Image: Mandela Bridge, Johannesburg
As August approaches, the excitement builds and I look eagerly at Teamwork’s festivals of India spread across the world map, making steady imprints across the globe. I have been a loyal follower of all that Teamwork does for the revival of the arts essentially Indian, and the festivals which showcase the multi-faceted idea of India abroad have a special place in my heart.
One of them has my particular attention – Shared History, a festival of India in South Africa. Unbelievable that ten years have passed since the first Shared History and this one, beginning on August 30th – September 10th, will actually mark ten years of the festival’s existence. The breathless build-up in Jo’burg, our very own modern-day El Dorado, has begun and the High Commission of India is being prepped up for the gala.
Shared History has covered a kaleidoscope of visual and performing arts events including Music, Dance, Theatre, Comedy, Wellness and Food from India and even this year collaborations between us and South African artistes are on in full swing. Two countries bound by the towering figures of history, freedom and liberation – Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela come even closer, I feel, as festivals such as these create those heart-warming connections.
I am most thrilled by this year’s line-up: imagine Sonam Kalra’s ethereal voice will resound across the South African city as she speaks of peace and equality through her unique brand of Sufi Gospel. I have goosepimples as I imagine the grand maestro Pt Ajoy Chakrabarty bringing alive Hindusthani classical in the historic Mandela theatre under a vivid almost violet South African evening sky as part of the festival’s grand finale.
The taut performance of Dattani’s Dance Like a Man, that acute portrayal of relationships is one of my all-time favourites and it will travel to the festival this year. And believe it or not, where there is India, there has to be Bollywood right? There will be the incomparable Gilles Chuyen with all his Bollywood masala and extravaganza in an open air dance workshop!
And alongside all of this, will run this delectable food festival with all of India’s glorious and signature dishes on the menu at the Classic India restaurant at Jo’burg’s tony Key West.
So while I am dreaming of azure skies, emerald green parks, sounds of jazz wafting by, perhaps everyone in the blogospshere could gear up to plan their next trip to SA along with the Shared History Festival and keep pace with the frenzy which will capture the city soon! Do visit the teamwork website for details… totsiens people (that’s ‘bye in Afrikaans!). I shall be back though with more details. Watch this space…