Over 73 artists in and around Mitchell’s Plain performed and showcased their original work at the very first Blaqpearl Foundation Arts Festival.
The festival took place at Alliance Francaise, Portland, from Friday June 23 until Saturday June 24.
Co-founders Janine and Shane Overmeyer, said there was everything including music, dance, theatre, poetry, photography and art and crafts.
The eclectic mix was enjoyed by a strong crowd, with special guests including Vicky Sampson and Cream Machine, who also performed with their master of ceremonies (MC) Shabba Kush Kush.
Ms Sampson sang a song called Hoerikwaggo. Because of Vicky’s great love for Table Mountain, her heritage and the city in all its diversity, this song was written specifically for her, she said.
The song was written and produced by Nini Schlechter and produced by Werner Beukes and it features Quintin ‘Jitz Vinger’ Goliath in the rap section and Vicky Sampson on main vocals.
“This song is based on the heritage of Cape Town as a city and province and we hope that the provincial government is able to license this song to inspire and promote our beautiful province and all that reside in it and travel to it,” she said.
“It was a fun-filled event with positivity, and a lot of work to put together alongside my team,” said Ms Overmeyer. We’re glad so many members of the community came out to support – and we can’t wait to do it again next year,” she said.
The Arts Festival is the culmination of a nine-month collaboration between the Overmeyers’ foundation and The Craft and Design Institute (CDI). The CDI has spent the better part of a year working alongside notable community-based organizations in Mitchell’s Plain and beyond, with the goal of nurturing artistic talent and uplifting local communities. The project is backed by the national government’s Social Employment Fund (SEF), (“New project gives artists work support,“ Plainsman April 26, 2023)
“Working with the CDI and the SEF project has been phenomenal. It enables us to assist and help artists in our community, many of whom channel a lot of their emotional trauma into their work,” said Ms Overmeyer.
Ms Overmeyer said she has seen a lot of shifts within most of the artists’ “personal development”.
“They’re grateful for the opportunity and using it as a stepping stone for their careers. I hope to continue working with the CDI so that we keep giving artists opportunities in Mitchell’s Plain,” she said.
Ms Overmeyer herself is no stranger to the arts. She is an accomplished singer and poet who has performed for over 20 years, both nationally and abroad. As a Mitchell’s Plain native, she has always been passionate about using art to bring people together, and she created the Blaqpearl Foundation in 2016 to consolidate her community work under one roof.
“We’ve rolled out various development programmes with the youth, with women, with the community at large,” said Ms Overmeyer. She works closely with her husband, Shane, who is South Africa’s national table tennis champion.