2005 Southern African Arts Festival

March 6, 2005 – Johannesburg, South Africa: The fifth annual Arts Festival of Southern Africa concluded two days and three nights of entertainment, education, inspiration, and rehabilitation of artistic ability — professionally and at all levels. The festival is part of an international network of artists working together to build a better world through aesthetics.

The ribbon cutting opening was hosted by the President of the Church of Scientology in Johannesburg, Mr. Ryan Hogarth, and Ms. Peta Mashinini, from the office of the Mayor of Johannesburg. Greetings were received from all round the world, including one from Krystyna Louw, Vice President Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood, California, which highlighted the artist as the one who provides “The creation of all the beauty and glory on which any culture depends” quoting American artist and humanitarian, L Ron Hubbard.

Friday night featured a delightful story in music and dance woven around a young girl (Tanille Retief), who started as a lost soul wandering the streets, exposed to drugs and other evil influences. Then as the music came more and more up the scale, the girl emerged from apathy, and was shown “The Way to Happiness” booklet, which contain which contains 21 common sense principles for better living. She finally joined in the joyous celebration of singers and dancers at cause and reaching for spiritual freedom, created for all mankind, by L Ron Hubbard, the Founder of Scientology. The event included many performers, such as Des Khoury (arrangements and keyboards); John Skuy and the 5X band; Guy McQuade as the evil Death; Mike Woodley and Friends; Ryan Byssche; Steve Cook; Celeste Viljoen; chart topping singer Geoff St John with a Pussycat childrens choir; and Gavin Slender, a stalwart of both our monthly Creative Arts Evenings and previous Festivals.

The second night, produced by former record producer and veteran of the South African music industry, Ernest Shroder, was more classical in content. It opened with well-known chart topping pop singer Geoff St.John. Then poet and film maker Chris Dresser read some of his poetry to the accompaniment of wonderful harp music played by Amarellie Anderson. This was followed by a stunning and unique harp and concert piano accordion duet – the only combination of these two instrumentalists in the world, by Amarellie and Sergio Zephorelli. James van Helsdingen performed an hilarious acting piece, followed by a trio of a cappella singers, Robin Hogarth, Terry Meredith, and Dave Dale. The show closed with music from singer Veronique Lalouette. She was accompanied on some of the numbers by her father Denny Lalouette, one of the top bass guitarists in the business.

Sunday night, presided over by Master of Ceremonies, Robin Hogarth, opened with the 5X band: Anthony Spirou, John Skuy, Warren Bruckman, Dudley Louw and Kerry Hiles. Their latest recruit, actress/musician Kerry Hiles, played some stunning solo numbers as a singer and bass player. The well known duo Full Moon then played some numbers.

A presentation relating to the Artists for a Better World CD ‘Africa’ was made. This CD, produced by AFBW George Alger and Roger Nunn, features artists from around the world, and is raising funds for Way To Happiness campaigns throughout Africa. The CD features a number of African artists. Full Moon then was joined by other musicians to play their track from the CD, Mama Africa.

World renown magician, Stan Gerson, from Los Angeles, presented a truly magical forty minutes as the audience of enlightenment and entertainment! The evening ended with an incredible performance by the world-class guitar duo, CH2. Their assortment of Classical, Spanish, Jazz and African music cries out to be heard internationally. These two young South Africans Corneille and Christiaan plan to be in Europe at the time of the St. Hill Arts Festival in August of this year. They have to be heard to be believed.

The festival had a great emphasis on the visual arts, with a wonderful display of paintings, sculptures and other works.

The festival workshops are delivered by professionals in their respective fields, who also show how they have successfully applied L Ron Hubbard’s technology in their field of art. This year the workshops were astutely put together by Jenny Retief. This is where artistic ability is rehabilitated.

In addition to the favorite workshops such as Music, Drumming, Painting, Poetry and Photography, this year’s festival also included Silk Painting, Film Making, Writing for Film, T-Shirt Painting, Hip Hop, Song Writing, How To Break Into Show Biz, A Creative Feast For Kids, Stage Performance Techniques, ‘Your Favourite Star’ and Electric Guitar.

The workshops provided something for everyone, from children and teenagers to the more mature participant. As he has done over the past three years, the country’s foremost authority on South African poetry, Dr. Ian Raper, shared the poetry workshop with Chris Dresser. His casual, friendly and enormously informative style has set many would-be poets on the right track, with Chris providing insight into applying information from L. Ron Hubbard’s Art Book to really communicate their art.

The Film Making workshop hosted by Ueli Gosteli and courtesy of Steve Blades’ company Elephants in Main Street, was also a huge success. Participants who had no previous knowledge of film making quickly welded into a team to produce two excellent short movies, in the incredible time of four hours per film.

Terry Meredith, formerly a top guitarist and now record producer, ran a wonderfully informative guitar electric workshop, as did Kerry Hiles with her Stage Performance Techniques. Domenique Sundelowitz (T shirt painting), Ryan Woodley (photography), Veronique Lalouette (Singing) and Amy Wohlkinger (Paint techniques) also ran first time workshops with great success.

Many of the long-standing participants of the festival also conducted workshops, such as the Goal Maker of the Festival, Robin Hogarth (Basics of Music), Sylvia Coward (Silk Painting), Executive Director Warren Bruckman and Mark Turnbull (Drumming), Tanille Retief (‘Be your favourite star’ and Hip hop), George Randall and James van Helsdingen (How To Break Into Show Biz), Jo-Anne Capazorio (Creative Feast for Kids) and Executive Producer Chris Dresser (Writing for Film and Poetry).

Another major aspect of the Festival are the artist interviews given by Hero Dresser, assisted by Sandy Kroeger, Faith and Paul Barter. Every year Hero and her team rekindle failed purposes and get a number of people back on track as artists, reviving artistic careers and social betterment purposes.

The Arts Festival’s hard working committee is already planning an even more spectacular 2006.

South Africa’s currency is currently very advantageous to visitors from other countries. So no matter where you live, plan to come to our next Festival at the Johannesburg Organisation on March 3-5 2006. Visiting South Africa can be surprisingly economical, and who can resist a true African safari and all else this unique continent has to offer! We intend to bring more international performers to the Festival next year, even though the standard of our local talent compares favourably with anywhere else in the world!

Mention should be made of high level stage, sound and lighting, overseen by John Skuy and produced by veteran Pedro Sjavic, engineered by Anthony Spirou with help from, Danny Roberts and Laurence Retief.

The Executive Committee Southern African Arts Festival 2005

  • Robin Hogarth Goalmaker
  • Chris Dresser Executive Producer
  • Warren Bruckman Executive Director
  • John Skuy Artistic Director
  • Ernest Schroder Assistant Artistic Director
  • Carol Hogarth Organisation Officer
  • Nana De La Rey Communications Executive Secretary
  • Andrew Jackson Organisation Executive Secretary
  • Shelley Ashurst Public Executive Secretary
  • Neil Malherbe Treasury
  • Des Khoury Dissemination and Creative Arts
  • Jenny Retief Workshops
  • Rhona Smit Administrative Secretary
  • Qualifications Secretary Hero Dresser

And many others who helped!