Find out what’s going to fizz, bubble and pop at the Woordfees on the 23rd of June

The theme for the 2023 Toyota SU Woordfees has just been announced along with the date of the programme launch.

The 2023 festival theme is “Borrel” (Bubble) – a term that conjures up several images and meanings.

“It can mean effervescence or an elated, dreamlike feeling; is reminiscent of innocent youthful fun with soap bubbles and is also the old Dutch word for a party (“ ’n borrel”), a chance to enjoy the sparkling bubbles of Cap Classique made in the Boland,” says the director of the Toyota SU Woordfees, Saartjie Botha.

“The theme, however, also has a more serious connotation and alludes to the concern voiced by some critics and residents that Stellenbosch and Stellenbosch University exist in a ‘bubble’ where people live in privileged denial of many harsh South African realities. Conventionally a bubble has a fragile membrane, a defenceless boundary that creates a tenuous and temporary divide between the inside and the outside. The dividing lines in Stellenbosch, however, are historically determined and economically entrenched.

“In the arts, a bubble also has two meanings. Artists use their imaginations to create worlds that release us from our harsh realities into a space of dreaming. But the arts also have the responsibility to rupture the borders and boundaries that encase our perceptions and expose us to different truths and expanded perceptions. This year the Woordfees programme gives festivalgoers the opportunity to float blissfully free, but also to accept the challenge of exploring new perspectives. I am excited to share the new festival programme as it offers a rich variety of opportunities not only to escape into worlds of beauty, humour and drama but also to reflect on the complexity of our realities,” says Botha.

The programme will be launched at a special event on the 22nd of June and the full programme will be available on the Woordfees website in both English and Afrikaans from the 23rd of June. The printed Afrikaans festival guide will be available free of charge at the Woordfees office and in selected bookstores and libraries. Festivalgoers will be able to download this guide in PDF format from the website. A downloadable PDF of the full festival programme in English will also be available.

The Toyota SU Woordfees takes place from 7 to 15 October 2023 in Stellenbosch. Watch our website and social media pages for updates on the festival. For any enquiries, please send an email to