Time flies when one is having fun. It is difficult to believe that the first Shared History Festival was ten years ago. I remember sitting in the Wits Theatre and watching some magnificent drama about Gandhi unfolding on the stage. It was great theatre, but more than that, the festival filled me with delight.
Over then next eight years, last year being the ninth year of the festival, I have been exposed to some wonderful and varied Indian cultural expressions by Teamwork. Food, dance, music, theatre and visual art have all charmed me and my fellow South Africans.
The festival is not just for South African Indians. It is for all South Africans, for all Indians and for everyone who loves the arts.
This year, the tenth year of the festival starts with a gala event at the Indian Embassy in Pretoria on 30 September. Sufi Gospel music will be show case Sonam Kalra’s vocals as she speaks of peace and equality. Bollywood gets a bite with Gilles Chuyen in an extravaganza dance workshop. The Mandela will play host to Pt Ajoy Chakabarty in a Hindusthani classical concert. I am also learning little bits about classical Indian music. I don’t, sadly, listen to enough of it to consolidate this learning.
Dattani’s Dance Like a Man will appeal to theatre lovers as well as to dance lovers (it is a theatre piece, in English) but it is about aging dancers. I saw this work as part of the Shared History Festival in 2011 and it still sends shivers down my spine when I think about certain parts of it.
Over the years the food section of the Shared History has educated me a little about Indian food. I no longer just eat “curry”. I seek out specific dishes and foods specific to an area of India and their specific style of cooking. It is the turn of Awadhi cuisine in 2016. North Indian food, born in the city of Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh, greatly influenced by Mughal cooking which we encountered a few years back. This will be from the 3rd to the 10th at Classic India in Boksburg.
Shared History 2016 schedule:
Tuesday 30 August at 6:30pm: Embassy of India Pretoria
Opening Reception – performance by Sonam Kalra, (invited guests only)
Wednesday 31 August & Thursday 1 September at 7:00pm: at The Fringe – Joburg Theatre
Music – Sonam Kalra & the Sufi Gospel Project
Friday 2 September at 7:00pm: at The Fringe, Joburg Theatre
Musical – Confluence – one performance only
Saturday 3 September to Thursday 8 September (from 7:00pm) at The Classic India Restaurant, Boksburg
Food Festival featuring Awadhi cuisine
Sunday 4 September at 7:00pm: at The Fringe, Joburg Theatre
Theatre – Dance like a Man – one performance only
Friday 9 September at 7:00pm: at The Mandela Theatre, Joburg Theatre
Grand Finale: Music Concert featuring Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty
Don’t miss these wonderful opportunities to engage with Indian culture.