The Toyota SU Woordfees not only launched their programme for next year's festival on Monday (18 November), but also announced a number of innovations. There is a new theme, logo, sponsor and programme segments.
The festival will be help from 6 to 15 March 2020 in and around Stellenbosch, and tickets are already available. The programme launch was held at the Rust en Vrede wine estate outside Stellenbosch, and was attended by members of the Stellenbosch community and celebrities in the entertainment industry.
In 2020, the 21st Woordfees will be held, and along with this a new logo was launched on Monday. With Toyota being the co-naming rights sponsor for the festival for the next three years, the name of the motor manufacturing giant has become a prominent part of the new logo.
According to Saartjie Botha, the festival director, next year's theme, “Keep on keepin' on", is a recommitment of the bond the Woordfees has with words and literature. The line in the original Afrikaans, “Aanhou beweeg en geraas maak" is from Jan Rabie's short story “Ek het jou gemaak" (“I made you"), published in 1957 in his ground-breaking collection 21. The theme is also an indirect reference to the festival's 21st year celebration. The English translation of the theme is a phrase from the Bob Dylan song, “Tangled Up in Blue", which captures the spirit of Rabie's words.
Botha says the theme acknowledges the welcome financial support from Toyota but also reflects a world that embraces movement and change. “Arts festivals are incubators and testing grounds for radical ideas. The one thing that a festival cannot afford to do is to stagnate. If it did, it would suffer a fast and silent death."
Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, said at Monday's programme launch that SU wants to be a thriving institution, and strives to achieve that through arts, multilingualism and inclusivity, and that the Woordfees helps to achieve this through its strong impact on society and specifically Stellenbosch.
Several interesting innovations will be realised in 2020. For the first time, a fully-fledged dance programme is part of the Woordfees, as well as a special agriculture category. “The new dance section makes sense," says Botha, “because over the past few years the number of dance companies in the Cape Town metropole has burgeoned and young festival goers have a strong interest in experiencing dance."
According to Botha the agriculture offerings have always been extremely popular. The agriculture programme will consist of several demonstrations, courses, discussions and lifestyle events.
This year, 23 debut theatre plays will be presented, as well as a packed writers' programme in which top South African writers participate. Added to that are both popular and classical music performances, and visual arts.
Visit www.woordfees.co.za for the full programme and more information.
PHOTO CAPTION: Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice-President: Sales and Marketing of Toyota South Africa Motors, with Saartjie Botha, Director of the Toyota US Woordfees. Foto: STEFAN ELS