Don’t miss these Woordfees highlights

The Toyota US Woorfees is a lovely arts festival attracting artists and visitors from across the globe. There are more than 1,000 items on this year’s programme – we dig up some of the biggest Woordfees highlights to look out for.

The theme of this year’s Festival is “Keep moving and making noise” – attributed to a Jan Rabie’s short story “Ek het jou gemaak” in his groundbreaking 1957 volume 21 – referencing to the festival’s 21st birthday and also a reaffirmation of the Wordfees’ central commitment to literature. In addition, it recognizes the welcome financial injection of Toyota, says Saartjie Botha, festival director.

“Art festivals are breeding places for energy and test ground for radical ideas. The one thing a party can’t afford is stagnation.”

The festival runs from 6 – 15 March 2020 and is divided into writers’, music, theatre, film, discourse, visual arts, agriculture and lifestyle sections. With so many Woordfees highlights to choose from, the organisers have people like Deon Meyer, Veronique Jephtas and Fiona van Kerwel to list their picks – but this still only scratches the surface. Herewith our suggestions of some of the other gems of this years Woordfees.

Stellenbosch Visio events at Woordfees

Stellenbosch Visio will present a series of lifestyle events at the 2020 edition of the Woordfees. Herewith our list of a selection of our events.

Kerneels, Topkos and Cabernet

De Warenmarkt

Presented by Stellenbosch Visio in collaboration with the restaurant De Warenmarkt and the Stellenbosch Cabernet Collective is sure to be one of the biggest Woordfees highlights. De Warenmarkt’s star chef Norman Human conjures Italian-inspired dishes from Dog’s Mind, the latest novel by Kerneels Breytenbach, Visio’s restaurant writer. The food will be served with local select wines from the Stellenbosch Cabernet Collective. Only 50 seats available, bookings essential.

Date: 10 March 2020, 19:00-21:30
Tickets: R750 each
Venue: De Warenmarkt, 20 Ryneveldstraat






Get the latest fashion news and practice your floral art in this presentation by Stellenbosch Visio, fashion guru Jackie Burger and flower artist Alwijn Burger. Jackie visits Blomboy in his studio to celebrate the age-old love affair between flowers and beauty. The morning kicks off with “Style sentiment”, in which Jackie talks about fashion. Afterwards, guests can enjoy “Bubbles with blossoms”, or a glass of sparkling wine with flower infusions.

The afternoon concludes with a workshop and demonstration by Blomboy. Here, guests can get creative with flowers and play, create and socialize.

Date: 11 & 13 March 2020 at 11:00-15:00
Tickets: R1 980 each
Venue: Blomboy Studio, 19 Herte Street, Stellenbosch


Stellenbosch Triennale 2020-Rondleiding

Presented by Stellenbosch Visio, Toyota US Woordfees Festival-goers can take one of two guided tours of Triennale exhibition, presented by Dr. Mike Mavura (Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography) and Francé Beyers (editor of Stellenbosch Visio).

Guests meet at the Woodmill Lifestyle Center, Vredenburg Road, Devon Valley. The Wordfees shuttle service will transport guests and return them to their car.

Date: 9 and 10 March 2020 at 10:00-13:00
Tickets: R300 each
Venue: The Woodmill Lifestyle Centre, Vredenburgweg, Devonvallei. Die Woordfees shuttle service will return guests to their vehicles afterwards.

Snoekbraai at Kanonkop

Kanonkop Collector’s Edition

A cosy affair hosted by Stellenbosch Visio and Kanonkop. A wine tasting on the famous wine farm led by winemaker Abrie Beeslaar is already a festive affair. Add to that the company of RSG’s Martelize Brink and the Kanonkop brothers Johann and Paul Krige, plus their legendary spit-braai… and to top it off, throw in the launch of Emile Joubert’s great book Kanonkop: The Making of a Legend, published by Tip Africa Publishing and you have a recipe for a kuier like no other.

Date: 11 March, 10:30-13:30
Tickets: R480 each
Number of tickets available: 50
Place: Kanonkop Wine Estate, R44
Kanonkop: The Making of a Legend is available for R495 (Incl VAT)  on the farm during the Woordfees.

Other Woordfees highlights


  • All Who Pass by Amy Jephta, in which a woman returns to District Six and is overwhelmed by memories of the last night in the home from which her family was forced
  • Valsrivier, an adaptation by Saartjie Botha of Dominique Botha’s award-winning novel
  • Die sonkamer by André Gerber with, among others, Antoinette Kellermann and Lida Botha – An intimate look at the elderly in a retirement village


For the first time this year, the Woordfees has a full category for contemporary dance, thanks in part to the increase in the number of dance companies in the Cape Metropolis.

  • Baqamile, created by artist Buhlebezwe Siwani, combines several South African transit rites and uses video, singing, music, soundscapes and dance to create a sensually overwhelming experience.
  • Krummelpap, afval en sunlightseepbaddens is a compassionate dance narrative interwoven with Ronelda Kamfer’s poetry and iconic South African music by, among others, Abdullah Ibrahim and the Soweto String Quartet.

This is another new section consisting of a variety of demonstrations, courses, discourse talks and other presentations.

Writers Festival
Along with the cream of Afrikaans literature, festival-goers will also be able to listen to a host of international writers.
• Christy Lefteri (The Beekeeper of Aleppo) from London
• Damian Barr (You Will Be Safe Here) from Scotland
• Suketu Mehta (Maximum City – Bombay Lost and Found) from New York
• Esther Verhoef (Lieve mama) from Amsterdam
• Lize Spit (Het smelt) from Belgium
• Jodi Picoult (Plain Truth). This American star writer will join the discussion via Skype.

Contemporary sounds
Karoo-Suite 2: Karoonagte, Deon Meyer and Coenie de Villiers’ follow up to Karoo Suite
• Nataniël: Hoekom hulle swing
Karen Zoid 20 jaar pops, Karen Zoid and the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra

For more information consult the Woordfees website.

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