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A small town in the colorful Cape of South Africa is currently alive with cultural happenings. Packed with local and international visitors, its streets vibrate with the sounds of live music, its halls feature impressive theatre productions and its rooms are filled with works of art. Walking around town you will find people dressed in artistic attire, visitors musing about the latest event they attended and locals enjoying the fresh atmosphere in this small town.
A festival known as ‘Woordfees‘ (Afrikaans for ‘Feast of Words’) is responsible for the tolerable chaos currently running this town. The festival is held annually in the Western Cape town called Stellenbosch.
This town, nicknamed ‘Little Europe’ for its aesthetic and atmospheric resemblances to small European towns, tends to be relatively calm throughout the year. A typical university town, its main provider of excitement is the nightlife of the students. Until, of course, the Woordfees came along.
This year, Woordfees ran from March 2 to March 11. The festival celebrates the language of Afrikaans, a West Germanic language prominent in South Africa. Most of the Woordfees events are advertised and presented in Afrikaans. Every year, this Afrikaans celebration has a different theme. The year 2012′s theme is the protection of the environment.
The theme is called ‘groen seisoen‘ (green season) and features the concept of green at every event in some way. This green theme is inspired by the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was held in Durban, South Africa from 28 November to 9 December 2011.
Woordfees has found many interesting ways of incorporating this theme into all its events. Events range from the planting of trees to hiking over Klapmutskop mountain under the full moon and a parade through town of people in green masks. Various restaurants and cafes feature live music and shows throughout the day and night.
All South African celebrities presenting at this event are introduced as ‘Immergroen’ (evergreen). Popular celebrities include the Afrikaans actress Sandra Prinsloo, the never-failing news presenter Riaan Cruywagen and a reading from Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer.
Every year, a big white tent is set up as one of the main attractions of Woordfees. This tent, which goes by the name of De Vette Mossel (The Fat Mussel), features live events, good food and a well-stocked bar for all Woordfees enthusiasts. Here, Woordfees travelers come to find refreshment, mingle with other visitors and artists and enjoy the occasional cool breeze blowing through the tent.
The atmosphere is always one of a calm, even lazy afternoon on the beach – the white sand under the tent adding to this effect. And at night-time, De Vette Mossel is not complete without the lighting of a huge bonfire under its shadow. Sitting under the tent at night, next to a huge bonfire, enjoying good music and delicious food, you cannot but relax and become a part of the festivities.
Soon, the big white tent will disappear, the artists and visitors will leave Stellenbosch, and the town will return to its normal, quiet state. Every now and then, there will be mention of the Woordfees until, sometime next year, a big white tent will appear in Stellenbosch once again.
Image Courtesy of http://www.woordfees.co.za