By KEREN BANZA
If you think you can snail-crawl your way to performances during NAF, think again. Late-comers are not allowed in, and while most shows are close to the CBD, down your drinks quickly slow-pokes because some venues are a bit of a trek. For those challenged in the administrative department, here are some tips to ensure you make it to your show on time:
- Know where the venue is. Things can get pretty distracting in these streets, and it’s best to check locations at least a day or a few hours before the show starts so you can plan how you will get there.
- Give yourself an extra ten minutes in case you get lost. I know you think you have time to finish that coffee, but you don’t. Leave early. Contrary to popular opinion, getting lost in this tiny town is possible.
- With its Victorian buildings and churches, Makhanda is a wonderful city to walk through during the day. But wear comfortable shoes; the pavements are as cracked and potholed as the roads.
- If possible, find other people attending the same show as you so you can walk in pairs or groups or arrange carpools. At the very least, it’s better to get lost together – at least you’ll have a story to tell.
- Make sure you are hydrated and well-fed, especially if you are walking, so you can focus on watching the show and not your growing hunger or thirst.
- Look out for signs. Not the metaphorical kind, the NAF ones that direct you to venues – the blue and red boards are difficult to miss.
- If all else fails, ask. That seems pretty straightforward, but people tend to forget there is nothing wrong with admitting you are lost and asking someone for directions. Just remember to always keep your safety in mind.
Here are some venues where our tips will definitely come in handy. These locations are quite a bit of a distance away.
Three shows are set to take the stage in the school hall, Kamphoer, Kak and Delela. Graeme is in the suburbs on the north side of town, and getting lost on the way there is common, even for seasoned festinos.
Located in the industrial area on the western part of town, the Black Power Station is set to be the venue for Spaza (Mushroom Hour), Buhlebezwe Siwani| Artist Walkabout. The station also runs programmes in collaboration with National Arts Festival and many others. One of those collaborators is the Fingo Festival, which used to take place in Fingo Village but has moved to the power station post-Covid. There you can now find some of their previous initiatives, such as the Izodlalanathi Children Fun Fair.
There are also shows in the township areas worth checking out. It is crucial to remember that the National Art Festival is taking place in the whole of Makhanda, not just the city centre. Bringing shows to the township helps bridge the worlds divided by the Kowie ditch, spreads the awareness of arts in the township and exposes people from outside town to what these areas have to offer.
With its signature red-brick walls, St Philip’s Anglican Church is located in the eastern part of town, built-in 1860. Inkciyo: The Remains is a production that will be playing at this venue.
Located in Joza, Nombulelo is a community hall; the show EC Showcase | Dakawa Jazz will be in this venue. Note, Dakawa Jazz is not in the Dakawa centre.
The studio is located in the Joza area. Waya-Waya is an opportunity to engage in a walkabout and conversation with the artist, dealing with turning dumping sites into art.
Do not let long distances catch you off guard or deter you from seeing a show. Use some of our tips, and you might just find time to enjoy that beer.