by Simphiwe Kanityi
Grahamstown National Arts Festival is a yearly festival where all (still to check how real this is) people of South Africa gather in this antique town to show their talent. Showing of talent come in many varying shapes and sizes ranging from music of all kinds, dances of all kinds, stage plays, drama, varying clothes, food and all that is of arts you can think off.
What I want to talk about here specifically is the selling of clothes. There are traditional clothes of all the ethnic groups you can possible think off but this is also an opportunity where the business people from afar places get to sell their goods. This morning judging from the weather things were not going to be the same in the few days of commencement for this fest. We have seen some few drops of rain while the police made it their mission to go around the village green area repossessing all the fake goods which are branded as the originals, range from Nike, Adidas, and soccer t-shirts. I guess if you haven’t your favourite team soccer t-shirt for this world cup you might be crying by now since you planned to get one cheap during the festival.
It is not that I am glad that this is happening neither saying it should not happen but am just concerned of other places where this might be happening. I know for sure that this is happening only in this national arts festival but in Port Elizabeth streets are still full of such goods. It is not that PE is full of corruption but it’s close to Grahamstown which symbolises that every town in South Africa is full of these fake goods. If we can get political a bit we can say that it will (not be impossible) but take time to really eradicate all this for as long as all other national important particulars can be faked, the illegal crossing of borders, IDs, Passports you name all those that comes to your mind.
So what does this mean to the fest goers and fest makers? We know that this years’ festival is longer than usual but some business men and women says it is a blow that their goods are being taken away. Some goes on to say they do not see many business people staying till the end of the festival…in world cup terms “Phillip (feel it) can be gone” sooner than expected. This is due to the fact that if their goods are possessed by the police they will be left with nothing to trade which provides no reason for them to stay around. We will be watching closer to see the development of this story otherwise it is still difficult to speak to the authorities because coming to the festival one needs to have his goods approved by the festival organisers. The festival started on a low note but there is hope that as the week progresses there will be more buzz.