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The English term concert has a number of uses in South Africa. The equivalent Afrikaans term, konsert it used pretty much in the same fashion (see below).

Among the uses are:

(1) The general musical use, to refer to any live musical performance in front of an audience (see

(2) An expanded musical use, where musical performers mount elaborate events on stage, and then include theatrical elements such as lighting, dance, and stage sets. This was often found in formal court presentations, such as tableaus and pageants , but today is most often found in rock and pop concerts.

(3) A more theatrical concept, referring to an evening's entertainment made up of poetry, drama and musical items - particularly in evenings of amateur entertainment and educational contexts (e.g. a "school concert", or an Eisteddfod[1]).

(4) In a similar vein, a popular vaudeville style form of evening's entertainment made up of musical numbers songs, dances, acrobatic acts, comic acts, etc. See Concert parties

(5) Finally the term is also used derogatively on occasion to refer to a bad or inferior musical or theatrical presentation (see under Konsert below).


Literally Afrikaans for a concert, in the sense of a musical presentation, and used in that way.

However, under the influence of the Dutch oratorical societies (Rederykerskamers) and the later Debating Societies, the term also gained another and explicit meaning in Afrikaans during and particularly towards the end of the 19th century, when it became more widely used in an extended sense, to refer to any type of performance held in a town - often a mixed evening of entertainment, the equivalent of a variety show perhaps. That sense of it is still very active in the language (though a little ironically so) and has since transferred back to the term concert in South African English as well - as mentioned in point (3) above (see also Entertainments).

Robert Mohr's amusing farces Ons Hou Konsert (196*) and Ons Hou Konsert 2 (198*) (based on short plays by Melt Brink) actually offer wonderful (even if a little satirical) examples of such an entertainments from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

In this sense konsert may even refer to a performance of a play, although mostly of an amateur nature. The latter use of the term may be done seriously, or is today more often applied cynically or satirically to typify a bad or sub-standard production ("the production was nothing more than a concert"). This Afrikaans use of the term has become part of South African English as well.


F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [2]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik

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