Diversity celebrated at Free State Art festival

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Bloemfontein, 17 July 016 - The annual Free State Arts Festival in Bloemfontein wrapped up last night. The predominantly Afrikaans event this year embraced other South African languages to spread the message of unity and transformation.?

BLOEMFONTEIN – The annual Free State Arts Festival in Bloemfontein wrapped on Saturday.

The predominantly Afrikaans event this year embraced other South African languages to spread the message of unity and transformation.

Afrikaans has in the past been seen as a divisive language, because of its association with the apartheid regime.  

But the organisers of the Free State Arts Festival in Bloemfontein hope to dispel these perceptions.

"The Vrystaat Arts Festival is an Afrikaans language festival that embraces other languages and other cultures as well. We don’t want to just preserve Afrikaans, we want to grow it. And through growing it and making it successful, we can also embrace other languages and other cultures,” said the director of the festival, Dr Ricardo Peach.

For the first time in the festival’s history, there was a Sotho production.

"You give us a play that has a Sesotho with dignity, with respect, spoken like Basotho speak (sic),” said writer and director, Jerry Mofokeng Wa Makhetha.

Artists believe this is a sign of good things to come.

Some of the artworks on display were commentaries on current events, like the recent student protests.

The five-day arts festival ended off on a fiery note with many sculptures set alight, but as a symbol of unity, and not destruction.

* Watch the full report in the video gallery above