a joy.’ Professor Elizabeth Sneddon, the Durban doyenne of speech and

In 1993 Msomi returned to South Africa, where he was involved in the 1994 inauguration. At the behest of the Johannesburg Civic Theatre’s Allen Joseph, he eventually fulfilled his promise to revive Umabatha. Mandela

drama, offered Msomi space in which to work, and he busied himself

– along with guests such as Catherine Deneuve – attended the final

writing and directing Zulu plays for the radio. However, it seemed that

dress rehearsal, and subsequently wrote that ‘the similarities between

Sneddon had other plans for Msomi, and she approached him with a

Shakespeare’s Macbeth and our own Shaka become a glaring reminder

view to creating a Zulu adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s plays. As he

that the world is philosophically a very small place’. Columbia Artist

remembers it, Msomi was not really interested, as the radio plays he

management heard of the new production, and once again, Umabatha set

worked on generated a steady stream of income; however, he agreed

off around the world.

politely, thinking nothing would come of it. He was wrong. Six months later, Sneddon followed up, asking if he had been thinking about ‘that idea, that Zulu Shakespeare’.

Over the course of his career (thus far), Msomi has picked up numerous awards and nominations, including a Cultural Award from the Borough of Brooklyn; a Johnny Walker Celebrating Strides award; a nomination for

‘Oh!’ said Msomi, ‘I've not only been thinking, I've started writing.’

the Laurence Olivier Award for Choreography; and a host of others. He is

‘What's the title?,’ she asked.

clearly no stranger to awards. Despite this, he says that receiving the ACT

‘Umabatha’, replied Msomi, off the cuff.

Lifetime Achiever Award is ‘a humbling honour’: ‘What you do, you are not

‘How did you open it?’

doing for a lifetime achiever award; you do it because you enjoy what you

‘First of all, you hear the drums. The you see the sangomas throw the

do. But the fact that there are those who see what you do and recognise it,

bones, talking about him coming.... then you hear the impis, you hear their

you appreciate that.’

classic feel / 53

Image ŠJohn Hogg

ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Visual Arts: Andrew Verster Andrew Verster, winner of this year's ACT Lifetime Achievement for Visual Arts, has contributed extensively to the arts and culture scene in South Africa, and continues to seek out new opportunities to learn and create. Natalie Watermeyer interviewed Verster for Classicfeel.

Supported by the Vodacom Foundation Vodacom established the Vodacom Foundation in 1999 as the primary vehicle for implementing the company’s Corporate Social Investment initiatives in South Africa. With its primary focus on education and health, the Vodacom Foundation identifies and supports sustainable projects that help counter social deprivation. These 54 / classic feel

projects provide a channel through which the company shares its profits with the communities in which it operates. Through the Vodacom Foundation, the company is able to provide a single entry point to respond to the various requests for social development support it receives on a regular basis.


ndrew Verster is undeniably prolific. He has produced work

‘I was turning 60 when I thought “are you going to be a teacher who

for a multitude of exhibitions (more than 50, suggests

paints, or a painter who teaches?”, and changed things around,’ he recalls.

the KZNSA website; he himself isn’t sure, recalling only

Although he resigned from his full-time post, he continues to teach in a

that there were ‘lots and lots and lots’). He has also

less formal capacity, dispensing advice to those who ask for it.

undertaken numerous public and private commissions, has

‘The most important thing is that every single one of us is an

designed everything from costumes for Miss India to the carpets of the

individual, in all respects,’ he says. ‘You’ve got to discover what you can

Constitutional Court, and has written plays and short stories.

do, that nobody else can do... only I can think my thoughts, only I can make

He is also multi-talented: not only has he won several awards for

my works; and that's the same for you, the same for everyone else. My

his design of theatrical sets and costumes, having designed Opera

idea of a teacher is to give people the confidence to be themselves. You

Africa’s productions of Faust, Princess Magogo, La Traviata and

may not be the greatest painter in the world; you may not be a Picasso or a

Rigoletto, the Barnyard Theatre productions of The Rocky Horror Show

Michelangelo; but at least you’ve found what you can do that nobody else

and Grease, as well as for the Coolie Odyssey, Threnody and Dances

can do, and that’s very, very important.’

and Sinderella – but he has also won awards for playwriting: his radio

‘You can copy other people; all artists are influenced by other

play You May Leave, the Show is Over won the BBC World Service

artists, but you take from other people what you want and then you

Playwriting Competition in 1992. Verster could well be a one-man

make it your own. Everything you make has got to have your own

show, if he weren’t so keen on collaboration.

signature, literally and figuratively.’

Of all of these many projects, one of his personal favourites was

Elsewhere, he has described this assimilation and re-imagining

designing pieces for the newly built Constitutional Court, ‘which I thought

of ideas as an important facet of his own process: ‘“Misquote”

was a marvellous symbol of our new country,’ he says, ‘where everything

would be an apt description of the way I work and think. Quotation –

is open to inspection. There are no hidden agendas, there’s nothing secret

appropriation, sampling, borrowing, stealing, there are many synonyms

any longer; it’s all there.’

– has always been a staple of art making. Everyone from the beginning

Verster’s 2008 retrospective at Iziko’s South African National

of time has taken someone else’s ideas and made them their own.

Gallery took 1994 as its point of departure, noting that ‘the artist

Indeed one of the great pleasures of looking is in tracking an idea from

places significance on this particular period, as it has been a milestone

today back and back to see when and where it was born... In my work

in his life mainly due to the freedom enshrined in the new Constitution,

I quote from myself often – from previous works, that is – and from

which gave equal rights to all... His work reflects a sense of liberation

material I’ve gathered squirrel-like from here, there and everywhere,

and joyousness, which seems to have recently burst forth’. Hence,

stored in drawers and boxes, in photographs and on disc, and mostly in

perhaps, some of Verster’s excitement in creating work for the

piles on the floor and on tables and chairs and on every other flattish

Constitutional Court, for which he designed carpets for the foyer and

surface round the house and in the studio.’

chamber, the chandeliers, the entrance doors, and metal gates. To

His approach to working is largely intuitive and organic, developing

realise his designs, he teamed up with a range of talented artisans:

in response to ideas and imagery that emerge as he progresses. The

‘Collaborations are marvellous, you learn so much from other people. It

outcome seems as much a revelation to himself as to anyone else around

opens up whole new avenues to you.’

during the work’s creation (‘at the end I say, “oh, that’s what it was”’.)

Verster’s enthusiasm for collaboration has seen him work with,

‘The decisions are made as I go, held in check by the vaguest

among others, architect Hans Hallen on both the Mangosuthu

of concepts, so that the final event is always a surprise,’ he writes.

Technikon and the Brenthurst Library, Marguerite Stephens in creating

‘Composition is finding the link between things which apparently have no

tapestries, Jane Durand in creating the mosaics at Melrose Arch, and

connection. The more unlikely the components and the more disparate the

Durban’s African Art Centre to create beadwork for the 2005 Durban

elements, the more potent the brew.’

Fashion Week. Verster, it seems, relishes the chance to design work to

The themes and ideas that come up ‘all depend on the time you’re

be created in any new medium, seizing the opportunity to learn from

making the work, what is happening around you,’ he says. ‘I’m very

the experts he works alongside.

influenced by the people, by everything.... I don’t think a lot, when I’m

His contribution to the visual arts scene is not limited to his many and varied creations. He has also worked with a host of arts organisations, serving on the Committee of the Grahamstown Arts Festival, as a Trustee

making something, I do. I’m very much a kind of hands-on person – I hate that phrase, but it’s quite apt. I make things... I don’t think much, I just do.’ Verster is, among other things, presently putting a book together

of the Durban Art Gallery, the African Art Centre and several others.

of stories that he has written. ‘I’ve got lots of projects that I’m working

Moreover, he has spent a considerable number of years teaching; he

on,’ he says; it seems likely that this is business as usual for the artist,

lectured full time for both University College in Durban (now the University

who nevertheless remains open to any interesting new ventures that

of Durban, Westville) and Natal Technikon.

may come his way.

classic feel / 55

Image ©John Hogg

ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Music: Jonas Gwangwa Trombonist, composer, producer and conductor – not to mention political activist – Jonas Gwangwa has distinguished himself in all of these roles. Revered as one of South Africa’s music legends, this humble and unassuming man met with Warren Holden of Classicfeel to talk about some of his recollections of a life he dedicated to the love of music and his country.

Supported by the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) Established in 1962, with the key objective to protect the intellectual property of its composer, songwriter, and publisher members, the organisation’s primary focus is to administer the various music rights of Copyright on behalf of writer and publisher members. The collecting society, as it is known, is mainly concerned with the collection of license fees for 56 / classic feel

the use of its members’ musical works by various music users, the distribution of royalties to these members, and the promotion of Copyright law. For more information, please visit

ince Jonas Gwangwa first rose to prominence in the late 1950s

distinctly South African feel or accent in my playing. I remember [famous jazz

as the trombonist in the South African ‘jazz supergroup’, the Jazz

trumpeter] Freddie Hubbard calling me up one day and asking me to help him

Epistles, which also featured Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masekela

out at a concert he was about to do with people like Herbie Hancock and Junior

and Kippie Moeketsi, he has risen to become one of the leading

Cook – big guns. And when I went there and I played with them, they were all

artists in jazz and world music. Forced into exile under the

so fascinated by my particular sound, my musical accent, which I had brought


apartheid regime, he set up shop in the United States, where he honed his

with me from home. Herbie Hancock actually said to me, “Hey, that’s great but

craft and worked with several ‘A-list’ jazz and popular music artists, building

do you ever play any jazz?” I had to explain to him that this was jazz – this is

a reputation as a great trombonist, producer and composer. Tireless work over

just how we play it.’

the next few years gained him fans and admirers on three continents. Although

In the 80s, Gwangwa left the United States. Still unable to return home,

devoted to his art, he maintained a lifelong belief that politics and art cannot be

he got as close as he possibly could, settling in Botswana. ‘I spent a lot of time

separated and played an integral role in the underground activities of the ANC

there on this show, Amandla, which went around the world, showing in about

– activities which almost cost him his life. After living abroad for many years,

50 countries, raising funds for food, clothing and medication for SOMAFCO

he finally returned to South Africa in 1991.

[Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College, founded by the ANC in Tanzania]. That

While South African music lovers first noticed him in the late 50s,

went on for about ten years, after which I came back home.’ While touring

Gwangwa’s life with music goes back to his childhood. ‘I was born into a

with Amandla, Gwangwa made the acquaintance of Dali Tambo, who would

musical family,’ he says. ‘My sister was a pianist – she started playing at the

open the door to another major opportunity in his career. ‘Dali introduced me

age of about twelve – and we all used to sing together as a family. I went to

to Richard Attenborough. Then when Richard was working on Cry Freedom,

high school at St. Peters Secondary School. That’s a very historic school, by

he asked me to come do the score for the film. I did that with the English

the way. When it was first built there was nothing around it but open fields

composer George Fenton.’

and then Rosettenville grew up around it. Then Rosettenville was declared

Although he had worked on a few television themes before, this was

a white area so the school had to close. But while I was there, Father Trevor

Gwangwa’s first time working on an entire motion picture score. ‘It was

Huddleston, who was well known in the community there and very active

enjoyable but it was hard work,’ he says. ‘We worked 18-20 hour days. It was

politically, gave me my first trombone. Some other students were also given

a case of write, record, write, record. George had been working on another

different instruments and we formed a school band, which we called the

film beforehand so we started late and we really had to push it.’ The hard work

Huddleston Jazz Band. When the school had to close down, we did a number

evidently paid off as Gwangwa and Fenton’s score was nominated for a slew of

of farewell concerts. Father Huddleston had been involved with promoters

awards, including the Oscars for Best Song and Best Original Score.

in the area in efforts to form a musician’s union, so a number of professional

Returning home, Gwangwa found that the country he had left so many

musicians happened to be around during the shows there and I got to meet

years previously had changed drastically, for better and for worse. While the

some of them. One thing led to another and I started playing in various bands

political repression he had fought against was now a thing of the past, he also

led by big musicians because they didn’t have a trombonist and they were very

found that life as a performing musician was harder than it was in the 50s

interested in me – this young trombonist who played bebop.’

and 60s. ‘Coming back I virtually had to start from scratch. One very important

Before long, Gwangwa was involved in two projects that would bring him

thing we lack in South Africa is performance venues and that affects the scene

first to national, then to international prominence. The first was the short-

deeply. Back then we used to play community halls and they were always

lived but influential band, the Jazz Epistles and the second was the smash-hit

packed but when I came back all of that had changed. Those venues aren’t

musical King Kong, which took him and several other South African singers

there anymore so it’s very hard to keep going.’

and musicians to London. ‘While I was there, I got a scholarship to study at the

But keep going he does, driven by his lifelong love for music. Young

Manhattan School of Music so I went on to New York. Then I ended up staying

musicians are starting out in a very different environment to that in which

there indefinitely because of the South African government. They wouldn’t

Gwangwa first picked up his trombone so many years ago. However, the

renew my passport so I had to stay there. I started gigging there and I was

principles upon which any successful career in the industry should be founded

lucky to get the support of a number of well known musicians. Harry Belafonte

remain the same: ‘There is this expression that musicians in New York often

helped me out a lot and Miriam Makeba was still based there in those days.’

use,’ Gwangwa says. ‘“Practice is the way to Carnegie Hall”. You have to

Gwangwa played a major role in the creation of the seminal album, An Evening

practise, you have to work at it. Don’t focus on the glamour and the money

with Belafonte/ Makeba. This was just one project in a long, productive period

and all of that, just learn your craft and don’t get big headed because this is a

for Gwangwa in the United States. Although he became part of the New York

funny kind of business. You could be up one day and then down the next – and

jazz establishment, he maintained a strong South African feel in his music.

once you’re down it’s very hard to get back up. The only thing you can do is stay

‘When I first went to London,’ he recalls, ‘I was asked to stay there but I

focused on your craft – that’s what will make the difference.’ Now a respected

thought, no, I want to go to the States, to where it all comes from. I wanted

veteran of the South African music industry, Gwangwa has navigated the

that exposure to ‘real’ jazz. We were playing jazz here of course – every

difficult waters of this ‘funny business’ with consummate skill and unshakeable

country has its own jazz with its own particular accent, but I wanted to be at

passion, his many achievements standing as a powerful example to the would-

the source. What really helped me to get by there was that I never lost that

be future stars of South African music.

classic feel / 57

Impact Awards IMPACT AWARD | THEATRE PHILLIP DIKOTLA 22-year-old Phillip is a multi-disciplined performance artist, poet, comedian and writer who graduated from The Market Theatre Laboratory in 2010. He has since been involved in developing plays in workshop environments, he has written and performed in many theatre plays, including Skierlik written in 2011 and directed by Mpho Molepo. Phillip is a founding member of Arch Entertainment, which recently produced its first play Ordinary written by Phillip, which was performed at the Joburg Theatre, starring Velaphi Mthimkhulu. Aside from his field-work for the Market Theatre, Phillip nurtures his passion for stand-up comedy and improvisation which has landed his appearances on Gare Dumeli (SABC 2) and recently Tshisa III (SABC 1).

IMPACT AWARD | MUSIC & SINGING THE MUFFINZ This eclectic soul group was born in 2010 when Mthabisi Sibanda (acoustic guitar and vocals), Simphiwe Kulla (lead electric guitar and vocalist) and Sifiso Buthelezi (lead electric guitar and vocals) met while


singing in the University of Johannesburg Choir. In April 2011 Karabo


Moeketsi (bass and vocals) and Gregory Mabusela joined the group.

26-year-old Jabu Mdluli hails from the East Rand in Gauteng. In 2005

Later the same year The Muffinz, with a private performance, secured a

Jabu studied Graphic Design at The Open Window School of Visual

recording contract with independent record label, Just Music. The eleven

Communication (TOW). This is when his love for graphics and fashion

track aural adventure called Have You Heard? was launched in May

unfolded, and which lead to the birth of his own fashion label, Ozlo. At

2012. The title track has already attracted considerable interest on many

the beginning of 2012 he made an audacious move and opened an Ozlo

regional commercial radio stations.

Clothing Store in the Maboneng Precinct of Johannesburg. Today, Ozlo is a platform for many other young South African designers to showcase


their fashion talents. This proudly South African clothing store specializes


in local brands and designers with vintage collections and interesting

Bambo Sibiya was born and raised In Springs (Kwa-Thema). He completed

furniture which makes The Ozlo Store an unprecendented experience.

his fine art studies at Benoni Technical College and went on to study further at Artist Proof Studio where he graduated in 2009. Bambo participated in several art exhibitions including Artist Proof Studio Art


Exhibition in 2009, 30 Art works - 30 best artists art exhibition at Springs

Brenda Devar-Sakellarides

Art Gallery and a Spier Arts Exhibition. He was a finalist in the Absa

George ka Mxadana

Le’Atelier competition and received a Merit Award in 2010 from the

Janet Watts

Ekurhuleni Art Awards. Bambo has also recently made his international

Kga-fela oa Magogodi

exhibition debut as part of a show in Abhu-Dhabi.

PJ Sabbagha

58 / classic feel


arts the


22-year-old Phillip is a multi-disciplined performance artist, poet, comedian and writer who graduated from The Market Theatre Laboratory in 2010. He has since been involved in developing plays in workshop environments, he has written and performed in many theatre plays, including Skierlik written in 2011 and directed by Mpho Molepo. Phillip is a founding member of Arch Entertainment, which recently produced its first play Ordinary written by Phillip, which was performed at the Joburg Theatre, starring Velaphi Mthimkhulu. Aside from his field-work for the Market Theatre, Phillip nurtures his passion for stand-up comedy and improvisation which has landed his appearances on Gare Dumeli (SABC 2) and recently Tshisa III (SABC 1).

IMPACT AWARD | MUSIC & SINGING THE MUFFINZ This eclectic soul group was born in 2010 when Mthabisi Sibanda (acoustic guitar and vocals), Simphiwe Kulla (lead electric guitar and vocalist) and Sifiso Buthelezi (lead electric guitar and vocals) met while singing in the University of Johannesburg Choir. In April 2011 Karabo Moeketsi (bass and vocals) and Gregory Mabusela joined the group. Later the same year The Muffinz, with a private performance, secured a recording contract with independent record label, Just Music. The eleven track aural adventure called Have You Heard? was launched in May

2012. The title track has already attracted considerable interest on many regional commercial radio stations.

IMPACT AWARD | VISUAL ARTS BAMBO SIBIYA Bambo Sibiya was born and raised In Springs (Kwa-Thema). He completed his fine art studies at Benoni Technical College and went on to study further at Artist Proof Studio where he graduated in 2009. Bambo participated in several art exhibitions including Artist Proof Studio Art Exhibition in 2009, 30 Art works - 30 best artists art exhibition at Springs Art Gallery and a Spier Arts Exhibition. He was a finalist in the Absa Le’Atelier competition and received a Merit Award in 2010 from the


Ekurhuleni Art Awards. Bambo has also recently made his international



exhibition debut as part of a show in Abhu-Dhabi.



of a


26-year-old Jabu Mdluli hails from the East Rand in Gauteng. In 2005 Jabu studied Graphic Design at The Open Window School of Visual

Communication (TOW). This is when his love for graphics and fashion

unfolded, and which lead to the birth of his own fashion label, Ozlo. At

the beginning of 2012 he made an audacious move and opened an Ozlo Clothing Store in the Maboneng Precinct of Johannesburg. Today, Ozlo

is a platform for many other young South African designers to showcase

their fashion talents. This proudly South African clothing store specializes in local brands and designers with vintage collections and interesting

Distell Arts & Culture /

classic feel / 59

Sterling EQ (left to right): Eriel Huang (electric violin), Carina Bruwer (flute), Renate Riedemann (electric violin), Ariella Caira (electric cello)

Sterling EQ Five years after they made their debut, the quartet known as Sterling EQ have reinvented their sound and style with their new album. Called Pulse, this new set has taken them from the limited realm of classical crossover to a broader spectrum of instrumental music that mixes and transcends genres. Classicfeel’s Warren Holden spoke to the group about this latest development in their career.


or Carina Bruwer, founding member, flautist and manager of the

Bruwer founded Sterling EQ in 2007, bringing together other like-minded,

South African Music Award (SAMA) winning quartet, Sterling

classically trained musicians who were looking to channel their talents and

EQ, the genesis of the band can be traced back to a televised

education into fields that allowed greater creative freedom and broader

concert by violinist Vanessa-Mae, which she saw when she was a

appeal than the classical arena.

teenager. ‘That was my first experience of that classical crossover

In the beginning the band included several musicians who were rotated

sound,’ she says. ‘I was completely blown away. I started dreaming about

for the various performances, depending on their availability. Around four years

instrumental pop then already and it stayed at the back of my mind.’

ago, as the group’s popularity as a live act grew, and recording possibilities

60 / classic feel

became more promising, the quartet settled into the permanent line-up we

are we going to do with it?”’ Caira adds. ‘We wanted to explore a large

know today. Together with Bruwer, the band consists of Eriel Huang (electric

scope of different genres and still get the best out of our individual sounds.’

violin), Ariella Caira (electric cello) and Renate Riedemann (electric violin). All are

To help channel their many, diverse ideas and tastes into a 13-track album,

highly accomplished performers – Bruwer holds a BMus (Hons) cum laude from

the quartet needed an experienced and open-minded producer. They found one

the University of Stellenbosch and has considerable performance experience in

in the shape of Mauritz Lotz. A seasoned composer, recording artist, producer

the classical, jazz and blues genres; Caira received a BA (Hons) in Theatre and

and guitar virtuoso, Lotz is highly respected in the South African music industry.

Performance from the University of Cape Town and has an impressive CV as both

‘He’s such a huge part of this album,’ Riedemann says, ‘he was the fifth

a musician and actress; Huang studied for her BMus at the University of Pretoria

member of the band really.’ Pulse includes a number of originals composed by

and got her MMus at the University of Cape Town; and Riedemann acquired a

Lotz, together with pieces that are based on existing, well-known melodies. It

BMus (Hons), specialising in violin performance, at the University of Stellenbosch.

is important to note that the band’s interpretations of existing pieces cannot

Considering their training, it would seem obvious that they all would have pursued career paths as soloists or orchestra members. However,

accurately be referred to as cover versions, as Bruwer explains. ‘We’ve always used existing songs,’ Bruwer says, ‘but what we wanted

although they all have a love for traditional classical music performance,

to do was create a completely new song. We accepted that we had to take

they realised early on that the classical niche offered too few opportunities

some tracks that would be recognisable. I don’t believe that an instrumental

and posed too many limitations. ‘I considered that option,’ Huang says,

album with 13 original songs would sell all that well. But we still handled all

‘but there are boundaries and limitations that you grow up with, being

the melodies in a completely new way. We took inspiration from them and

classically trained. There are only so many orchestral positions and if

built on them.’

you’re going to be a soloist, the competition is extremely intense. But I was always open to it – it seemed like the only option available. Being in a band like this was something you could only dream about.’ ‘When I was in my third year at University,’ Bruwer recalls, ‘the lead flute

‘The original themes opened the way for entirely new musical adventures,’ Huang adds. One may view this way of working as being in the ‘theme and variations’ tradition that is so well entrenched in classical music, but that is perhaps a

position in the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra opened up. As a flautist, there are

rather overly intellectual way of looking at it. What is the case on the most of

only two jobs in an orchestra so the likelihood of it becoming available is very

the tracks is that a hook or melody line merely provides the point of departure

slim. I decided to audition and I was confident that I would get it, even though

for what may almost be seen as a brand new work. One example is ‘Khulu’s

I was so much younger than anyone else that auditioned. And when I didn’t

Groove’, a piece built around the instantly recognisable refrain from Johnny

get it I was so crushed, but now in retrospect, it was the best thing that could

Clegg’s ‘Impi’. Moving this into the bass line, Sterling EQ uses it as the

have happened to me. I don’t think I would have stayed there very long because

foundation and builds new melodies on top of it. Handel’s Sarabande, Victor

I need to do my own thing, but at the time I really thought that was the only

Daniel’s ‘La Vida es un Carnaval’ and Orff’s ‘O Fortuna’ similarly provide the

thing that there was.’

basis for other tracks on the album.

Although Sterling EQ are not the first classically trained musicians

Among the Lotz originals is the title track, which opens the set. Built on

to venture outside of the strict classical realm in search of professional

an energetic, hypnotic rhythm, the track features dazzling interplay between

and creative opportunities, they are certainly among South Africa’s most

the four instruments and is an excellent attention-grabbing album opener. In

successful. They are frequently booked for performances around the country

contrast, ‘Chimera’ is slower and dreamy in feel, evoking its mythical subject

– an average of ten to twelve shows per month – and, after releasing three

matter. Pulse also includes a number called ‘Arabesque’ by none other than

albums independently, recently launched their major label debut, Pulse. ‘We

the acclaimed British composer Mike Batt. Batt happened to hear Sterling

know so many musicians who do it part-time because they love it and it’s not

EQ’s rendition of his famous Caravans theme, which he found on YouTube.

all they do,’ says Caira. ‘But to have the luxury to be a full-time musician, to

Impressed by what he heard, he expressed an interest in having the band

say this is what I do… People still ask me, “what do you do?” and when I

record another of his compositions and sent a selection of eight pieces for

say I’m a musician, the response is always, “no, but what do you really do?”

their consideration. They chose the Middle Eastern-themed ‘Arabesque’ for

We never take it for granted.’

its exoticism and its irresistibly catchy theme.

The band’s first album, Nova, was a straightforward classical

Classical, Indian, Baroque, South African and Afro-Cuban are just some of

crossover affair (‘it seems a bit generic to us now,’ Bruwer says). For

the musical territories Sterling EQ explores on Pulse. With such variety, there is

Pulse, their first release with a major record company, they wanted to do

always a risk that the overall soundscape of the album may become fractured

something completely different – something that pushed them and their

and unfocused, but this does not happen on Pulse. Together with Lotz, the

brand of electric instrumental music further than ever before. ‘We didn’t

band have managed to bring the disparate elements together into a cohesive

have a concept,’ says Bruwer, ‘we just had a list of songs that we thought

whole, and have successfully left the rather cumbersome classical crossover

would translate nicely into our particular sound.’

mantle behind, to take up a new, unique place in the world of contemporary

‘And it was also a case of “wow, we’ve got a record deal – now what

instrumental music. CF

classic feel / 61

Katherine Jenkins’ This Is Christmas Released just in time for the festive season, Katherine Jenkins’ latest album is a collection of the superstar singer’s favourite Christmas songs. aving performed a dazzling run on the US television giant

Song’) she found curios to lend the project her own unique, individual

Dancing With The Stars, performed at the Queen’s Jubilee

stamp. The album also features ‘Come What May’, featuring legendary

and taken prime spot as an ambassador for the London

tenor Placido Domingo


Olympic athletes, Katherine Jenkins has released her very first Christmas album, entitled This Is Christmas. Recorded during

One song she remembered from Midnight Mass as a youngster was ‘Sleep Quietly My Jesus’. She hunted high and low for the song but

mid-year, during the European summer, with veteran producer Mike Hedges

couldn’t find it anywhere. Eventually, her producer located the sheet music

in Malta, her ninth record is an album of traditional beauty with a mixture

for it in a children’s piano book of carols. ‘It turned out the words were

of classic carols and festive favourites.

written by someone from South Wales,’ she says.

To facilitate the sessions, Jenkins opted for a rather unique

Her reading of the song is one of the many moments on her

specification. ‘Fairy-lights, candles, giant Father Christmas’s everywhere,’

Christmas collection that remind us why Jenkins has been one of the

she instructed her collaborator. She stopped just short of fake snow. ‘I’m

premium forces in upending the international reputation of classical

not a diva, you know,’ she laughs. The setting had to be perfect for her first

repertoire over the last decade. She lends it a simple grace, knowing

Christmas album.

when to hold back and when to let rip. Consider her delicate take

In her 32 years so far, Jenkins has never missed a family Christmas

on ‘Away in a Manger’, surrounded by warm strings and an unusual

back home in Neath, South Wales. ‘Even when I’ve been in Iraq to play for

arrangement, in contrast to her girlish and sensual interpretation of

the services at that time of year, I’ve made sure I was back in the nick of

‘Santa Baby’, which might give Marilyn Monroe a run for her money,

time on Christmas Eve for the festivities beginning.’

and then the rousing and masterful on ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’.

The Jenkins’ have strict rules for the celebrations. The singer and her

Somewhere within all this, Jenkins retains the spirit of her own delivery:

sister will go to the same pub every year on Christmas Eve, meeting with

perfectly poised and infused with a gorgeous feeling for melody. It is in

old school friends, then on to Midnight Mass. In the morning the extended

her bones, her genealogy and her geography.

family come to mum’s house and in the evening nip round to Aunty Jo’s for Trivial Pursuit and Doctor Who. Because Christmas is so important to her, the record is too. From the outset, she had an exact type of album in mind – one that would take you

It wasn’t hard for Jenkins to find the spirit of the season. ‘This is the happiest time of the year for me and for a lot of people. I had to find that joy in Malta.’ Hence the theatrical recording set-up. To cap off the year with an album of pure seasonal joy and goodwill

straight to the fireside, presents wrapped, possibly with a cheeky glass

seems a fitting way to end 2012 for Katherine Jenkins. This is where she

of Baileys within the first four bars of each song. ‘I didn’t want to make

finds herself now after possibly the most demanding year yet of her decade

an abstract Christmas album. I wanted to make one that felt familiar, like

in the spotlight, a year that has seen the star push herself in directions

you’d known it for years.’

even she did not know she could go. ‘At the beginning of the year things

Aware that the bar has been raised on recent Christmas albums by

seemed very bleak,’ she recalls, ‘and it’s ending the exact opposite of that

international superstars Michael Bublé and Josh Groban, Katherine was

for me. You never know what’s round the corner. I am still shocked that any

interested in lending the record a contemporary twist. Alongside cut-glass

of this has happened. When I see the first album cover, I am so excited

readings of traditional Christmas songs both sacred (‘Away In A Manger’,

and naive. I have no idea what is to come. If you’d told me it was all this, I

‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’) and secular (‘Deck the Halls’, ‘The Christmas

would’ve never believed you.’ CF

62 / classic feel

classic feel / 63

Tenor Evergreens

Michael Renier is a world-renowned tenor, who, although born and raised in South Africa, has lived and performed in Europe for well over 30 years. Recently, he has recorded two albums of ‘popular songs done in a traditional tenor way’, bringing his music back home to his South African fans.

concerts and master classes. He also signed a recording contract with Next Music and, over the next couple of years, set to work on a pair of CD releases on which he moved from operatic work into the realm of so-called crossover music. I’ll Sing My Songs of Love includes numbers such as ‘Softly As I Leave You’, ‘The Power of Love’, ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ and ‘Love Letters’. The follow-up album, This Is Why I Sing, included more favourites, like ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, ‘I Believe’ and ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. Renier refers to these songs as ‘tenor evergreens’. Although they are all songs that have become famous in the arena of popular music, they have also been performed by some of the world’s best-known tenors, including Beniamino Gigli, Josef Schmidt, Jussi Bjoerling, Mario Lanza and Luciano Pavarotti. All of these tenors successfully performed and recorded in the fields of both ‘true’ opera and mainstream popular music. When they made their crossover from opera to popular music, they maintained their


aised in Pretoria, Michael Renier left South Africa in the

classical technique. Theirs was popular music as interpreted by classical

mid-1970s to pursue a career in opera. After making his lead

singers and this is what Renier aims for on his two CDs. ‘I sing these songs

role debut in London in the role of Rodolfo in La bohème, he

as they were sung all those years ago,’ he says, ‘in the classical opera

found himself much in demand for various roles around Europe

way. Only the arrangements and orchestrations are modern, but the “Ye

and elsewhere in the world. Setting up his base in London, he

Olde Feel” of these never-to-be-forgotten songs is retained.’ CF

travelled around the globe to countries such as Sweden, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Japan, among others, to take on lead tenor roles in works such as Otello, Andrea Chenier, Turandot, Fidelio, Tosca and Aida. In total he has played around 70 of opera’s most coveted tenor roles, appearing in his signature role of Rodolfo no less than 100 times. In 2010, Renier finally slowed down and started to reflect on his stellar career. He wrote a memoir of his life and work – Sing-Sing en Droom-Droom

Deur Die Lewe – and made a series of visits to South Africa that included

64 / classic feel

Songs For the Soul

Over the years, soprano Alma Oosthuizen has acquired a considerable reputation as a singing teacher and concert performer. Recently she released Songs for the Soul, a selection of remastered recordings of Lieder and show tunes that perfectly showcase her versatile voice.


uch of Alma Oosthuizen’s time these days is spent teaching at the George Performing Arts Studio, nurturing the vocal talents of tomorrow. Indeed, she has dedicated much of her career to teaching her craft, particularly at the universities of Potchefstroom and

the Witwatersrand, but this golden-voiced soprano has also managed to maintain a steady performing career. In 1994, she set off with pianist David Taljaard on a European tour, with acclaimed concerts in The Hague, Antwerp, Brussels, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Vienna, Berlin and Oslo. Over the years she has been much in demand for her technically perfect, thoughtful and heartfelt recitals of Lieder and musical theatre numbers, performing at universities around the country and on various radio stations. In 1999, she teamed up with Sibongile Khumalo and Malcolm Nay for a concert series called Two Divas and a Little Jazz. As a musical theatre performer, Oosthuizen has excelled in shows such as Oliver, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living Paris and A Little Sondheim Music. She has premiered several works by contemporary South African composers such as Nataniël, Ettienne van Rensburg, Marlene Wessels, Stefaans Grové and Hendrik Hofmeyer. Songs for the Soul is a remastered selection of 17 of her finest recordings. It includes Lieder by Massenet, (‘Ouvre Tes Yeux Bleus’), Grieg (‘Ich liebe dich’, Mit Einer Wasserlilie’, ‘Ein Schwan’) and Granados (‘La maja dolorosa’), as well as Afrikaans favourites like ‘Heimwee’ and ‘Afrikaanse Wiegeliedjie’. The songs perfectly demonstrate her versatile voice and her mastery of various musical styles. In particular, they prove that Oosthuizen is one of South African’s finest exponents of the art song. CF

classic feel / 65

Britain’s left-hand-only piano master Following in the wake of Nicholas McCarthy’s highly acclaimed performance at the closing ceremony of the London Paralympics in September 2012, the pianist is set for a three-date South African tour. Classicfeel introduces the world’s youngest left-hand-only pianist.


n August 2012, Nicholas McCarthy became the (thus far) only

to left-handed pianism, its history, and its specialised techniques. ‘I

left-hand-alone pianist to graduate from London’s Royal College

was exposed to all this wonderful repertoire I didn’t even know existed

of Music. For the 23-year-old, this is a major milestone in a career

– a lifetime of work – and for the first time I was on a truly level

that began nine years ago when, after teaching himself to play

playing field.’ Left-handed pianism was developed in the Romantic era

an electronic keyboard, he first began to take piano lessons,

as a way for the popular virtuosi of the day – such as Franz Liszt – to

regardless of the fact that he had been born with only one hand. It

push their showmanship to another level. The idea was to play with

was a friend’s recital of Beethoven’s ‘Waldstein’ piano sonata that

only one hand but to make it sound like one was playing with both

awakened his interest in classical piano. From that moment on,

hands. Even many of today’s finest pianists have not mastered the

any other career possibilities fell by the wayside. McCarthy was

technique, which involves dexterous pedal work in order to fill out

determined to become a pianist and nothing else.

the sound and the kind of digital control that even some of the most

McCarthy is now a highly in-demand performer in the United

complicated works for two hands don’t usually require. McCarthy

Kingdom and elsewhere. He appears often on British radio and television

explains: ‘You have to be very clever at “voicing” the different parts.

and most recently he undertook what he regards as the highlight of his

A good way of thinking of it is to imagine your hand split into two –

performing career so far, playing piano at the London Paralympic Games,

your little and fourth finger are the “left hand” and the others are your

together with the Paraorchestra. Getting to this stage has required a

“right hand”.’ Composers such as Liszt, Gounod and Scriabin wrote

great deal of resilience. Early on, he was left to teach himself to play

pieces for this technique.

using an electric keyboard. When he first tried to enter a music school,

In the 20th Century, Austrian pianist, Paul Wittgenstein became the

many people told the young hopeful, who hails from Epsom Downs in

first musician to work in the left-handed tradition out of necessity rather

Surrey, not to bother as he could never possibly succeed with only one

than choice. Wittgenstein lost his right arm in the First World War and,

hand. ‘It was soul crushing,’ he recalls, ‘because that’s all I wanted to

rather than give up his beloved piano, he commissioned left-hand piano

do – I could feel it would be an uphill struggle but it made me more

works from the likes of Ravel, Prokofiev and Britten. ‘I’m always thankful

determined, I’m quite a stubborn character.’

to Paul Wittgenstein as he expanded the repertoire phenomenally,’ says

His determination paid off – at the age of 17, he secured a place at the Guildhall School of Music. He then went on to the Royal College of Music, where he would later make history. The college’s head of keyboard, Prof.

McCarthy, who also actively seeks out composers from whom he can commission new works. Aside from working purely for the love of music and his instrument,

Vanessa Latarche, has said that her pupil had been ‘incredibly enterprising’

McCarthy also strives to set a positive example to other people who may

in overcoming some big challenges such as developing the stamina to

believe that their disabilities hold them back. ‘There are people in my

present a 50-minute recital with one arm. ‘He has been a great inspiration

position who have counseling,’ he says, ‘and I just think: “Please get over

to many of his fellow students in showing what it is possible to achieve

it and make something of yourself”. You can turn it into an advantage.’

with a disability,’ she said. McCarthy recalled that ‘When I first joined the

After a concert he gave in Croydon in the south of London, two young

orchestra, a couple of the musicians who are partially sighted and blind

boys approached him. ‘They had arms just like mine and they said, “We

didn’t believe I was playing with one hand – that was a big compliment

just didn’t realise… but now we want to learn the piano”. That was a

to me. The music is all written for the left hand alone, I’m not changing

lovely moment.’

anything, I’m playing the music as it was written. It’s written very cleverly,

McCarthy will make his first visit to South Africa in February. His

but you’ve got to be very quick and good with the pedalling to sustain the

programme is set to include such pieces as Gounod’s Meditation on

bass notes while playing the top notes.’

Bach’s Prelude no. 1, Carl Reinecke’s Piano Sonata for the Left Hand in

When he first started learning to play on that electronic keyboard

C minor and Liszt’s left-hand reinterpretation of Schubert’s Der Erlkönig,

years ago, McCarthy could have had no way of knowing that there was

among others. The concerts will take place at Cape Town’s International

already a sizable repertoire of music written specifically to be played

Convention Centre on the 9th, at Durban City Hall on the 13th and at the

with only one hand. It was only at the Guildhall that he was introduced

Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg on the 15th. CF

Transcending borders through music Durban-based cellist, Marguerite Spies, currently the only South African member of The World Orchestra, writes for Classicfeel about her experiences on the international ‘music for peace’ organisation’s most recent tour – to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. he World Orchestra, ‘Cultural Ambassadors for Peace’ is an


surprisingly good. We played Rossini’s William Tell Overture, Beethoven’s

international youth orchestra that meets twice a year for a

Sixth Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony. The concert was filled

couple of weeks to live and make music together to the highest

with explosive energy and for the first time I felt that the cello section came

standards. Every tour is in a different place and on each one the

together as a team. I find Maestro Josep Vicent’s interpretation of this

orchestra looks different, made up partly of returning members

intense programme very deep and unique. With the orchestra being young

and new additions. In August 2012 The World Orchestra was the resident

and enthusiastic, everyone was alert and followed him very well, so he could

orchestra at the Pollenca Music Festival, a popular festival among tourists

create many passionate and intense moments with this orchestra. The high

and celebrities. Pollenca is a small Mediterranean town in the north-east

point of the concert for me was the cello solo in the second movement of the

of Mallorca. I was reinvited to the Mallorcan tour as principal cellist. This

Tchaikovsky, a time to let go and just enjoy ourselves completely.

was to be my third adventure with The World Orchestra, with the first two having been Spain and Mexico. The first week was filled with the beautiful sounds of Beethoven’s and

In our free time The World Orchestra was taken for a day out. We drove a very beautiful and scenic route through the mountains in the north of Mallorca and explored the historic towns of Soller and Valldemossa,

Tchaikovsky’s sixth symphonies – our programme for our first concert. The

where Chopin lived for a while. I joined a few friends in visiting the town

orchestra was very good, enabling us to finish our rehearsals earlier than

centre of Alcudia. We explored the many beautiful shops and ended up

planned every day. This left us with enough time to go for a long swim to

eating real Italian pizza and typical Spanish tapas in the town square.

relax our hard worked muscles in the cool sea before dinner at 21h00.

What a treat to have the opportunity to experience a little bit of the typical

In the beginning I was quite nervous about being a principal. It was a

Mediterranean scenery, cuisine and culture, the towns with their festive

fantastic opportunity for me, but also a big responsibility. However I soon

squares and characteristic cafes. The World Orchestra also attends a

realised that I prepared adequately and I could lead with confidence even

screening of The Artist at the festival. The cinema is outdoors with a

though I lack experience in the position. The eight players in my section

three-storey big screen with surround sound, the works! To experience

are all very good, but most of us did not bring our own cellos, so we were

this beautiful Mediterranean summer’s evening under the stars, with an

given cellos for the duration of the tour. We struggled to get used to our

award-winning film, is indescribable. We also had the opportunity to meet

new instruments and it is not easy to adjust to a section if you are not

the Oscar winning composer, Ludovic Bource.

comfortable with your own instrument yet. So in one of our siesta breaks

The second week of the tour began and so we opened the next chapter

we had a quick sectional rehearsal just to play a few scales and passages

with a new programme for our last concert. Every day was unbelievably hot

together to get used to each other’s sound and intonation. It helped

and humid and we worked very hard. We had the hottest time of the day

tremendously and I found that all the cellists were very quick to adjust.

free (13h00 – 19h00), and we spent it in the sea, because it was simply too

Our first concert day finally arrived, the moment we had all been

warm and humid to be anywhere but in the water. Our evening rehearsals

waiting for. Our hard work was finally to be tested. The final dress rehearsal

started at 21h00 and continued until 23h30. It wasn’t much easier working

seemed a little shaky, giving us a bit of a wake-up call before the main

at this time because the heat and humidity continued unabated.

event. The venue was an open-air quad in a monastery and the acoustics are

68 / classic feel

The World Orchestra tours have the habit of taking you right out of

Photographs by Warren Christian Ganser

your comfort zone and putting you on the spot in many situations. This tour

and we had lots of fun playing through our encores, jumping up and down,

was no exception. It can be challenging to work with people from different

moving around and twisting the cellos, the works. After the concert we had

backgrounds, cultures and music schools. With a bunch of enthusiastic

the opportunity to meet Queen Sofia, who was interested when she heard

young people in a big group, we tend to try and prove ourselves and our

that I come from South Africa and I found myself in a conversation with her

abilities to those around us. Many of the orchestra members are very

about my country. She loves South Africa and tells me that her sister was

gifted in their technical skills, but have not yet learned what it means to

born Cape Town. So there I was, chatting away with the Queen of Spain!

be a ‘team player’. However, I find that Josep Vicent has a very good way

Our bus arrived back at our hostel at 2h00. We were all still on a high from

of dealing with these issues and that he constantly reminds us that we

the events of the concert, but finally we were also very sad that this was our last

can all learn from each other and that we all have to lay down our own

night together. Among all the happy moments, there was also the occasional tear,

ambitions if we want to create something magnificent together. After all,

reminding us that the experience, as always, was over too quickly. We know that

we are ‘cultural ambassadors for peace’ and we have to communicate

we shared many valuable moments on this tour and some of us might not see

our cultural differences if we want to live out that status. And what

each other again. We truly became a family for two weeks and it was hard to say

makes this orchestra really unique is that we finally discover that even

goodbye to each other and another great adventure.

though we speak different languages and have different customs we

For the past three years I have been the only South African on The

can communicate through the universal language of music and be united

World Orchestra tours. I have enjoyed being an ambassador for my country

through sharing and playing music together.

and the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and have had endless conversations

Our last day arrived – the day of our final concert. We performed

with others about my beautiful country. What I learn every time is that

Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with three talented young soloists from

The World Orchestra is not just about the music, it is about sharing our

Spain. Our symphony for the evening was Dvorak’s 7th Symphony, a rather

lives together and learning how to relate to others from many different

unfamiliar work and rarely performed, but it has a lot of potential and

walks of life. The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, Kloof Rotary and East

many beautiful moments. As we were about to go on stage we received

West Music have been a great support to me and my adventures with The

a message that Queen Sofia of Spain had arrived unannounced to attend

World Orchestra. Through their support I have been inspired to register my

our concert. We entered the stage and played yet another energy filled

own non-profit organisation, UBUNYE Music and Arts, which is currently

concert of note! Each person put in every effort and every bit of energy

working to facilitate the UNITED IN MUSIC project in South Africa. This

and everything came together. I found that all that energy that we used

project will bring The World Orchestra to South Africa in February 2013

during our rehearsals to prove ourselves to one another, we now used to

to collaborate with different music institutions and music projects in

play together, and wow, what an experience. The audience was ecstatic

underprivileged communities. CF

classic feel / 69

Standard Bank Young Artists 2013

The Standard Bank Young Artists of 2013. Standing: Shane Cooper (jazz), Fana Tshabalala (dance), Prince Lamla (drama). Seated: Mary Sibande (visual art), Anthea Moys (performance art), Runette Botha (music).

70 / classic feel

The latest winners of South Africa’s most distinguished arts awards have finally been announced. Introducing the winners of the 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist Awards.

here are few more eagerly awaited events on South Africa’s


in Grahamstown. Regarding his Award, Tshabalala says, ‘Winning this

arts calendar than the annual announcement of the Standard

award means a new beginning in my career and more opportunities for me

Bank Young Artists. In November, the latest group, consisting of

as an artist. I think this award will also show people that there is hope in

six diverse and unique arts practitioners, was made public after

the future of dance.’

Bank Young Artists are celebrated for their vibrant and cutting edge

singer and recitalist with an extensive repertoire in oratorio and other

creativity, their amazing intricacy of creative expression and their enormous

sacred music, ranging from Bach through Mozart to Rutter. Botha made

talents which contribute to developing a stronger and more prosperous

the decision to pursue music professionally after first acquiring a degree

creative economy, and also to making a significant contribution towards

in accounting. She made her professional debut at the Royal Albert Hall,

defining our country’s cultural identity,’ says National Arts Festival Director,

performing in a gala concert alongside José Carreras and Kiri te Kanawa.

Ismail Mahomed. ‘The Standard Bank Young Artist Award gives recognition

She is now based in Germany as a member of Staatstheater Kassel’s Opera

to the trajectory that their professions are taking to reflect the multifarious

Studio. ‘I’m very grateful to Standard Bank for this award. I believe that

ways in which these artists work and to recognise the excellence of their

the exposure is invaluable. I hope that through this award I will get the

work. They join an esteemed and celebrated group of previous winners of

opportunity to do more work at home, and then in effect, invest my talent

this prestigious award.’

in South Africa again,’ Botha says.

much discussion and speculation. ‘This year’s group of Standard

Mandie van der Spuy, Standard Bank Head of Arts and Jazz

Runette Botha is a soprano who is highly sought after as a concert

Mary Sibande has earned quite a reputation for her now almost iconic

Sponsorship said, ‘Standard Bank is proud to have been associated with

sculptures through which she employs the human form as a vehicle to

these prestigious awards for 29 years. Our support has contributed to

explore the construction of identity in a postcolonial South African context.

nurturing and promoting the careers of many talented artists who have

She attempts to critique stereotypical depictions of (particularly black)

achieved great acclaim nationally and many at international level as well.

women in our society. Her solo exhibition Long Live the Dead Queen,

Apart from ensuring that South Africa’s artistic heritage is preserved, we

with its poignant exploration of stereotypical ideas regarding domestic

see our investment in the arts as a significant contributor to the social

workers, set Johannesburg and Grahamstown abuzz in 2010. On winning

cohesion of our diverse cultures while simultaneously contributing to the

the Standard Bank Young Artist Award she says, ‘I think this kind of

local economy.’

validation is needed and is very encouraging for young, up-coming artists,

The winners – in no particular order – are Fana Tshabalala for Dance, Runette Botha for Music, Mary Sibande for Visual Art, Prince Lamla for Drama, Shane Cooper for Jazz and Anthea Moys for Performance Art. An alumnus of Moving Into Dance Mophatong (MIDM) and currently

in particular female artists, to be recognised nationally in South Africa for their artistic talents and contributions to South African art.’ Simthembile Prince Lamla (31), underscores the importance of the mentors who have helped him tailor his success and to discover new

a member of PJ Sabbagha’s Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative,

professional opportunities in his career. He started his acting and directing

Fana Tshabalala hails from Sebokeng and started his career in the

career at a community theatre group in the late 90’s in Qwaqwa. He trained

performing arts via his involvement with various community groups. As

at the Market Theatre Laboratory, which opened up an opportunity to

well as honing his skills as a choreographer and dancer with MIDM, he

attend a short course on text and interpretation in Sweden. On his return,

also set up numerous community programmes in Soweto, Alexandra,

he went home to Qwaqwa, where he met the late Ohentse Bodibe, with

Diepsloot and Tembisa, reflecting his belief that, ‘As a young artist I

whom he co-directed a number of plays, including Coal Yard that went

think I have a responsibility to bring a change in the community through

on to win the Market Theatre Laboratory’s Zwakala Festival in 2005,

my work, tackling the current issues and bringing solutions so that the

premiering at the Market Theatre’s Laager to rave reviews and therafter

next generation can learn from them, and when they start creating they

playing at PACOFS and for a season at the National Arts Festival. ‘I never

also become relevant in their work.’ More recently, he participated in a

saw this award coming,’ says Lamla. ‘It is a key in this industry. I am happy

residency in France, where he worked on his new commissioned work

that it came at this stage in my life where I am very hungry to direct more

Gates of Hell, which was performed as a duet in February at Dance

and more plays. I am going to use this award as a motivation to work even

Umbrella. This work was also presented at the 2012 National Arts Festival

harder. I wish my late best friend, Ohentse Bodibe, was still alive to

classic feel / 71

celebrate this moment with me. He is the only guy who knows more than everyone what this award means to me.’ Bassist, composer, producer and teacher Shane Cooper is the 2013 recipient of the jazz award. He has performed and recorded with some of the leading jazz artists and bands in South Africa including Zim Ngqawana, Kyle Shepherd, Feya Faku, Bokani Dyer, Marcus Wyatt, Louis Moholo-Moholo, Babu and more. It is with some of these groups that he has toured around Europe, India, Africa and the US. Now 27 years old, he already has eleven years of experience in composition and music performance. ‘Receiving an award like this is an honour, because it is recognition for a difficult road to travel, and I have a lot of respect for the artists who have won before,’ says Cooper. ‘It is an opportunity to get more out of the time I spend working on my © Suzy Bernstein

music, which is great. For the artists I would say this support is very important, and can do a great deal to help push one’s career forward. This kind of support for the arts can help cultivate more creativity, and exploration, and I would love to see more institutions doing this kind of thing in South Africa.’ Anthea Moys has received the Standard Bank Young Artist Award in a new category, that of performance art. ‘I think it is just fantastic that Prince Lamla (drama) Shane Cooper (jazz)

© Suzy Bernstein

©Adam McConachie

Anthea Moys (performance art)

72 / classic feel

© Suzy Bernstein

Fana Tshabalala (dance)

Performance Art is being recognised for the first time in South Africa with this award, since Performance Art is relatively new here. I see myself playing a role as both an artist and a teacher in developing new spaces for performance art in South Africa,’ says Moys. She completed her Masters degree at the University of the Witwatersrand, with a focus on structured play and performance in public space. Her interest in play finds expression in her work through the staging of playful collaborative performances. ‘Winning this award is a huge affirmation. I feel braver to do what I want to do and even though I feel a bit afraid, it’s a good kind of fear… Change or an engagement with anything new is usually scary – but it means that there is risk and where there is risk I feel most alive… so it’s that good kind of fear…’ As part of their prize, each of the winners will be featured on the Main programme of the 2013 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown (27 June – 7 July 2013), where they will be given the opportunity to develop and première new works. The winners are also given various opportunities to represent South Africa on international stages as a result of their association with the Award. These six artists have joined an exclusive, yet ever-growing ‘club’ of artists who have led, and continue to lead, the growth and development of South Africa’s arts and culture industries. CF

Mary Sibande (visual art)

© Adam McConachie

© Adam McConachie

Runette Botha (music)

classic feel / 73

From bottom up to lights in the skies Ismail Mahomed, Director of the National Arts Festival, writes for Classicfeel.


hen a leading South African theatre director tells you that his first pay cheque was quite modest but at least the prawns he received as in-kind payment for his work were good, you should understand that this is not a story from a stand-up

comedy routine. Recently on my Facebook page I asked South African theatre practitioners to flashback to their first appointment in the theatre sector and to provide some indication of what they earned from their first job in the theatre. ‘I worked for the Adam Leslie Theatre in Doornfontein in 1971 as an Assistant Stage Manager and then as a Stage Manager. I was paid R66 a week at my best … and was also paid in large prawns,’ said Malcolm Purkey. Forty-one years later, Malcolm Purkey is the Artistic Director of the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. It’s a long way from his humble beginnings and small wage. Purkey has paid his dues as one of South Africa’s most respectable directors. His multi-award production Sophiatown, which he created with the Junction Avenue Theatre Company

7744 / classic cla lassssic ic feel fee eel

and staged at the Market Theatre in the early eighties will probably be remembered as one of his most celebrated works.


Going even further back to 1943, Percy Tucker, the man who founded Computicket, was a backstage worker at the East Rand Theatre Club before he was promoted to become stage manager. The late Barney Simon,

newly emerging actors who are fast carving their names in South Africa’s

who co-founded the Market Theatre, was Tucker’s assistant. Over his

theatre lights are spreading the gospel that starting from rock bottom is

illustrious career, Tucker had the opportunity of working with some of the

really the best way to understand the complex nature of making really

best directors in South Africa but it was the charismatic Taubie Kushlick

good theatre productions.

who inspired him to create Computicket. ‘Taubie Kushlick appointed me as lighting designer but things went

South African producer Sam de Romijn, who recently opened doors for Standard Bank Young Artist Neil Coppen to take his production Tin Bucket

wrong,’ recalls Tucker. In a fit of anger she told him that all that he was

Drum to New York started her career as a stage manager in 1999 in Jagged

good for was selling tickets. ‘And that’s how Show Service was started in

Little Spill. Nowadays, she speaks as eloquently in stage technical jargon

1954, which became Computicket in 1971.’

as she would speak with international producers and arts brokers.

Cape Town-based director Jaqueline Domisse, who has staged most

Cape Town-based director Pieter Bosch Botha, who is fast carving a

of Peter Haye’s award winning and acclaimed plays, started her first job

name for himself as a director, was fortunate that both his parents worked

in 1984 as a dresser to Miss World beauty queen Anneliene Kriel in Pieter

in the theatre in the early 1980s. ‘I grew up running around the corridors

Toerien’s production of the The Wrong Time of the Year. The show featured

of the State Theatre. I was addicted to finding out how every aspect of

the young Soli Philander and the deeply inspiring Richard Haines. Domisse,

theatre works. When I was older, I hung around the Joburg Civic Theatre

who also teaches at the University of Cape Town, says that she still

often helping the likes of Tobie Cronje with his quick changes and writing

continues to tell her students about the legendary preparation that Richard

notes for Janice Honeyman”, he notes.

Haines would undertake before a show. ‘He would arrive at the theatre two hours before curtain up. I

Durban-based theatre personality Karen Jeynes also grew up in rehearsals while her mother directed school plays. Her first real posting in

remember him standing on the stage in the empty theatre doing his vocal

the theatre was a holiday job at the Baxter Theatre when she was fifteen

warm-ups, ending with a string of Shakespeare sonnets. One sonnet per

years. She had to staple gun the set for Madame de Sade.

breath. One breath, 14 lines. Another breath, 14 more lines. I swept and

It’s been humble jobs with low salaries for many of these South

prepared props and ironed those interminable costumes in awe. Listening.

African stars. But it was passion and perseverance that kept bringing

Learning,’ recalls Domisse.

them back to the theatre after each new assignment. From starting

The founder of the award winning company FTH:K, Rob Murray also

off as backstage workers to becoming international pioneers,

almost started his career as a dresser for Malcolm Terry but the job went

from earning a pittance to now being guaranteed a monthly state-

to Durban’s leading designer, Greg King. Murray instead got the job as

subsidised salary, there is a rich history in South African theatre that

a follow spot operator for the Joburg Follies when it was staged at the

must never go unrecorded.

Hexagon Theatre in Pietermaritzburg. When Murray brought his own first

It is more than just a testament to the success of the arts. It also

show to the National Arts Festival Fringe he earned the handsome sum of

tells a tale about how the arts and the economy are constantly changing.

one hundred rand for performing in two productions.

Nobody tells it nicer than ballet dancer Fiona Budd who says, ‘As an

Starting at the bottom and moving up in the arts industry is a legendary tale. Even decades after Percy Tucker has gone into retirement,

aspirant PACT Ballet dancer in the 90s I earned R500 a month. Now I can’t even fill my petrol tank on that!’ CF

classic feel / 75

The dual role of the arts Michelle Constant, CEO of Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), considers the dual role of the arts in society – namely its duty to be both ‘attractive’ and ‘imperative’. he award winning author, Jonathan Frantzen, in his thought-


provoking book of essays How to be Alone, addresses the conundrum that is the survival of the arts in society. Frantzen writes, ‘Blaming the novel’s eclipse on infernal technology and treasonous literary critics...will not undo the damage.

Neither will the argument that reading enriches us. Ultimately if novelists want their work read, the responsibility for making it attractive and imperative is their own.’ Insert the “arts” into the quote, and one comes up with a similar poser, ‘Blaming the arts’ eclipse on infernal technology and treasonous arts critics... will not undo the damage. Neither will the argument that the arts enrich us. Ultimately if artists want their work engaged with, the responsibility for making it attractive and imperative is their own.’

76 / classic feel

On my drives through Johannesburg, I have had the fortunate opportunity to connect with work that is both ‘attractive’ and ‘imperative’; work that argues loudly for its existence, and for our engagement. Faith47’s superb public art-works highlight the ‘other’ in our life, demonstrating powerfully how our South African lives are conjoined. On an electrical box just outside our office is a life size paste-up of a man, perhaps he is homeless, perhaps he is jobless. He stares out at passing cars, reminding us of the scratchiness that is the communal space of the city. A little further up Jan Smuts Ave, one sees another paste-up – this time a larger group of men, also apparently waiting. Likewise, in the neighbourhood, the exhibition of photographers Alfredo Jaar and David Goldblatt – Gold in the Morning and On the Mine – at the Goodman Gallery, are stark reminders of the disparities that currently test the country. It is this ‘imperative’ in the arts, even more so than the ‘attractive’, which talks to our humanity. It is the ‘imperative’ that is at the heart of the tensions between different cultures, as provoked by The Spear; likewise it is the ‘imperative’ that generally forms the basis of speaking truth to power. This creative engagement, in itself a form of public dialogue, was recently deliberated at an HRC hosted Round Table on ‘Navigating the Freedom of Expression’. In the document, Freedom of Expression and Hate Speech Provincial Dialogues it stated, ‘public dialogues on contentious issues, which hinder the full enjoyment of democracy, seem necessary’ (pg. two). Furthermore, it stated, there was a need to ‘create space for mutual and non-adversarial conversation’ (pg. three). In the tension between the right to freedom and what is deemed as hate speech, is a journey that should be inhabited not by a right or a wrong, but rather a public debate wooing reconciliation, and moments of common ground, on all sides. Presenting the Keynote Address, Wits academic Professor Tawana Kupe highlighted how the arts, whilst engaging our imagination, often did so

Alfredo Jaar. Gold in the morning, 1985. Serra Pelada, Brazil. Lightbox with color transparency

in provocative, and sometimes offensive ways. Kupe stressed that the arts are central to living a democratic life, but said that, in the context of transition, there are great complexities, saying, ‘The schisms of the past, marked by divisions, mean that artistic freedom becomes insult or attack on dignity; the exercise of artistic freedom can divide further and resurrect ghosts of the past.’ Underscoring these challenges, he argued that although ‘we cannot forget the past, we should not live in it’ and that ultimately the nature of creativity is one where ‘artists have always been a thorn in the flesh of people in power’, indeed that this was a state of being, which should not be forsaken. (The comment harks back to the quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, ‘I’ll have grounds/ more relative than this/ the play’s the thing/ Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King’). Whilst the conversation draws attention to often starkly oppositional views as was recently heard in a debate between Mac Maharaj and Zapiro on Talk Radio 702, vital to the discussion should be an acknowledgement of the import, the value and the endurance of the arts. Even though, as Frantzen says, the onus lies with the artist to create works of ‘imperative’, it is up to broader society to recognise that without these works, our experience of humanity cannot and will not be interpreted, and the coming of age that South Africa aspires to, will remain a distant fiction. CF

David Goldblatt. On the bank, President Steyn No.4 Shaft, Welkom. June 1969. Silver gelatin print on fibre based paper

classic feel / 77

Whale spotting Mark Strathmore, Ecosystem Alliances at Nokia South Africa, demystifies IT and electronics for Classicfeel. write this article whilst in the beautiful city of Cape Town. I’m struck by


both feelings of happiness for what Cape Town has achieved as a city, and sadness for how far my home town of Johannesburg has been left behind. It irks me to say this, but it is painfully clear to all who would honestly observe that Cape Town is closer to a Melbourne or San Francisco whilst

Johannesburg has taken a leaf out the book of mismanagement. Now that I have enraged one group of Johannesburg based readers whilst the Cape Town readers are overjoyed, allow me to explain. I was in Cape Town to attend a number of meetings around the ‘Helsinki meets Cape Town’ initiative (see whereby the Finnish city of Helsinki hands the title of ‘World Design Capital’ to the fair city of Cape Town in 2014. Whilst I was sitting in the council chambers, listening to the mayors of the two cities detail their plans, I reflected on what the hallmarks of a great city are. Firstly, it would be good governance. Secondly, it would be a great culture (for example tourism, safety, nightlife, accessible landmarks). Finally, it would be ease of access to information, transport, and amenities. Each year, The Economist’s intelligence unit publishes a list of the ‘most

liveable’ cities in the world, based on amongst others: low personal risk, effective infrastructure and availability of goods and services. You can see the report here: report.aspx?campaignid=Liveability2012 In this year’s survey Helsinki featured eighth, whilst of the remaining nine positions four were in Australia, three in Canada, and one each in Austria and New Zealand. Academically, one can debate the order of the cities on the list, but if you have ever visited any of them there will be no denying the weight that subconsciously lifts off your shoulders as you stroll through the streets, frequent the cafés, and revel in the culture. For the first time in a South African city, I felt some of that in Cape Town.

78 / classic feel

Helsinki’s theme for World Design Capital was ‘Open Helsinki –

access to information essentially means access to broadband. A strong

Embedding Design in Life’. From their web site: ‘For Helsinki openness equals

correlation has been shown between broadband penetration and growth in

transparency, curiosity, global responsibility, and innovation.’ To me, this is

GDP, for low and middle income countries this has been shown to be in the

the core of what I consider the essential ingredients for a great city. Here in

order of 1.25% GDP increase per 10% increase in broadband penetration.

Cape Town, I was struck by the fact that a number of things are being done

This number is oft quoted by speakers, and it always irks me when

correctly. Firstly, there is a genuine effort (and rapid progress) towards an

numbers are thrown around without references, so here is the somewhat

integrated transport solution that connects trains, busses, and taxis. The

cumbersome reference for a very good report:

typical hub and spoke design that anyone who has travelled internationally


will recognise. Coupled with this, the familiar expectation that one can

see page 4 table 1.

move between points of interest with relative ease and with some certainty

At this point, SARS, our revenue collection agency and unsurprisingly one

of adherence to a time table. For example, the city’s ‘MyCiti’ busses have

of our most efficient government departments, should be sitting up and taking

dedicated lanes, and actually connect with other means of transport (unlike

notice: a 1.25% increase in GDP has positively massive tax implications!

for example Johannesburg’s fleet of largely empty Gautrain busses which

Usually, in this type of conversation at the dinner table, someone will point

connect to, well, very little). Additionally, the MyCiti busses have dedicated

out the legacy issues which South Africa faces to this day. It is at that point

traffic lights which speed their progress through the city.

which I in turn point out that Japan suffered the effects of not one, but two,

Of course, I am at heart a lover of technology, and for me the thing that

Atomic weapons and that much of Europe was, literally, bombed flat only one

Cape Town is doing really well is putting technology to use for its citizens.

generation ago. Whilst being mindful and respectful of the issues we face, it is

For example, the signs above the highways that have been off or blank for

important not to use our tribulations as an excuse not to perform.

years in Johannesburg actually apprise one of traffic conditions in Cape

This brings me back to the subject line of this article: whale spotting!

Town. There is a great Windows Phone app called ‘WhereIsMyTransport’

Although I was in Cape Town for business, I had the weekend at leisure

that shows where and when one can expect the next MyCiti bus (Android

and had arrived in Cape Town with the hope of spotting some of the late

and iPhone versions on the way). is a mobile focussed

straggler Southern Right Whales that frequent Hermanus. How did I know

web site that allows one to see not only the busses, but also the Metrorail

that the whales would be there?, of course! My plane

trains, and Golden Arrow busses. In recent years, there has been a

tickets were booked online, I checked in online, my ticket was electronic,

‘semigration’ of skilled application development talent to the Western

and my itinerary was stored in my smartphone. Although I did not have

Cape, and the region now resembles a mini San Francisco in terms of the

occasion to use the public transport, I noted with satisfaction that the

abundance of creative talent.

two navigation giants, Nokia Maps and Google Maps both showed all the

One clear differentiator between countries that lead, and those that do not, is the attitude to access to information. Successful and wealthy

MyCiti bus stations. Finally, nothing is perfect (my hotel was not exactly located on the

countries promote and allow access to information, whilst poor and

map), but it’s a great feeling when the city and the technology complement

unsuccessful countries do not. Of course, in today’s world of technology,

each other!. CF

classic feel / 79

Phil Alcock, Executive Chef at Two Oceans Restaurant, Cape Point

classic chefs Phil Alcock is an award-winning chef who has been in the industry for well over 20 years. He learned his craft with some of the most renowned chefs of our time such as Raymond Blanc, Marco Pierre White and the Roux brothers. While working in the United Kingdom he was awarded a Michelin star. Here in South Africa, he has worked as an executive chef at some of the country’s most distinguished hotels, including the Cape Grace and the Palazzo. He is currently the executive chef at Cape Point’s popular Two Oceans restaurant.

80 / classic feel


Why did you become a chef, and how did you learn your art? At the age of 14 I started to work part-time in a kitchen peeling vegetables and washing pots and pans. It was here that I found my love affair for the kitchen. At 16 I enrolled into Bournemouth and Poole College of further education and completed a diploma in catering. Since then I have worked in various top establishments worldwide, learning my art in the kitchens over very long hours and I’m still learning every day now. Describe your approach to cooking.

Describe the best meal you have ever eaten?

My approach to cooking is to keep things as natural as possible, with a

The most recent was at the Round House for my anniversary, another was

huge dash of passion.

at Le Manoir Aux Quatre Sasion with Raymond Blanc.

What trends in cooking have you noticed recently?

Describe the most disastrous meal you’ve ever prepared or your

A wider use of farmed sustainable foods.

most disastrous day in the kitchen. One that comes to mind is one New Year’s Eve when a supplier failed

Name three tools no kitchen should be without.

to deliver the fish that I had pre-ordered a week in advance. After

A sharp knife, a non-stick pan and a stainless steel bowl. You can pretty

several frustrating phonecalls bringing the same answer – that it will

much make most things with these three items.

be on its way – I sent my sous chef to go and collect the fish only to find that the supplier had closed. An hour before service I had to

What are some of your favourite ingredients at the moment, and why?

change all the menus, now with three different copies as I did not

Crayfish, as it is in season and once you have cooked it, it looks stunning

have enough of one fish to put on one menu, then I had to explain

without having to do much to it; salt as it is essential for cooking; and

to the guests as they arrived that the menu that they would not be

truffles as the aroma is just ‘wow’.

getting the menu they were expecting. In the middle of service the supplier arrived with two boxes of frozen fish, thinking that nothing

The most common mistake people make when cooking is...

was wrong. In my frustration I chased him down the street, throwing

Having no common sense.

the fish after him! However disastrous days happen very seldom, but it’s very painful

For a dinner party for some of my favourite people, I would make...

when they do, as we always strive to give our guests 100 per cent.

Simple fresh food and plenty of good wine, as I have no kitchen at the moment and am rebuilding my kitchen on my own.

What would you describe as your trademark dish and why? My braised stuffed oxtail. This dish I made for the Table of Peace and

Two guests I would love to have at a dinner party are...

Unity, attended by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. He came up to me

Sir Richard Branson and Lewis Hamilton if he lets me have a drive in his F1 car.

personally to say that this was the best meal he had ever had. CF

classic feel / 81

classic wine Robertson Wine Valley … more than an experience. It’s a lifestyle!


ocated in the Boland, the Robertson Wine Valley offers one final

of overflowing baskets into barrels and the rolling up of pants – there

glimpse of the beautiful Cape Winelands before the traveller

are grapes to be stomped on and fun to be had – this is our “Hands-on-

passes through into the Little Karoo. Here, the perfect marriage of

Harvest” festival.

blue sky, green vines, vibrant people and country hospitality at its best makes one slow down, linger a bit and indulge in all that this

valley of wine and roses has to offer. Thousands of people make the journey to the Robertson Valley year after year, whether it be to indulge in the fruits of the earth at one of the

While the vineyards are still decked out in the last vestiges of orange and yellow and late autumn starts to tickle its cold fingers down your spine, it is time to throw open the barn doors and invite the world to come and celebrate at our Wacky Wine Weekend. Time has been the winemaker’s assistant and the first of the crop is

47 wineries, to savour the local olive and cheese products, relax at the

ready to drink. Throughout the Valley tents are up and tables and chairs

natural hot springs, enjoy the magnificence of nature on a quiet cruise

dusted off. Musicians come from far and wide and a buzz of excitement

down the Breede River, or maybe one of the many outdoor activities on

vibrates through the air. We rejoice in the product of last year’s labour and

offer which include hiking, fishing, game drives or 4x4 routes. And of

the rest that is to come and in life itself.

course they come for the festivities. When the sun rides high in the heavens, it is time to bring in the harvest, a time when, in days of old, the whole community came together. Family, neighbours and friends gathered to work from sunrise to sundown

Once winter has pulled its blanket over the earth and the ground is frozen solid, we gather our loved ones around us and savour life. If time normally runs, she now sashays for us to enjoy the annual ‘Robertson Slow’. Fires are lit in hearths and we listen to stories while drinking robust reds and

to bring in the crop. Our sense of community may have changed, but it is

soothing sweets. The gleam of candlelight on polished wood is as rich as the

still a time for people, who are passionate about the potential within a

food we eat, the dancing flames as smooth as velvet. We find comfort in friends,

humble bunch of grapes, to come together.

in stories and in company while an aroma of spices fill the air. It is the season of

Children still play in the vineyards while brothers or best friends compete to collect a better share and catch the eye of a pretty girl. There

flavoursome curries and stews, honeyed pastries and pleasing pastas. Out of the cocoon of winter comes ‘Wine on the River’ and the fresh

are refreshments aplenty and food for the soul as well. Sore muscles

and colorful palette of spring. This is the season of growth and renewal.

will be as pleasant a reminder of a day’s work well done as the heft of

Every year there are new shoots in the vineyards and a new beginning for

the grape is of the summer. Yet nothing is as special as the emptying

the rest of us. The rays of the sun invite us to throw open the shutters,

82 / classic feel

open windows to let in fresh air and dust off the garden furniture. We fall

and disappearing to the south-east, and is found not far from Ashton

in love, reconnect with old friends, drink Chardonnay and Sauvignon and

just off the R60. Climate, soil and willing hands combined with the

sway to the soothing sounds of jazz and blues.

De Wet family’s innovation and passion, ensures that the estate is

The season invites us. We can start afresh, make the most of our time, embrace the outdoors, tone down and become a better and lighter version of our indulgent winter self. So bring out the picnic blankets, pack the baskets of fruit and wine and let us spend some time on the river, away from it all. With in excess of 47 wineries in the area one is spoilt for choice when it comes to wine. One of South Africa’s longest running cricket partnerships was recently cemented off the field with a new wine label, The Innings. The brand was

not only synonymous for world-class wines, but also for producing champion racehorses. Nestled in the Agterkliphoogte Valley lies Windfall, a quaint boutique wine farm and one of South Africa’s best-kept secrets. Windfall took its name from South African cricketing legend, Eddie Barlow, who noticed the mist cascading down the surrounding mountains of Robertson and, well, the rest is history. World-renowned wines, a delectable culinary experience and a

launched by Mark Boucher and Jacques Kallis who teamed up with family-

plethora of outdoor activities, Robertson Wine Valley is the perfect

owned Rietvallei Wine Estate. The fifth and sixth generation Burgers are

weekend destination for the whole family. Only one and a half hours’ drive

in charge of this historic wine estate and still practise the recipes and

from Cape Town this scenic route is a welcome alternative to the hustle

traditions of old, with the innovations of the new world to produce world-

and bustle of city life … winter, spring, summer or fall!

class wines for the consumer and wine connoisseur. A tree-lined road meanders up to the cellar of Springfield, owned by the Bruwer family, fourth-generation wine farmers, and is flanked by a


dam, complete with a small sailing boat and magnificent mountain views,

Classicfeel readers stand a chance to each win a case of wine, containing

not to mention a large number of Springbok which habitually escape into

selected vintages from the Robertson Valley. To enter, send your name,

the vineyards to sample the fresh berries. However, the real magic of

contact details and the answer to the question below to Classicfeel/

Springfield lies in the bottles of hand-crafted wine it produces, true gems

Robertson Wine giveaway, PO Box 3670, Randburg 2125, or by fax to 0860

of tradition, which offer both quality and individuality in keeping with the

515 9763, or via email to Please note that

estate’s motto: from the grape to the bottle with care and passion.

only one entry per person will be accepted. Closing date: 31 January 2013.

Zandvliet Wine Estate straddles Cogmans River, with the great Langeberg Mountains throwing a giant arm around it from the north

Question: How many wineries can be found in the Robertson Wine Valley?

Bel Ami DIRECTOR: Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod STARRING: Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci, Kristin Scott Thomas, Colm Meaney, Philip Glenister, Holliday Grainger

Bel Ami is the story of Georges Duroy, who travels through 1890s Paris, from cockroach ridden garrets to opulent salons, using his wits and powers of seduction to rise from poverty to wealth, from a prostitute’s embrace to passionate trysts with wealthy beauties, in a world where politics and media jostle for influence, where sex is power and celebrity an obsession.

The perks of being a wall flower DIRECTOR: Stephen Chbosky STARRING: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Mae Whitman, Kate Walsh, Dylan McDermott, Nina Dobrev A funny and touching coming-of-age story based on the beloved best-selling novel by Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a modern classic that captures the dizzying highs and crushing lows of growing up. Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a moving tale of love, loss, fear and hope—and the unforgettable friends that help us through life.

84 / classic feel

Butter Director: Jim Field Smith Starring: Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Alicia Silverstone, Ty Burrell, Yara Shahidi, Ashley Greene, Olivia Wilde The setting: a closely watched contest in Iowa, the heartland of America and, to some, the bellwether of the nation. Initially, a win seems all but assured for the poised candidate with the famous name and a family legacy to claim. But then, the twist: a rival emerges, fresh-faced, appealing, effortlessly charismatic. Suddenly, it’s anybody’s game. In this offbeat satire, the lives, loves, ambitions, and petty squabbles of the residents of a Midwestern US town revolve around a popular annual butter sculpting competition. Steeped in tradition and dominated by the same people year in and year out, the event is not prepared for the arrival of a newcomer. A witty, if somewhat high-handed, critique of middle-American values.

The Master

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Jesse Plemons, David Warshofsky A striking portrait of drifters and seekers in post-World War II America, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master unfolds the journey of a Naval veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) who arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future – until he is tantalised by a pseudo-religious movement known as The Cause and its charismatic leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman). The Master has received considerable criticial acclaim. ‘This is a superbly crafted film that’s at times intentionally opaque, as if its creator didn’t want us to see all the way into its heart of darkness.,’’ said Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times.

Celeste and Jesse Forever Director: Lee Toland Krieger Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy

Samberg, Chris Messina, Ari Graynor, Will McCormack, Emma Roberts, Elijah Wood, Eric Christian Olsen Celeste and Jesse Forever is about two people who met in high school, married young and are growing apart. Now 30, they decide to get divorced and attempt to stay best friends while pursuing other relationships. This plan is not as simple as they had imagined. Celeste – imperious, successful and driven – is convinced that divorcing the boyish Jesse is the right thing to do. Jesse passively accepts this transition into friendship, even though he still is in love with her. As the reality of their separation sets in, Celeste slowly and painfully realises she has been cavalier about their relationship. But her timing with Jesse is less than fortuitous. The film is a humorous and honest examination of a broken heart and the long, hard road it takes















On his latest album, Jonathan Butler, the South African born and bred smooth jazz and R&B vocalist and guitarist focuses his talents on the devotional and spiritual aspects of his art. In addition to working in the jazz and R&B fields, Butler has also performed often in the role of a Christian worship leader and these songs reflect both aspects of the man. According to him Grace and Mercy serves as a soothing musical balm in today’s troubled times. ‘This album really speaks about optimism, faith, belief and hope,’ he says. ‘I’m hoping this album will bring hope to people.’ ‘Grace and Mercy,’ says the album’s liner notes, ‘is filled with the soulful sounds and insightful lyrics fans have come to expect from this South African native and gifted artist.’

CDs & DVDs – new and exciting The latest musical releases to suit all tastes





EMI Classics 50999 085683 2 8

Sheer Sound SLCD 240

EMI Classics 5099944028527

Since her debuts in San Francisco and

A jazz lover’s dream, Breathe is Puoane’s

‘There’s no heroine like her in all of

then in France at the Aix-en Provence

fourth release and was recorded over two

opera,’ remarks Sir Simon Rattle of the

Festival, Barbara Hendricks’ fruity voice

days in New York City. Puoane is backed by

sexy cigarette girl and femme fatale who

has illuminated the repertoire she always

her Belgian/ Dutch trio featuring Puoane’s

embodies the musical, dramatic and social

defended with grace and passion: French

husband Ewout Pierreux on keyboards,

audacity of Bizet’s last and most shocking

songs and German Lieder, the greatest

Lieven Venken on drums and Nicolas Thys on

opera. The superb Czech mezzo Magdalena

pages of symphonic or sacred music or the

bass and guitar. All the components of this

Kožená steps into the classic role on this

roles that have marked her stage career and

quartet complement one another perfectly,

new recording, joined by Jonas Kaufman in

discography. Here this repertoire is spread

gelling and supporting one another to form a

the role of Don José, Genia Kühmeier in the

out over six CDs containing the best of her

perfect unit. As always, Puoane’s vocals are

role of Micaëla and Kostas Smoriginas as

chamber music, melodies and voice.

warm and irresistible.

Escamillo. 90 / classic feel


ARTEMIS QUARTET – SCHUBERT: STRING QUARTETS Virgin Classics 50999 602512 2 0

The Artemis Quartet takes on three of Schubert’s later string quartets – numbers 13 (Rosamunde), 14 (Death and the Maiden) and 15 (the G major Quartet). According to the quartet’s cellist, Eckhart Runge, the album was made in the midst of the groups project to record the complete quartets of Beethoven and the contrast of Schubert’s and Beethoven’s work were strongly highlighted, bringing out the special strengths of Schubert’s compositions, which Runge describes as having a ‘simple structure as well as [a] more direct emotional response [in] marked contrast to the complex density of Beethoven’s string quartets’. This CD therefore makes an excellent companion piece to Artemis’s Beethoven recordings – but also stands powerfully on its own, capturing the ‘gentle melancholy’ Rosamunde, the ‘dramatic concentration of Death and the Maiden and ‘epic symphonic dimensions’ of the G Major Quartet.




Sony Classical CDSONY 7539

Sony Classical 88725420062

Songs is Domingo’s first pop album in over


Violinist Itzhak Perlman teams up with

20 years and is a personal collection of some


Cantor Helfgot in a ‘musical celebration

of the world’s most popular melodies. ‘These

Filmed live at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino

of Jewish culture’. Perlman describes the

songs,’ Domingo says, ‘have been made

Theatre, Beautiful Piano is made up of pieces

album as ‘completion of a cycle of violin

famous by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald,

originally heard on de Villiers’ gold-selling

performance with three equally masterful

Louis Armstrong and many others. I’m

albums, Beautiful, Beautiful Piano and More

voices’ – Domingo, Pavarotti and now

delighted with this beautiful collection

Beautiful Piano. The show presents de Villiers

Helfgot. Eternal Echoes is a collection of

of songs.’ The tracklisting includes ‘Time

as a pianist extraordinaire, entertainer and

songs cantorial masterpieces, Yiddish folk

After Time’, ‘Bésame mucho’ and ‘From

raconteur. With two dancers and lavish

and theatre tunes, Hassidic melodies and

This Moment On’. The album includes many

costumes and lighting, this DVD presents

klezmer instrumentals. Perlman and Helfgot

notable guest vocalists, such as Harry

instrumental music like never before. The set

‘celebrate the extraordinary artistic world

Connick jr, Josh Groban, Katherine Jenkins

includes ‘Theme from Love Story’, ‘I Dreamed

of Eastern European Jewish music as it has

and Susan Boyle.

A Dream’, ‘Sleepy Shores’ and de Villiers

never been celebrated before’.

originals such as ‘Meatballs and Testosterone Blues’ and ‘Amadeus Amarocco’.

classic feel / 91


THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WALK IN THE WORLD A pedestrian in Paris | By John Baxter | Published by Short Books | ISBN 10987654321

Thrust into the unlikely role of professional ‘literary walking tour’ guide, an expat writer provides the most irresistibly witty and revealing tour of Paris in years. In this enchanting memoir, acclaimed author and long-time Paris resident John Baxter remembers his year-long experience of giving ‘literary walking tours’ through the city. Baxter sets off with unsuspecting tourists in tow on the trail of Paris’s legendary artists and writers of the past. Along the way, he tells the history of Paris through a brilliant cast of characters: the favorite cafés of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce; Pablo Picasso’s underground Montmartre haunts; the bustling boulevards of the late-nineteenth-century flâneurs; the secluded “Little Luxembourg” gardens beloved by Gertrude Stein; the alleys where revolutionaries plotted; and finally Baxter’s own favorite walk near his home in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.




By Kim Thuy | Published by The Clerkenwell Press | ISBN:

By Alain Mabanckou | Published by Serpents tail | ISBN

Poems selected by Fiona Sampson | Published by faber



and faber | ISBN: 9780571274307

A book of rare beauty: Ru is a lullaby

All human beings, says an African legend,

A radical thinker and social campaigner,

of Vietnam and a love letter to a new

have an animal double. Some are benign,

Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote some of the

homeland. In vignettes of exquisite clarity,

others wicked. When Kibandi, a boy living

finest lyric verse in the English language,

sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried

in a Congolese village, reaches the age of

confirming his standing as a major figure in

along on an unforgettable journey from a

eleven, his father takes him out into the

Romantic literature. Fiona Sampson studied

palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded

night, and forces him to drink a vile liquid

at the universities of Oxford, where she won

and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and

from a jar which has been hidden for years

the Newdigate Prize, and Nijmegen. She

onward to a new life in Quebec. Moving

in the earth. This is his initiation. From now

has published 16 books, including poetry,

seamlessly from past to present, from

on he, and his double, a porcupine, become

translations and studies of writing process,

history to memory and back again, Ru is a

accomplices in murder. Throughout his life

of which the most recent is Rough Music

book that celebrates life in all its wonder: its

Kibandi relies on his double to act out his

(2010). Her awards include a Cholmondeley

moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality

grizzly compulsions, until one day even

and she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of

and sorrow, comfort and comedy.

the porcupine baulks, and turns instead to


literary confession. 92 / classic feel


THE HUNGRY SEASON By Leonie Joubert with photographs by Eric Miller | Published by Picador Africa | EAN: 9781770102293

The food we eat is as diverse as the cultures and lifestyles of the people consuming it. But the issues underlying food run much deeper than the whims of our cultures or palates. Until now, the subject of food security has mostly been viewed as a rural issue, with research and development work honing in on subsistence farming. But with the massive influx into cities, the focus needs to shift to the metropolis. The Hungry Season takes science writer Leonie Joubert and photographer Eric Miller to eight different cities and towns around southern Africa as they explore the complex issues around food security. Ultimately, The Hungry Season looks at the crisis of hunger and malnutrition surrounding us in the city, hidden behind layers of affluence and comfort. It tackles the fundamental question: Why is it that in southern Africa we produce enough calories and nutrients to keep the region full, satisfied and well nourished, and yet we still have such high levels of hunger and malnutrition?




By Andre Brink | Published by Harvill Secker

By Barbara Kingsolver | Published by Faber and Faber

By Ian McEwan | Publisher: Jonathan Cape | ISBN-13:

| SBN 9781846557040

Limited | ISBN: 9780571290789


An unforgettable story of a woman

Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife

Serena Frome, the beautiful daughter

determined to find her freedom, set in South

who gave up her own plans when she

of an Anglican bishop, has a brief affair

Africa in the 1830s, as slavery was about to

accidentally became pregnant at 17. Now,

with an older man during her final year at

be abolished.

after a decade of domestic disharmony on a

Cambridge, and finds herself being groomed

failing farm, she has settled for permanent

for the intelligence services. The year is

individuals connected to the author’s family

disappointment but seeks momentary

1972. Serena, a compulsive reader of novels,

–of a fiercely independent woman who will

escape through an obsessive flirtation with a

is sent on a ‘secret mission’, which brings

settle for nothing and for no one. Unwilling

younger man. She hikes up a mountain road

her into the literary world of Tom Haley, a

to accept the future that lies ahead of her,

behind her house towards a secret tryst, but

promising young writer. First she loves his

a slave named Philida continues to test the

instead encounters a shocking sight: a silent,

stories, then she begins to love the man. Can

limits and lodges a complaint against the

forested valley filled with what looks like a

she maintain the fiction of her undercover

Brink family. Then she sets off on a journey

lake of fire. She can only understand it as

life? And who is inventing whom? To answer

from the southernmost reaches of the Cape,

a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of

these questions, Serena must abandon the

across a great wilderness, to the far north of

other explanations from scientists, religious

first rule of espionage – trust no one.

the country in order to reclaim her soul.

leaders and the media.

Here is the remarkable story – based on

classic feel / 93

‘A Day’s Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language’ Classicfeel spoke to author Mark Forsyth about his latest book, The Horologicon, a fascinating – often very amusing – exploration of the English language, focusing on its rarely used, hidden and, in some cases, entirely lost words. CF: Your book is amazing, especially from the point of you being so

their third language and they use words that are pre-First World

young – tell me how this book came about?

War, which nobody in Germany would use. In your blog you speak

MF: I’ve always loved paging through dictionaries, and I started the Inky Fool

of this.

blog in 2009 where I would post a new, strange or absurd story about words

MF: While I’ve been here, I’ve been researching words, for example ‘robot’.

and language. That became popular and from that I got the Etymologicon

So far as I can tell, the phrase was originally English, ie, a robot policeman.

book deal, which was about familiar words and where they come from. That

In England that was changed to ‘traffic light’ and in South Africa it was

did incredibly well. I didn’t want to do a second one which was the same but

shortened to ‘robot’.

the story not as good, so I decided to write a book about the strange words that nobody knows as they’re hidden away in the dictionary, for example

CF: Yes, another example is ‘bioscope’ which is a movie. There

‘gongoozle’ which is ‘to stare idly at a canal’. I wanted to arrange them by

is actually a South African English dictionary available. I always

the hours of the day when they might come in useful.

thought that there was a lot of Afrikaans influence, or other languages, but it seems to be more influenced from the English.

CF: Sometimes you start off with one word and that leads naturally

MF: Yes, it seems that way, especially in the case of ‘robot’. I love listening

to another. Are all these dictionaries online or do you physically find

and observing the differences, like people say ‘I’ll see you just now’. In


England that would have meant ‘five minutes ago’, but in South Africa it

MF: A lot of the time I physically sat down with dictionaries (although

means ‘in five minutes’ time’, so it sounds terribly strange to my ears.

some are online like the Oxford English dictionary) and read them from cover to cover. But it’s not about reading for example, the Oxford English

CF: Did you read English at University? You need some kind of base.

dictionary, as it is far too long, but more like you get a dictionary of say

MF: Yes, they made us learn Old English – Anglo Saxon – and the first

18th-Century highwayman slang, which may only be 50 pages long.

word in this book is “uhtcaere” which is ‘anxiety experienced just before dawn’. It comes from an old English poem which I read and had to

CF: Where do you find all these dictionaries?


MF: The British Library mainly, where every book ever published is kept. So I’ll find one, and then see that dictionary has referred to another dictionary

CF: I’m fascinated with how languages change all the time. Do you

and that’s how I find them.

find people from remote areas speak a different English or does Internet and television keep the English up to date?

CF: I thought it was very clever to organise it into the different times

MF: No, Internet and television hasn’t killed regional dialect. For example

of the day, it really makes sense. Are these words still in use, in the

in Wiltshire or in the West Country of England they call trainers (Nike’s and

form that you have presented them?

Adidas), ‘daps’ and I’ve no idea why. I mean “trainers” is a new word, but

MF: A few of them are, but all the ones I presented, most people don’t

it’s just their little bit of dialect. When radio started in the 20th century,

know. I’ve come across a few now and then, such as ‘sprezzatura’, meaning

people thought it would destroy all regional dialects but it didn’t. Linguists

‘affected nonchalance and carelessness’. I sometimes picked out strange

were rather surprised when they realised that your accent doesn’t change

medical terms which a doctor or psychologist may use, like ‘ergophobia’

when you don’t talk back. So a child can watch loads of American TV but

which I suffer from terribly, as it is ‘the fear of hard work’.

nobody picks up an American accent because they are not talking back.

CF: Do you come across whole areas in English where the

CF: What are you going to work on next?

language stopped developing? For example in Namibia, German is

MF: I’m going to write a book on rhetoric and poetry. I’m going to try and get it done for next year as I’m currently going at break-neck speed. CF

94 / classic feel


subscribe Diane Victor: Drawing in smoke ACT Lifetime Achievers 2012

SA R32,95 - August 2012


J.M. Coetzee Interview


Title: ______________________________________ First Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Surname: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Tel (w): ____________________________________ Tel (h): __________________________________Cell no: _____________________________________ E-mail address: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Subscription start date:

M M Y Y Y Y Monthly

6 Months

12 Months




R325.00 (11 issues)





* Includes CLASSICFEEL magazine as well as UK Gramophone magazine.

Gift subscription:


Yes – If yes, please fill in the details of the person it’s for:

Name: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Tel / Cell: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________Postcode:____________________________________

PAYMENT DETAILS Credit Card Expiry date:

Card no:


Card type: CCV no:


(last 3 digits on back of card)

Stop order or direct transfer (All cheques & transfers payable to CLASSICFEEL) Bank: Nedbank | Branch: Blackheath | Account no: 1582054258 | Code: 158205 | Type: Current (Please use your name as a reference) FAX TO: 086 605 4583 PHONE: 011 787 0252 E-MAIL: POST: PO Box 3670, Randburg, 2125

SIGNATURE:________________________________________________ (Signature of parent or guardian is required if under 18)

classic feel / 95


encore Name three artworks that you love and why.

The Prophet by Khalil Gibran because it’s poetic and wise. The Listener, a

painting by Wayne Barker – because he’s a genius. Leonard Cohen’s music because he was born with the gift of a golden voice. Name one artiste you would love to meet. Leonard Cohen because of his voice and poetry. What are you reading at the moment? Danny’s Diaries by Ann Cluver Weinberg, about a man living with schizophrenia. What is in your car’s CD player? The Beatles. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My address. How have the arts industries in South Africa changed over the last ten years? They have grown but still need support. The music is great, the writing is not good enough, film needs work, visual art is amazing. What do you think would improve the arts and culture industry in South Africa? Money, political will and more media space. What is your most treasured possession? My bed. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Depression. What is it that makes you happy? Love. Describe a defining moment in your life. When I moved into my first apartment. Freedom!

Karabo Kgoleng is a radio journalist at SAfm with a passion for words. She is an SA literary award recipient, editor, and prolific Tweeter and blogger. 96 / classic feel

What projects will you be busy with during 2012 and going into 2013? Watch this space. Name one goal you would like to achieve in the next twelve months. Travel to a Francophone African country. CF