In March this year, Postgraduate Education student, Adriaan Havenga, was rewarded with two Fiёsta awards. He was named the winner in the category Best newly created Afrikaans text, adaptation or translation as well as Best emerging artist. These were his first nominations and awards.
“It was an overwhelming moment because the categories were announced right after each other. The overall feeling I experienced was gratitude and a lot of adrenaline," says Havenga.
The best newly created Afrikaans text he wrote, Iewers in die grys, was written in 2020 during the COVID pandemic and after it was rejected at festivals several times, Havenga decided in 2022 to bring it to the stage independently. After that, he and his fellow actress, René Cloete (also an ex-Matie), had the chance to perform at the Woordfees in 2022, which opened more doors.
Iewers in die grys is a drama that examines the friendship of two rural schoolchildren over a period of sixteen years. It's 2003. Heather is a brown matric girl who wants to study Medicine and she and the new white guy in school, Gideon, click immediately, especially when she realizes that he also wants to study Medicine. They become best friends, but over the years secrets, jealousy and racism threaten to tear their special relationship apart. They both have dreams for the future, but how is a castle in the sky held up in a land where injustice and justice look so alike?
Havenga studied drama (2018 – 2020) and then did freelance work for two years. He is working on his Postgraduate Certificate in Education this year. "I am studying education because I want to keep my options open in terms of job opportunities. It would be nice to always be part of the entertainment industry, but in that industry, work is not necessarily always guaranteed. Education could allow me to still earn an income during quiet seasons (in terms of the drama industry). I think you can learn a lot from children."
His plans are in place, but he is willing to change them if other good opportunities come his way. According to Havenga, adaptability and a positive attitude are very important. "Stories have the power to touch people deeply, take people on flights of imagination and open worlds. I would like to challenge people's ideas, inspire them and hopefully also tell stories that bring positive change and tell people about Jesus."
Iewers in die grys is at the Suidoosterfees: 28 April at 20:30 and 1 May at 14:30 in the Repteater at Artscape. Tickets available at Computicket.
Photo: Jonathan Lestrade