01 July, 2011

Young Butana making the most of the Arts Fest

Pearl Realmav3riQ Nicodemus

It’s that time of the year again when hundreds of people flock to Grahamstown for 10 days to attend the National Arts Festival.  There is an array of choice, with over 500 shows to choose from.  The shows range from Jazz, opera, cabaret, drama to stand-up comics and folk music.  International and local artists on different scales come to showcase their talent to the many ‘artsy fartsies’ who made their way to the bitterly cold town.  But among the thousands who have travelled long distance to perform or simply witness the grandeur of Fest, are the many locals who decide to also capitalise on the merry ambiance.   

Thirteen year old Butana Nkona from Ndlovini does mime acts for extra money during fest.  He lives with his mother and grandfather.  He also works with his grandfather on the roads to earn some money.  He says he only does this during fest and when it is all over its back to school as usual.   When asked about how much money he usually makes, he seemed slightly uncertain and hesitant to reveal.  Eventually he let up and said he makes around R30 per day.    He said that some people give generously but others just refuse. “Abantu baya sipha kodwa abanye baya nqaba”.  Butana also introduced me to his friend, Snethemba Sandi (17), who washes cars during Fest.  

It is pretty clear that the Arts fest is not just beneficial to businessmen or professional performers, but locals as young as Butana who are grasping the opportunity to make a quick buck.

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