Afrikaans Festivals – Arts, Film and Movies

Afrikaans is… not just words, phrases and literature.
Afrikaans is… also arts, films and music. Mostly ‘operating’ in separate spheres, but often they collaborate into one (big) festival.

Afrikaans Arts Festivals – the Heartbeat of the Language

‘Afrikaners is Plesierig’ is a legendary song that speaks to the DNA of any Afrikaans Arts Festival. It explicitly covers the festive culture that centres around arts, culture and the socialising that Afrikaans Art Festivals are known for.

There are many exciting and quality festivals that have been around for years and this list keeps growing. Judging from the excellent attendance statistics of these festivals, it is clear that they are fulfilling various needs of the nation. Some of the most popular festivals include the KKNKAardklopUS Woordfees, Vrystaat KunstefeesinniBOSOPPiWATER and Suidooster Festival. If you’re looking for something different Oppikoppi Music Festival is for you. Other festivals, with fascinating names, are KalfiefeesHantam Meat FestivalLittlegig and Malkop Summer Rock Festival, to name a few. Discover more fun festivals on the festival calendar.

KKNK (Die Klein-Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees)

Although the KKNK festival (Klein Karoo National Arts Festival) was ‘born and bred’ in Oudtshoorn, a Klein-Karoo town that was then better known for its ostrich farms, Cango Caves and Route 62, it grew into a showcase of visual and performing arts. New stage productions are usually staged here for the first time before being taken elsewhere. Visitors describe the festival as ‘always colourful and magical’. Live music programmes feature fresh and seasoned talent while the storytelling segment adds to the light atmosphere of this festival. The KKNK also looks after its community and the surrounding tourist attractions by offering special tours and events in and around town.

Aardklop Nasionale Kunstefees

Aardklop has a history of creating a lot of awareness and offering superb productions, visual arts and art exhibitions. Potchefstroom, home to Aardklop, is an academic city. This creates an opportunity for the students, the nation’s future, to attend and experience the Aardklop National Arts Festival. And you know, where there’s youth, there’s energy! Youngsters attending are motivated to read books during and after the festival to promote upskilling in reading.

Die US Woordfees

The ‘US Word Festival’ creates opportunities for artists that work in the magical world of the literature, theatre and visual arts. It creates a platform for authors, poets, theatric performers, artists and photographers in the beautiful landscape of Stellenbosch. The ‘Woordfees’ is also a mecca of avid readers who love to meet and chat with their favourite authors and to partake in book reviews and discussions. Visitors can enjoy all of this while sipping on a glass of excellent wine and nibbling on local specialities – soul food for mind and body…

Some of the books sold at the festival.

Exclusive Books has announced their selection of fiction, non-fiction, cookery and children’s books for their annual Homebru campaign.

The WoordTROfees, (‘Word TROphies’) acknowledges the Woordfees artists in various categories. This year, a special prize, the ‘Verbondenheidsprys’ was awarded to the rapper and writer, Simon Witbooi, aka HemelBesem, for his book, God praat Afrikaans which created a lot of debate whilst interviewed on stage. HemelBesem was simultaneously recognised for what he’d done in conjunction with the WOW (Woorde Open Wêrelde or Words Open Worlds) project.

Henk Serfontein won the Best Visual Arts category for his exhibition themed Winterslaap (‘Winter Sleep’). It was a solo exhibition featuring charcoal drawings of the poet of this poem, Wilma Stockenström. Henk’s inspiration for the project came about while he studied Wilma’s poems for a single portrait, together with the mystique of the night… Read more about Henk and the sleeping poet.

Some of the entertaiment at inniBOS: Comediant-Schalk Bezuidenhout, Theatre-Koöperasiestories and entertainmer-Soli Philander

inniBOS Laeveld Nasionale Kunstefees

inniBOS, also referred to as ‘Die fees met Hart’ (translated: The Festival with Heart/Passion) is hosted in Nelspruit/Mbombela. inniBOS was chosen as the Most Popular Festival by the KykNET Fiësta viewers – and this was not the first time! This festival is one big feast where various forms of performance arts make up the main attractions. For the bookworms, the opportunities to participate in book discussions are priceless. Day or night time, inniBOS creates good spirits for everyone.

OppiWater Kunstefees

Picture this: the ocean, blue skies, a luxurious cruise liner and an Afrikaans Arts Festival. While cruising along the SA coastal line, guests are ‘having it all’! OppiWater Arts Festival caters for the art connoisseur who loves theatre and music productions, comedy and cabaret – a unique experience!

Die Suidoosterfees

Suidooster Festival – from Riel to Hip-Hop – promotes the Western Cape culture and heritage and is synonymous with Cape arts, culture and delicious food and wine. It creates opportunities for young and upcoming talent. But it’s not just about ‘show and tell’, forum discussions that impact on culture form part of this festival.

So, what is the Riel of Hip-Hop? It’s the celebration of the diversity of the authentic Riel and Hip-Hop dance, music and poetry.

Vrystaat Kunstefees / Arts Festival

The Vrystaat Arts Festival in Bloemfontein is an Afrikaans language festival that forges creative connections with English and Sotho cultures. Of all the festivals in South Africa, the Vrystaat Arts Festival is the most strategically placed to become one of the key international arts festivals on the African continent. The festival launched in 2001 and has since shown constant growth with the number of visitors last year at more than 160 000.

A festival of another kind:

Sunrise at Oppikoppi

Oppikoppi (a colloquial abbreviation of the Afrikaans phrase “op die koppie” which means ‘on the hill’)
Oppikoppi Music Festival started off in a small bar in the nineties focusing on rock music. It has since grown substantially where 20,000 enthusiasts flock to a farm, close to the mining town of Northam. Visitors come from far and wide to camp out and experience not only rock but various other genres. Shows are simultaneously performed on 7 stages. This sounds like lots of fun and possibly a life changing experience! British media ranked Oppikoppi as the 4th best music festival in the world in 2008! Wow!

This is what Afrikaans looks like at Oppikoppi:

The Afrikaans film industry is booming:
Have you noticed how many Afrikaans films have been released compared to before the turn of the century? This is thanks to film festivals (and competitions).

The Silver Screen Festival (Silwerskermfees) is annually hosted by kykNET – since 2010. It aims to present a platform to the South African film industry, including short films and documentary films. Accepted films are being screened at the festival and then on various DStv channels thereafter. The festival also provides the opportunity for film makers to meet the who’s who in the industry.

Music festivals are big in Afrikaans:
Afrikaans music festivals are extremely popular. There’s SkouspelAfrikaans is GrootKrone and Classics is Grootto mention a few. The variety of artists performing is their key to success and a very glamourous show.

If you don’t find anything that tickles your fancy among these Afrikaans Festivals, there are many others that cater for every need. Keep an eye on our website as we shall profile them all… Happy Afrikaans Festival hunting!

A huge contribution – NATi
NATi (Nasionale Arikaanse Teater-inisiatief) or ‘National Afrikaans Theatre initiative’ was established by the Dagbreek Trust in 2016 as a non-profit organisation. NATi chooses four productions per year from new and existing scripts and then develop them for debutant performances at Afrikaans arts festivals and for other festivals thereafter. Watch out for a NATi theatre production on stage in 2018!