Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging

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The Organisation

The Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) ("Afrikaans Language and Culture Association", widely known by its acronym: ATKV), is an Afrikaans cultural organisation which had a profound impact on Afrikaans theatre.

The organisation was founded in Natal in August 1936, by Afrikaans-speaking members of the South Arican Railways (SAR) in protest against the dominance of English in Natal and in the SAR.

The organisation rapidly developed into a strong cultural organisation, running a wide variety of projects to promote, support and encourage the use of Afrikaans and cultural participation by Afrikaans-speakers among its members and the South African Afrikaans community. By the 1960'S it had moved its base to Johannesburg, and began to make its presence felt through specific projects in the fields of theatre and music. With the collapse of FATSSA in 1960, the ATKV decided to take over the responsibility of promoting amateur theatre in the form of providing the Afrikaans community with drama and music festivals, courses and training for directors. In theatre this includes: ATKV Tienertoneel ("ATKV Theatre for Teenagers") and ATKV Amateurtoneel ("ATKV Amateur Theatre"), both founded as annual play festivals and competitions in 1963; ATKV Kampustoneel (a festival for Drama Departments at tertiary institutions, intended to provide new Afrikaans playtexts, founded 1983), ATO (Afrikaanse Toneel vir Onderwyskolleges = "Afrikaans Theatre for Teachers' Training Colleges", founded 1985). Its musical competitions (Crescendo and ***) have also produced numerous musical and cabaret performers and texts. ***Besides the competitions and festivals the ATKV runs regular playwriting, directing ond other workshops and awards the annual C.R. Swart Prize for new Afrikaans one-act plays. The ATKV was from the beginning involved in the Oudtshoorn Festival and the Aardklop Festival in Potchefstroom. [LO & TH]


ATKV Amateur Toneelkompetisie ("ATKV Amateur Play Competion")

An annual national competition for amateur theatre companies which was begun in 196*?. It runs regional competitions, from which the winners go to Bloemfontein for the finals. It is a revival of the FATSSA Amateur Play Competion?* which began in 193*? and ended in 195*?, when FATSSA ceased to exist.

ATKV Kampustoneel (i.e. "ATKV Campus Theatre")

Generally referred to simply as Kampustoneel.

Founded in Pretoria in 1983 by the ATKV, under the guidance of the ATKV drama organiser Pieter Fourie and ATKV director Fritz Kok, and presented annually in April. This hugely successful project was created to stimulate the writing of original full length Afrikaans plays in a time when most writers had moved to television.

All South African University Drama departments were offered an amount of money (initially about R2000) with which to contract a playwright to write a new play in Afrikaans. The Department was also given a production fee of about the same amount to develop and stage the play. The companies then all travelled to Pretoria in April to show the piece. The playwright was given feedback by the audience and then had to go back and rework it to a publishable format.

At the first festival in 1983 only one original play was performed, with three translations to fill out the programme. The number of original Afrikaans productions rapidly grew to about ten per year (by 1986). Among the dramatists who revived their careers or made their debut during these festivals, are a number who were to shape the revival of Afrikaans writing and dominate it in the 1980s and 1990s. These include Hennie Aucamp, Reza de Wet, Charles Fourie, Corlia Fourie, Pieter Fourie, Nico Luwes, Deon Opperman .

The festival was lionized by the media and attended by agents and producers from all over the country and therefore a large number of performers and directors also launched their careers at the event, including Gerrit Schoonhoven, Susan Coetzer, Nico Luwes, , ***.

From 1990 onwards groups outside university campuses took part in a fringe festival. Until 1995 the festival and fringe took place in various Pretoria theatres. In 1995 ATO (a festival and competition for Teachers' Training Colleges) was also merged with Kampustoneel. From 1996 it became part of the Kleinkaroo Arts Festival and from 1997 it was supposed to have a more "professional" character. However, this proved to be nothing but a euphemism - sadly the festival had been discontinued.

In die 5 years preceding the Kampustoneel initiative, only five new plays were written and only four were produced. This all changed radically after 1983, with new plays regularly making their debut at the festival, and about 40% of them being snapped up for professional and amateur performance and publication.

Among the more successful Kampustoneel plays have been:

Slegs vir Almal (Hennie Aucamp),

Die Koningin en die Nar (Ben Dehaeck)

Diepe Grond (Reza de Wet)

Op Dees Aarde (Reza de Wet)

Ek, Anna van Wyk (Pieter Fourie),

Graswewenaar (Nico Luwes),

Die Buite-egtelike Ouma (Nico Luwes), .

Fluit vir die Vlieë (Thijs Nel,

Môre is 'n Lang Dag (Deon Opperman),

Die Potlooddief en die Engel (Ampie van Straaten),

(LO& TH)

ATKV Tienertoneelkompetisie ("ATKV Theatre Competition for Teenagers")

Also written ATKV-Tienertoneelkompetisie, the competition was created to cultivate a love of acting in and attending Afrikaans theatre productions among high school learners, while also enhancing their general creativity and individual talents. The idea is that the directors will involve the learners in all facets of the particular production, including front of house and backstage activities, as well as performing.

It was initiated in 1963 first and is run as an annual national competition for schools, making use of initial regional competitions, from which the winners go to a central point, usually Pretoria or Bloemfontein, for the finals.

In a way this was a revival of the schools section of the FATSSA Play Festivals which were held from 1939 to 1959 (when FATSSA ceased to exist).

Afrikaanse Toneel vir Onderwyskolleges (ATO)

("Afrikaans Theatre for Teachers' Training Colleges".)

Sponsored and organised by the Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV), this project was launched in 1985 and was specifically aimed at non-Afrikaans-speaking students at the Teacher's Training colleges in the country. It consists of a competition in which one-act plays are performed and prizes are awarded for the best production, best performers and supporting performers. In 1991 the competition was opened for amateur groups from outside the ambit of the tertiary institutions. In 1995 the competition was merged with ATKV Kampustoneel. (LO)

Awards and competitions

The C.R. Swart Prys ("C.R. Swart Prize")

This is an annual award given for the best new Afrikaans one-act play by the Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV).

It is named after Advocate C.R. Swart, (1894–1982), the last governor-general of the Union of South Africa (1959 to 1961) and the first state president of the Republic of South Africa (from 1961 to 1967), who had at one stage briefly been an actor in Hollywood cowboy films.


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