Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stories round the Campfire at Scholtzkloof

This event was held in tandem with IZIKO’s Friends of the South African Museum programme, which ran from Friday afternoon 5 June to Sunday lunch-time here in Prince Albert and the surrounding district. The Cape Town Friends joined the friends of the Fransie Pienaar Museum and Prince Albert Cultural Foundation for a soup and bread evening with story-telling and songs in the barn at Scholtzkloof.

Saturday morning dawned slowly, with grey lowering skies and subdued light. Part of the programme was conducted in icy blustering wind and cold rain, but by the afternoon, the sun came out and the evening was clear and not even terribly cold, considering that we are already deep into the winter.

Entertainment round the campfire was provided by Ailsa Tudhope (who performed on special request by the previous IZIKO party, all of whom had been moved and enthralled by her local stories), songwriter and singer Stef Kruger, and Poem Mooney, elected Chief of the Attaqua, and member of the Nasionale Khoi-San Raad.

Poem is in Prince Albert gebore en het in huis Ebenhaeser in Nuwerus grootgeword. Ouma Rosie, die plaaslike vroedvrou, “het hom gevang’, en omdat Poem se naelstring hier begrawe is, sal Prince Albert altyd die plek wees waarna hy terugkeer. Die Ebenhaeser huis bestaan nie meer nie, dis afgebreek weens die ‘Group Areas’- wetgewing. Die Fransie Pienaar Museum het Poem se gedig omraam met weggooigoed uit Nuwerus en Rooikamp, as deel van die ‘Verlede en die Hede’ uitstalling. Sy gekose vertellings en Stef se liedere staan as ‘Woordmusiek’ bekend.

Stef Kruger grew up in Philippolis–‘dis my wortelwêreld’ – and he was brought to our attention by Poem, whom we heartily thank for the introduction. Stef set up his sound system in the Scholtzkloof skuur, and we were treated to a number of gentle reflective often autobiographical songs.

Stef’s songs have often been sung and interpreted by other singers, like Dozi, who has recorded a rendition of Stef’s “Pennies op die Spoor”, which Stef also sang for us. An astonishing 42 performers have recorded their interpretations of Stef’s songs, singers such as Jannie Moolman, Coenie de Villiers, Anton Goosen, Amanda Strydom, Lucas Marais, and many others.

Stef says that song-writing is part of his ‘mental makeup’, and that he cannot function without re-creating his experiences into songs: words and music. An album (a book, not a CD) containing some poems and over 100 of his songs – the music plus the words – embellished with many wonderful evocative photographs taken by Stef, is available, as are the two CD’s of his songs, entitled ‘Stef Kruger in Eenvoud I and II’. The Prince Albert Cultural Foundation has copies if anyone would like to see them.

The ‘Woordmusiek’ programme – Poem tells his stories and reads his poems, and Stef embroiders and adds his story in music, all pertinent to the Klein-karoo and Karoo – can be requested via Twana Roets at 076 472 3912, or 044 272 8161 or e-mail at twanaroets@telkomsa.net Performances last either 60 or 90 minutes.

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