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Cape Town's Must-See Events and Festivals in Winter 2014
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Cape Town's Must-See Events and Festivals in Winter 2014

Picture of Matthew Keyte
Updated: 9 February 2017
Cape Town is one of the great cities of the world. Overlooking the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa and flanked by the spectacular Table Mountain, Cape Town is now one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the globe and is a noted cultural hub. Art galleries, music festivals, fashion shows — all can be found in Cape Town. Here are some the best art and cultural events set to take place there this winter.


Dance | Ballet Beautiful by the Cape Town City Ballet

4 – 12 July

The Cape Town City Ballet is the oldest ballet company in South Africa, having started life as the University of Cape Town Ballet Company in 1934. This summer the company will be performing three short works together in a series of evening and afternoon shows. The works have been choreographed specifically to demonstrate the versatility of the dancers of the City Ballet, with opening performances by the students of the ZAMA Dance School. The three ballets to be performed will include the new works Serendipity by Yarisha Singh and Of Gods and Men by Kirsten Isenberg, whilst the third piece will by the famous 19th century ballet Paquita by Ludwig Minkus.

Ballet Ballet, Cape Town City Ballet, P.O. Box 94, Rondesbosch, Cape Town +27 21 650 2400



Art | Barthélémy Toguo at the Stevenson Gallery

29 May – 12 July

Barthélémy Toguo is a leading Cameroonian artist who attended art schools in the Ivory Coast, Germany and France. Currently splitting his time between Paris and Bandjoun in his native Cameroon, Toguo has previously exhibited in New York, Paris, Uppsala, Brussels, Lisbon, London and Sydney and his work is featured in the permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Kunstsammlungen der Stadt in Düsseldorf. This summer his exhibition at the Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town is entitled Celebrations and features drawings and installations exploring on the full range of emotions that make up human life – sex and death, joy and suffering, pleasure and pain, beauty and ugliness.

Barthelemy Toguo, Stevenson Gallery, Buchanan Building, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Woodstock, Cape Town +27 21 462 1501



Design | Cape Town Fashion Week

24 – 26 July

The annual Cape Town Fashion Week is where leading South African designers show off their new collections for the coming season. Held in the Cape Town International Convention Centre over three days, the fashion week is sponsored by Mercedes Benz and is arranged by African Fashion International – the company also responsible for the Africa Fashion Awards and the leading promoters of fashion across the continent. Expect to see only the most stylish new designs and the best designers on show in Cape Town, as the selection criteria are kept extremely strict. This year will see South African designers such as Gavin Rajah and David Tlale who have also been successful in Paris and New York reveal new collections.

Cape Town Fashion Week, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Convention Square, Cape Town +27 21 650 6960



Photography | George Hallett at the Iziko National Gallery

Until 9 July

George Hallett is one of South Africa’s most distinguished photographers and has five decades of experience documenting the history of his own country and that of countries across the world. Previously Hallett has exhibited his work in the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, and within South Africa, and held teaching positions in the USA and in London. The National Gallery of South Africa will this summer be hosting a retrospective of his work entitled A Nomad’s Harvest, with images from the entirety of his career and biographical information to explain and contextualise the photographs. There will be images of District Six, Hout Bay, and Bo-Kaap — the famous old quarters of Cape Town — as well as photographs recording the lives of exiled South African writers, musicians and artists in France and England during apartheid.

Iziko National Gallery, South African National Gallery, Government Avenue, Company’s Garden, Cape Town +27 21 481 3974


Theatre | The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at the Kalk Bay Theatre

13 – 24 August

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is set to be performed at the Kalk Bay Theatre this summer over the course of 11 nights. The monologue, written and originally performed by the American raconteur Mike Daisy in 2010 has caused controversy since its first performance, and has been performed worldwide. The monologue explores the labyrinthine moral and ethical issues that underpin consumer capitalism and our addiction to items such as the iPhone. For all audience members watching and listening with an iPhone in their pocket will find it a challenging evening. Daisy makes much of the working conditions of the Chinese factories in which the phones are made. But there are humorous moments too in this assessment of the life and work of Steve Jobs.

Kalk Bay Theatre, 52 Main Road, Kalk Bay 7975, Cape Town +27 79 361 8275


Music | Cape Town World Music Festival

18 – 19 July

The Cape Town World Music Festival brings together international and leading South African performing artists over the Nelson Mandela Weekend in July. Held in the wonderfully baroque Cape Town City hall built back in 1905, the festival welcomes 20 artists. There will be three stages in all – a DJ stage, the seated area, and the main stage for the headline acts. For the 2014 event the headline act will be the Malian guitarist and singer Vieux Farka Touré who will be performing at midnight on the Friday of the festival. Other big names set to appear at the festival include Thandiswa Mazwai, and the South African guitarist Derek Gripper, who recently performed with John Williams to a sold out Globe Theatre in London.

Cape Town World Music Festival, Cape Town City Hall, City Street, Cape Town 8000 +27 72 211 5563



Photography | Dreams to Reality at Erdmann Contemporary

8 July – 29 August

Erdmann Contemporary was established in Cape Town in 2001 and is twinned with a gallery in Aarau in Switzerland. This summer sees the first group exhibition of photography thus far hosted by the gallery with a selection of images by both well-known and emerging talent arranged around the theme of ‘Dreams to Reality’. The images explore dreamscapes and the blurred barrier between the conscious and subconscious mind. There are a wide range of photographic styles on show – amongst the artists featured will be Niklas Zimmer with his floating and ethereal nudes, Tanisha Bhana with images of abandoned landscapes, and the distorted bodies in motion of Robert Hamlbin.

Erdmann Contemporary, 84 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa +27 21 422 3278



Arts Festival | Darling Voorkamerfest

5 – 7 September

The Darling Voorkamerfest is a unique and unconventional arts event that takes place in the small town of Darling, just outside Cape Town. The festival is now 10 years old and features a mixture of many art forms including dance, music, poetry, comedy acts and storytelling shows. The idiosyncratic aspect of the festival is that the events are hosted in the front rooms of the residents of Darling. Festival goers buy a ticket for one of the seven routes around the venues and are ferried by taxi between the houses in which the performances are held. The houses in Darling hosting events range from grand colonial-era Cape Dutch architectural styles to township housing. For 2014 the acts will include the Dutch cabaret act Kim van Zeben and the local performance poet and hip hop artists Jitsvinger.

Darling Voorkamerfest, 8 Arcadia Street, 7345 Darling, Western Cape + 27 22 492 3427


Music | Earthdance Festival

19 – 21 September

The Earthdance Festival in Cape Town is one of 300 Earthdance events taking place across 60 countries to promote social justice and dance and electronic music. Now into its seventeenth year, Earthdance offers three days of non-stop music across three main stages, as well as hosting a Green Village and chill-out zone. On the Sunday morning the Cape Town Festival links up with other Earthdance events in a shared prayer for peace. For 2014 there will be a Sky Temple stage featuring psychedelic dance music from artists including DJ Beardy and The Commercial Hippies, an Ignition Stage for more heavy bass music, and an Aqua Flow Stage focusing on techno, house and electronica. If you are looking for a break from the music then the Green Village will play host to various events including yoga workshops and panel discussions to enrich your mind.

Earthdance Festival, Pronkies Holiday Farm, Piketburg, Cape Town +27 83 228 8660


By Matthew Keyte