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Buchuland is a South African opera in three acts in English and Afrikaans, with music by Roelof Temmingh and a libretto by Michael Williams.

The original text

Buchuland tells the true story of the Elandskloof community, forcibly removed in 1962 from their land near Citrusdal when the Dutch Reformed Church sold what had once been mission land. In December 1996, the Elandsklowers became the first community to own land restored by the Land Claims Court.

Buchuland was commissioned by the Unisa Music Foundation with funds made available from the Art & Culture Trust of the President for the 23rd World Conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) held at the State Theatre during July 1998. The Conference was hosted and presented by the University of South Africa, the State Theatre, Pretoria, the City Council of Pretoria and the University of Pretoria from 19-25 July 1998.

From Unisa Library Manuscripts Collection:

"South African newspapers have been full of stories of people who are claiming land which belonged to them and from which they were forcibly removed. In these stories lies the genesis of the opera Buchuland. But an opera has to be more than just a historical document. Buchuland is a story of people who loved the land and, thirty five years later, eventually triumphed and returned to their land. Buchu is an indigenous herb found in many parts of South Africa. The name “Buchu” comes from the Khoi language, the Khoi people having been the first to recognise its medical qualities."

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1998: Presented at the State Theatre in July. Michael Williams was the director and David Scarr the conductor of the opera. Denise Sutton was the Concert Master of the New Arts Philharmonic Orchestra Pretoria and Rachelle Jonck the Chorus Master of the State Theatre Opera Chorus. The cast included Virginia Davids (Katrina Bantjies), Sibongile Khumalo (Ma Bantjies), Rouel Beukes (Ben Basson), Jannie Moolman (Andries Venter), Fikile Mvinjelwa (Johnnie Fortuin) and American tenor, Curtis Rayam, as Titus April, a part originally conceived for Sidwell Hartman.


'Unisa Library Manuscripts Collection', https://uir.unisa.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10500/3626/Buchuland%20inventory.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

'This land is our land', Mail and Guardian, 17 July 1998

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