The Van Riebeeck Festival

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See Van Riebeeck Festival (1952)

Tricentenary celebration of the founding of the Dutch East India Company’s refreshment stop at the Cape of Good Hope by Jan van Riebeeck on 6 April 1652. Besides a variety of theatre presentations by the National Theatre Organisation (NTO), a mass historic pageant and re-enactment of Van Riebeeck’s landing was Organised in Cape Town and directed for the ‘’Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Organisations’’ (the FAK = Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge) by pageant mistress Anna Neethling-Pohl, with a text by popular playwright Gerhard Beukes (based on Gustav Preller’s history) and with the playwright and journalist W.A. de Klerk as public relations officer. The role of Jan van Riebeeck was played by André Huguenet. The pageant basically focussed on the event as the beginnings of Afrikaner nationhood, seeing it as a history of the triumph of civilization over darkness. Resistance to the festival came from both English liberal politicians as well as the Non-European Unity Movement (NEUM) and the ANC. NTO productions during the festival included Die Jaar van die Vuuros (“Year of the Fire Ox”) by W.A. de Klerk and The Dam by Guy Butler. (See Binge, 1969, Neethling-Pohl, 19**; Stead, 1985, Official Programme of the Van Riebeeck Festival, 1952; Rassool and Witz, 1993; Kruger, 1999, pp79-80).

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