Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees
Originally named the "Klein Karoo Kunstefees" in 1994, it soon changed its name to the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, but is now most popularly known as the Oudtshoorn Fees ("Oudtshoorn Festival"), or by its acronym - the KKNK.
The festival includes both the visual and the performing arts and is officially recognized by the South African government as a national arts festival. Judged by number of visitors it is also the largest South African arts festival.
Deriving from an idea by a businessman from Oudtshoorn, Nic Barrow, and a former Public Relations Manager for the South African publishing firm Naspers, Andrew Marais, joined by a group of concerned Afrikaans-speaking civic leaders, including playwright Pieter Fourie, film director Jans Rautenbach, and former PACT director Gerrit Geertsema. Founded in 1994 with the express purpose of promoting the Afrikaans language and its associated cultural achievements in the face of the triple threat of potential Americanisation, Anglicisation and Africanisation in the new South African dispensation.
Initially supported by Naspers, the festival grew quickly from ** shows in 1994 to ** in 2002, by which time it was considered the largest festival in the country. In 20* ABSA Bank became the name sponsor, and it was officially renamed the ABSA KKNK.
The first festival took place in 1994.
The KKNK yearly attracts more than 1000 artists performing or exhibiting in more than 200 productions and exhibitions over eight days; the 2007 arts festival took place from 31 March to 8 April.
The festival has come to play a central role in Afrikaans stage productions - new productions are usually first staged at the KKNK and are then performed throughout the rest of South Africa during the rest of the year.
Economically the KKNK has been a source of growth for the town and its surrounding region, with many private individuals and institutions benefitting from renting out accommodation, halls and grounds during the festival.
Hauptfleisch, Temple 2007. "In search of the rainbow: The Little Karoo National Arts Festival and the search for cultural identity in South Africa", in Hauptfleisch, Lev-Aladgem, Martin, Sauter, and Schoenmakers (Eds.): pp 79-96.
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