‘I’m Marj, large and in charge; born, bred and overfed in the Cape,’ Marji Geldenhuys quipped to a group of about 24 people squeezed into the living room of a tiny RDP house in Darling East. A musician and story teller, she was taking part in the Darling Voorkamerfest.
It’s all a huge surprise, because you have no idea who you’re going to see perform until you get to each venue.
Don’t think Wild Oats market in Sedgefield, or the Neighbourgoods Market at the Biscuit Mill in Cape Town. This wasn’t of the same magnitude or quality. But for a place to get a spot of nosh before or after your show in a small rural town, it ably did its job.
In the evenings, when the air got chilly, fires were lit in large barrels to warm the square and tempt visitors to linger.
What was special, though, was the community spirit, that so many kids were involved and how much they seemed to enjoy their moment in the limelight.
The 2013 Voorkamerfest included everything from one-act plays and acrobatics to singing, music and dance. We enjoyed the community involvement, the chance to visit people’s homes, see children perform a dance they had learned in a workshop, chat to taxi drivers about their town, and join the throng of happy people wandering the cordoned-off street in front of Evita se Perron.
For locals who couldn’t afford tickets to the shows,though, best by far was the free public concert in a dusty field between the RDP houses in Darling East, where all performers presented 5 minutes of their
We chatted to a bright-eyed 10-year-old who was fizzing with excitement. ‘When I grow up I want to be an actor,’ he grinned.
Then he showed off a few dance moves he’d picked up and the beginnings of an acrobatic trick we knew he’d be working to perfect over the next few weeks.
For him, the Voorkamerfest had been stimulating, encouraging and full of bright ideas that children like him had never thought about before.
For that reason alone, it can be counted a success.
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