Class acts on streets of festival

Performers prove a popular drawcard with fans, delivering absorbing theatre for free in the marketplace

Street theatre is on a high at this year’s National Arts Festival as stunt performers took to the upgraded Village Green to showcase their skills and entertain passersby.
Visitors spending their days at the marketplace have been getting the best views of the festival as four South African and international street artists have been providing free entertainment since last week.
The four included jigsaw-juggling Dynamike, Alakazam – the human knot, acrobat Sven from Sweden and comic man Jackie Chan Chan from Japan.
The Daily Dispatch Weekend edition caught up with Chan Chan, who said the only difference between him and world renowned character Jackie Chan was that he was from Japan. “My name is Hirosan and I have no surname. Only Jackie Chan Chan.”
He said he travelled to Grahamstown for the first time this year “to make more people laugh”.
“I brought my stunt-filled comedy Kung Fu show here and it’s been a beautiful experience. Crowds have lots of energy and are very receptive of my craft,” he said.
Also housed at the Village Green is the Eastern Cape handmade collection tent, which annually displays artsy creations from handcrafters around the province.
The tent is filled with various stalls that offer fine collectors’ pieces brought together to showcase an exclusive array of products.
The tent has helped many fashion designers and handcrafters put food on their tables. One such beneficiary is Nolubabalo Nkohla of the Sinomtha Co-op from Qumbu. Nkohla and her team make colourful telephone-wired bowls and ornaments by hand.
She said selling the products each year gave her revenue to take back to others back home. “We decided to use our creative skills to forge a life out of poverty for ourselves and since we began our lives have really been transformed.”
Crystal Reid, of the Lavelilanga Women’s Craft Co-op in Somerset East, also said displaying paper-woven decorative items at the festival brought them exposure and some money to take back home.
“We hope that through the exposure we gain here we’ll one day see our creations in big stores across the country.”..

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