This one’s for the kids

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If you thought the National Arts Festival (NAF) was only about grey haired adults who are into art – think again. Children have their own space at Children’s Arts Festival (CAF). Informally Known as Kidsfest, the programme is designed to free the artist in every child through a variety of programmes and crafts like bead work, basket weaving and mask making.

Children are also taken to age appropriate family theatre. The festival is split into four groups: a mini-festival for pre-school children from four to six years old; a day programme for kids aged six to 13; and a boarding programme which provides accommodation and entertainment for youngsters from schools from outside Grahamstown. Finally, a sponsored programme allows learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to join the fun of fest.

Festival Director, Cindy Renard said Kidsfest aims to expose children to the different kinds of arts forms like dance, music and theatre. Renard says that the fun thing about the festival is that “parents can have their own fun festival time, while the kids have theirs.”

Jaime Donaldson and Julia Huysamer from St Mary School for Girls in Johannesburg who are part of the boarding programme admit to having fun. “I didn’t expect it to be this nice, people always talk about boarding being horrible, but for me it hasn’t been like that” said Huysamer.

Jessica Robertson from East London who is part of the day programme says her parents have been coming to the festival since before she was born, so she has grown up at Kidsfest. “I’d get pretty bored if I were to go with my parents to the main festival, because we don’t like the same stuff. Even them (her parents) they are able to go to shows and do stuff that they like unlike if they were with me.”

Robertson likes the festival so much that she invited her good friend Kristin Bunge along. This is not Bunge’s first visit to the National Arts Festival, though it is her first visit to Kidsfest. “I’m loving the crafts and shows, I’m so glad that Jessica brought me along,” said Bunge.

Nandi Dhlamini (13) has been coming to Kidsfest since she was six. “It’s really nice, we have nice workshops, exciting plays and I’m meeting new people and make new friends everytime”.

To book a spot for your child contact Children’s Festival Director Cindy Renard on 046 622 2149.

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