Artscape hosts women’s festival

Erika Marais and Sanda Shandu in The Unlikely Secret Agent. Picture: Jeremeo Le Cordeur

The 16th edition of the Artscape Women’s Humanity Arts Festival will take place from Wednesday August 3 to Saturday August 27, with a series of stage productions, two book launches, a film screening, among other events.

There will also be a number of festivities on Women’s Day, Tuesday August 9, with a Circle of Care at the centre of the festival. Women, men and youth will stand together in a circle of solidarity to have a moment of silence for all victims of the pandemic and gender-based violence. There will also be a tree planting, interfaith blessing, guided breathing facilitated by Pramilla Vassen, poetry and choirs leading the public in song.

This is the first post-Covid festival that aims to provide a space for healing – with themes of breathing, grounding, care and belonging.

“Every year during Women’s Month, we at Artscape as a collective raise our voice using the arts as a conduit through the Artscape Women’s Humanity Arts Festival highlighting the profile, power, performance and plight of women in particular,” says Artscape CEO Marlene le Roux.

“Equally we celebrate the great strides we have made as a gender, and indeed together as a country including paying tribute to those who have led the way to secure our emancipation. This year as we return to normality after two gruelling years of restrictions, I invite all Capetonians to join us as we actively demonstrate our care for ourselves, for others, for others not like ourselves, for our children, the environment and even for our adversaries, by joining hands in a moment of silence and raising our voices”.

On the line-up:

  • Dr Beryl Botman will launch her book on Monday August 1. It is a true-life journey of a woman dealing with the sudden loss of her husband. She will also be having a conversation with Woman Zone as part of their podcast series.
  • The spectacular concert will act as the opening of the Women’s Month celebrations on Monday August 1. Singer and songwriter, Jodi Jantjies, will be joined by a musical line-up including the Lady Day Big Band, Vicky Sampson, Anna Davel, Tracey-Lee Olivier, Zimbini as well as the UWC Creative Arts Choir. The women artists will all sing together in Afrikaans, English, Afrikaaps and several traditional African languages.
  • Sandra Prinsloo will perform in on Wednesday August 3 and Thursday August 4. This adaption of Elsa Joubert’s autobiography describes her journey through a contentment of age. She writes about the ageing process honestly and devoid of sentiment.
  • Written and directed by award-winning actor and playwright, Paul du Toit, and based on the novel by Ronnie Kasrils, from Thursday August 4 to Tuesday August 9 tells the story of Eleanor, an unassuming, young single mother who is arrested in Durban and interrogated in a 90-day detention over her lover and notorious “terrorist”, Ronnie Kasrils.
  • In from Thursday August 4 to Tuesday August 9, a white woman and black women unpack their differences and challenge the oppression between them and take back their power. Starring Peggy Tunyiswa and Carin Bester, the play questions the patriarchal structure on women.
  • Karin Kortje will perform in on Friday August 5 and Saturday August 6. Set in the 1920s, Karin Kortje plays the role of Betty at a cabaret show scene. Kortje and Zeldene McDonald will perform in the tale choreographed by Rushney Ferguson and written by Kyra Loubser.
  • Broken Crayons Still Colour Beautifully – symposium for women living with disabilities takes place on Monday August 8. The festival is hosting this inaugural symposium, which offers unique opportunities for women living with disabilities including dialogue, networking and exposure. This closed event will host women from business, government, media, entertainment and NGOs to promote inclusion, and celebrate and inspire one another with a life-changing conversation.
  • Woman Zone’s launch of the book is on Monday August 8. To celebrate its 10-year anniversary, Woman Zone is producing a book in partnership with NPO Soil for Life, which turns 20 this year. The book features the stories of 10 women home food gardeners. Soil for Life will be supplying 100 miniature spekboom plants which will be distributed at the Circle of Care on Womens’ Day on Tuesday August 9.
  • As a tribute to the LGBTIQA+ community, the annual hit, , returns Tuesday August 9. With fine feathers preened, false eyelashes fluttering and sequins glittering, the fiercely feminine/masculine are gathering to celebrate the world of lip sync. The show features divas Vida Fantabisher, 2016 runner-up Manila von Teez, as well as Kat Gilardi, Jayde Kay Johnson and Angel Lalamore of drag cabaret group 3D fame, all choreographed and put together with the dancers of the Jazzart Dance Theatre. MC Soli Philander will narrate the show.
  • A screening of the proof-of-concept short film, , on Tuesday August 9 will be followed by an information session. The 16-minute short film movie follows the journey of a bipolar photographer while navigating patriarchy in a Muslim family, as well as a male-dominated advertising agency.
  • The show Onder Die Brug from Thursday August 25 to Saturday August 27, written by Raydene Le Roux, tells an adventurous tale of a young man who ran away from his small-town life to Cape Town, in search of a better life. However, things don’t quite work out. The character, Allan, shares how he finds himself “onder ’n brug”.

Tickets can be bought through Computicket or Artscape Dial-a-seat on 021 421 7695.