Woordfees 2021 Stellenbosch

Enjoy the festival for free!

The greater Discussion programme, two thirds of the Film Festival and an exciting set of art exhibitions are all mahala.


Open discussion and an enthusiastic exchange of views on current issues are valued traditions at the Woordfees. This year is no exception.

In the Netwerk24 Discussion series, led by Christi van der Westhuizen and Pieter du Toit, there are, among other things, interesting discussions with experts about the future of the ANC, and the ANC government’s almost hostile attitude towards the arts.

Historian Andrew Nash talks about the future of universities as immeasurable values are increasingly “measured” against an elusive notion of “excellence”. Philosopher Anton van Niekerk will respond.

RSG presenter Jody Hendricks presents a new Discussion series that looks at the issues with which students struggle. The series includes discussion on race relations on campus, mental health and the graduate struggle to find work.

Jody Hendricks

The Ongehoord Discussion series once again presents a feminist view on a wide range of actuality topics.

Scientists from SU share their knowledge under the leadership of Dave Pepler in the highly popular Science Cafe.

Festivalgoers can once again attend discussions on some of the theatre productions at the festival in the Theatre Discussion series.

More information on the Discussion series can be found at (https://woordfees.co.za/program/jsf/jet-engine/tax/feeskategorie:331/)

Film festival

The film festival program offers a selection of the best of the 2022 kykNET Silwerskerm Festival, including the two films that won the most awards: Barakat and Gaia. All the main local award winners of the 2022 DIFF (Durban International Film Festival) are also on the program along with some surprises such as a special preview of Kerkorrel – a documentary about Johannes Kerkorrel which sheds new light on his birth and life, 20 years after his death.

All short films on the film program are free. The 18 short films that were shown earlier this year at the kykNET Silwerskerm Festival will each be shown twice. This includes the moving Leemtes en leegheid (with Lida and Johan Botha and Ivan Abrahams), the first short film to win the Audience Favourite Award at the Silwerskerm Festival as well as the prize for Best Short Film.

Also free are award-winning short films such a #WeAreDyingHere (Safta for Best Short Film), Amagama ka Nokutela (Audience Award: DIFF), Prayers for Sweet Waters (Best Short Documentary: DIFF) and Ulwandle (Safta for Best Short Documentary). These films will each have two showings.

More information about the Neelsie Cinema Film Festival can be found at https://woordfees.co.za/program/jsf/jet-engine/tax/feeskategorie:330/)

Visuel arts

Visual Arts In order to give as many artists as possible the opportunity to benefit from the Woordfees, an exciting auction will take place this year. It will focus on the works of established and emerging local artists.

Strauss & Co, Africa’s leading art auction house, will be at the helm of the auction to be in Morkel House, in Stellenbosch. The auction will take place over on Saturday 15 October at 11:00. All the art will be exhibited during the Woordfees week in the Town Hall and entrance to the exhibition is free.

Festivalgoers can expect to see a range of modern and contemporary art. The prices of the artworks will cover a wide range, with the view to giving collectors, both established and new, the chance to find something on which to bid.

Aside from the auction display, independently curated exhibitions with top artists will be on show in some of the traditional Woordfees spaces. These include Slow Intimacy, a group exhibition in response to the systemic damage of “slow violence” that brings together the work of selected artists and art jewellers as a way to cultivate “sustained hope”. The exhibition is spread over three venues (GUS, IS Art and Oude Leeskamer).

Attached to the Soil is a collection of photographic portraits created in collaborative project between Peter Glendinning, Fulbright researcher and professor of Art, Art History and Design at Michigan State University, and South Africans of diverse ages and cultural and social backgrounds. The photographs show the hopes, fears and aspirations of these individuals. Entrance to the SU Museum where this exhibition is housed is free.

Click here for more about the art auction. (https://woordfees.co.za/program/strauss-co-kunsveiling/)