‘N FEES VIR ALMAL!


Die Suidoosterfees en die Jakes Gerwel Stigting vier Nelson Mandeladag vanjaar met ’n spesiale projek. In samewerking met die CTMA (Cape Town Music Academy) en Die Burger stel die fees op 18 Julie 2020 ’n musiekvideo bekend van ’n nuwe weergawe van Amanda Strydom se lied, “A Child in a Faraway Land (Nelson Mandela Tribute)”. Frazer Barry, Thandeka Dlala en Lumanyano “Unity” Mzi sing saam met Strydom in die video.

Samewerking tussen die Suidoosterfees en die stigting wat na Jakes Gerwel se nalatenskap omsien, kom al ’n lang pad. Frazer Barry is vanjaar ’n mentor by ’n liriekskryfskool wat vir die eerste keer deur die fees en die stigting aangebied word. Vyf opkomende liriekskrywers is gekies om aan die mentorskapprogram deel te neem, en hul talente word vir drie weke lank by die stigting se Paulet-huis in Somerset-Oos geslyp.

Die jong liriekskrywers sal saam met die gesoute kunstenaars wat in die Mandeladag-video optree, deel wees van ’n grootskaalse produksie wat in 2021 by die Suidoosterfees debuteer. Die video bied ’n voorsmaak aan van waarna uitgesien kan word in dié produksie wat deur die CTMA vervaardig word.

Jakes Gerwel was ’n stigsterslid van die Suidoosterfees en hy het jare lank as voorsitter van die feesdireksie gedien. Toe Madiba president was, was Gerwel sy regterhand en hooftoespraakskrywer in die presidensie. Met hierdie sinergieprojek wil die fees die fokus op die mag van woorde laat val. Theo Kemp, uitvoerende hoof van die Jakes Gerwel Stigting, sê: “Professor Gerwel en Nelson Mandela het wêrelde getransformeer deur vreedsame onderhandelinge. Die waarde van woorde om die wêreld ingrypend te verander, kan dus nie genoeg beklemtoon word nie.”

Die inisiatief vier ook die gedagte wat op Nelson Mandeladag uitgedra word, naamlik dat elke mens die vermoë het om ’n bydrae te kan lewer wat van die wêreld ’n beter plek maak. Johann Maarman, direksielid van die Suidoosterfees en Die Burger-eindredakteur, sê: “Madiba het met onselfsugtige seën sy vryheid vir ons opgegee, en hy was ’n vegter vir menswaardigheid, vrede en versoening. Hy was ’n baken van vergifnis en hoop, en onder uiters moeilike omstandighede kon Suid-Afrika altyd koelte vind onder die groot Madiba-boom.”

Amanda Strydom vertel dat sy “A Child in a Faraway Land” in 1994 geskryf het, die jaar toe Madiba as president ingesweer is. Sy het gereeld tyd saam met die staatsman deurgebring. “Hy het my geleer wat ware deernis en vergifnis beteken,” sê sy. Amanda se gedagtes is in hierdie tyd veral by Suid-Afrikaners wat as gevolg van armoede nóg swaarder deur die pandemie getref word.

Frazer Barry het Madiba in 1993 ontmoet tydens die oudpresident se besoek aan Genadendal. “Ek sal dit nooit vergeet nie. Ek was ’n matrikulant en het as jong Suid-Afrikaner op daardie oomblik gevoel dat wonderlike dinge moontlik is. Dit was vir my ’n eer om lirieke te kon bydra vir hierdie wonderlike lied van die legendariese Miss Mandy.”

Vicky Davis, vervaardiger en programbestuurder van die CTMA, ’n nie-winsgewende maatskappy wat geleenthede skep vir kontemporêre musikante, sê: “Amanda, Frazer en Lumanyano en Thandeka van die Unity Band is uiteenlopende kunstenaars en verteenwoordig elk ’n ander genre en generasie van die Suid-Afrikaanse musieklandskap. Hulle bevorder almal sosiale samehorigheid in hul kuns. Die taal van musiek verenig mense. En Amanda se gebedslied bring op dié manier hulde aan Madiba.”

Die oorspronklike weergawe van “A Child in a Faraway Land” is in 2008 ingesluit op Strydom se album Kerse teen die donker. Die nuwe opname is in Stellenbosch by Sunset Recording Studios opgeneem onder leiding van die bekende baskitaarspeler en vervaardiger, Schalk Joubert, ook van CTMA.

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Suidoosterfees celebrates Nelson Mandela Day with special music video

This year the Suidoosterfees and the Jakes Gerwel Foundation celebrate Nelson Mandela Day with a special project. On 18 July 2020, in collaboration with the Cape Town Music Academy (CTMA) and Die Burger, the festival will release a music video of a new version of an Amanda Strydom’s song: “A Child in a Faraway Land (Nelson Mandela Tribute)”. Frazer Barry, Thandeka Dlala and Lumanyano “Unity” Mzi performs with Strydom in the video.

Synergy between the festival and the foundation that acts as custodian of the late Jakes Gerwels’ legacy, had been taking place for many years. In 2020, Frazer Barry was appointed mentor of the songwriting development project, presented by these entities. The five promising songwriters selected to participate in the mentorship programme, will attend a three-week writers’ residency at the foundation’s Paulet House in Somerset East.

These up and coming songwriters will join the established singers of “A Child in a Faraway Land (Nelson Mandela Tribute)” to be part of a big stage production that will debut at Suidoosterfees 2021. The video gives a sneak preview of what audiences can look forward to in the production, to be produced by the CTMA.

Jakes Gerwel, a founder member and former chairperson of the festival’s board of directors, was a close friend and confidant of Nelson Mandela. During Madiba’s tenure as president, Gerwel served as his right-hand man and chief speech writer. With this music video for Nelson Mandela Day, the festival wants to focus on the power of words. Theo Kemp, executive director of the Jakes Gerwel Foundation, says: “Professor Gerwel and Nelson Mandela transformed the world through peaceful negotiations. The power of words to actually change the world, cannot be emphasised enough.”

The initiative also promotes the idea heralded by the Nelson Mandela Day organisers, namely that every individual can contribute towards transforming the world into a better place. Johann Maarman, Suidoosterfees board member and editor in chief of Die Burger, says: “Madiba selflessly sacrificed his own freedom to secure us the blessings of human dignity, peace and reconciliation. He was a beacon of hope and forgiveness. In challenging times South Africans could always find comfort in the shade of the big Madiba tree.”

Amanda Strydom wrote “A Child in a Faraway Land” in 1994, the year of Madiba’s inaguration as president. She spent time with the statesman on numerous occassions. “He taught me the meaning of true compassion and forgiveness,” she says. Strydom’s thoughts are with fellow South Africans who are facing abject poverty on top of the pandemic.

Frazer Barry met Madiba in 1993 when the former president visited the town of Genadendal. “I will never forget that occasion. I was in my matric year and, as a young South African, I was inspired to believe that wonderful things are indeed possible. It’s an honour to contribute some lyrics to the legendary Miss Mandy’s song.”

Vicky Davis, producer and programme manager of CTMA, a non-profit company creating opportunities for contemporary musicians, says: “Amanda, Frazer, Lumanyano and Thandeka of the Unity Band each represent different generations, as well as various generations within South African music. They promote social cohesion through their work. The language of music unites people. Amanda’s song, which actually is a prayer, pays tribute to Madiba’s spirit.

“A Child in a Faraway Land” was originally included in the Amanda Strydom’s 2008 album, Kerse teen die donker. The new version was recorded at Sunset Recording Studios in Stellenbosch, by renowned bass guitarist and producer Schalk Joubert, also from CTMA.