Moving towards wholeness: The healing work of Arts Therapy

If there’s one truth on display at the National Arts Festival, it’s that there are some things so profound they cannot be expressed with words. Hence the profusion of physical theatre productions, dance shows, performance and visual arts, and theatre shows that say as much with actors’ bodies as they do with scripted words. Arts…

Where are the rural voices? Unpacking Civil Case with Stha Yeni

Stha Yeni, from the civil alliance Tshintsha Amakhaya, started off day two of Thinkfest by continuing our discussions around the issue of land within our country. For Stha the concern is that rural voices are often silent in the public debates around land. When talking about land we need to talk about land for who…

Think!Fest: Land of the Free?

In recent years, the struggle for land reform has shattered the façade of Tata’s paper-mache rainbow. It has ripped off the band-aid that 1994 plastered over centuries of dispossession, exploitation and disenfranchisement that has rendered South Africa one of the most unequal societies on the planet. Through an enthralling analysis, Glenn Farred – representing the…

Poetry film flourishing in SA: Filmverse II screening

Poetry has always had some influence on film and art. The production of poetry films is not a new practice, but over the last decade it has developed substantially and has become a genre. Poetry film or video poems as a genre is, almost by its definition, more academic and artistic, because of the materials…

Thinkfest! Spotlight: The rights and responsibilities of children

The sexual abuse of children has escalated over the years, with children as young as five becoming victims of rape. In many cases, this is linked to negligence on the part of their parents or legal guardians. It is no longer safe for children to play outside on the streets without a responsible adult keeping…

Keynote by Elinor Sisulu: Challenge of Child Welfare.

In, what she called, her keynote conversation Elinor Sisulu, Zimbabwean-born South Africa writer and human rights activist, argued that the whole eco-system around child welfare throughout the country  has to change in order to re-think the role and practices of child welfare NGO within communities. This year Child Welfare Grahamstown celebrates its 100th anniversary and…

The Truth about “Fake News”

The Think!Fest debate about “Fake News” invoked a term that’s become an almost laughable hashtag, thanks to Donald Trump’s prolific tweets accusing his media critics of brazen lies and distortions. But closer to home, this discussion occurred against the backdrop of the South African National Editors’ application to interdict the Gupta-associated Black First Land First…

Funding uncertainties leave non-state organizations in limbo

The question raised by the title of this panel, “Should the State Support Pesky Non-State Organisations?” is probably answered in the first few minutes of the discussion, when it becomes obvious that the first two discussants, recently retired CEO of civil society organization, Charities Aid Foundation South Africa, and activist and writer Elinor Sisulu, believe…

Whose history is it anyway? Curating the ‘Good Hope’ exhibition

In South Africa, we continue to come to terms with our colonial history and the artifacts that linger from this complex and traumatic legacy. After Rhodes has fallen, do we place him in a museum? And how do we curate the fallen? At the same time, some former colonial powers have begun to reckon with…

Chris Barnard 50 years on: The contested legacies of a medical pioneer

In a very tangible and significant way, journalist Ray Hartle is an inheritor of heart surgeon Chris Barnard’s greatest achievement. Like Louis Washkansky in 1967 , Hartle was recently the recipient of a donor heart which replaced his own failing organ. Hartle’s talk yesterday, entitled “Contested Legacy: Marking the 50th Anniversary of Prof Chris Barnard’s…

Tartuffe’s historical controversy with Anais Jolly

Written in the 17th century in France Tartuffe is one of Moliere’s most famous play. Yet it took the author five long years to obtain the right to perform it in front of an audience. Even though the French playwright was used to a certain degree of controversy around his play, the political and religious outcry around Tartuffe far exceeded…

Lend me your ears: Listening is a neglected art

Think of an event like Think!Fest and you’d imagine a calm space where opinions are expressed by worthy, well-respected thinkers and then reacted to rationally and productively by audience members. Last year’s festival was anything but calm though. “Heated”, “fractious” and “angry’ are some of the words Think!fest convenor Anthea Garman uses to describe the…