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Cultural Activities

Activities of the Cultural Working Group during 2003 and 2004

As our name already explains our group focuses on cultural and event management. In the process we try to build bridges of interest between South Africa and Austria, to expand our knowledge of the variety of cultural forms between the two countries. At the same time we plan to build up contacts with South Africa organizations, artists, educational institutions, etc. Naturally we also organize events for our members to get to know one another better and to form new friendships, as well as to address potential new members.

To promote these goals, we organised a Fun Run in the Donaupark and a South African Evening at the Stephanie Hotel where we enjoyed a wonderful South African buffet and a wine tasting of excellent South African wines. At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in February 2005 we hope to show you a video that was made during the SA Evening.

The trip to Venice on the 19th of March 2004 was organised by Wilma Kapfer and 11 persons joined the group. It was an excellent opportunity to make new contacts. The group left Vienna at 22:15 in the evening and arrived in Venice in the early morning. The day was fully packed with sightseeing (including Murano, the glass island), lunch in a lovely restaurant and explorations up and down the hundreds of alleys and bridges. At 20:45 they boarded the train back to Vienna. Everybody enjoyed this day, some new friendships were formed and we look forward to similar events in the future.

It is also our intention to find practical and creative ways of promoting and/or implementing cooperation activities between Austria and South Africa in cultural, educational and developmental fields. Our pride is the Educational Programme that was started this year.

There was also a morning on SA literature where members could listen to an excellent lecture by Prof. Heilna du Plooy from Potchefstroom. She had spoken on the 5th of May 2003 about the work of the well known author, Breyten Breytenbach. Hopefully we will be able to participate in a similar project to meet André P. Brink and Zoë Wicomb in the beginning of December 2004.

During a film project and art exhibition we were not only all ears but also all eyes. On the 20th of November 2003 (as also mentioned in one of our newsletters) FoSA was so fortunate to be, in cooperation with the department of African Studies of the University of Vienna, the host of Dr. Edwin Hees. At the moment he is guest lecturer at the Institute for English and American Studies in Salzburg and we are glad that he could find the time to make a visit to Vienna.

In South Africa he is senior lecturer at the Department of English at the University of Stellenbosch. On a regular basis he teaches film and South African drama courses in the Drama Department at the same university. Film studies however, is one of his major fields of research. It was in this capacity that he discussed interesting developments in South African film in recent years. He demonstrated his views with extracts from various films.

The development of film since 1895 is impressive and today it is an art just to be a worthwhile viewer of this medium. And with lectures of this kind we try to contribute to film literacy in general – to be able to see better that which can be seen.

At the same time we were privilege that a South African, Christopher Bayne, exhibited some of his paintings. Chris studied textile design in Cape Town and upon coming to Vienna, ten years ago, he changed his medium to painting. A number of exhibitions followed, from “Take Cover” in 1997 to “Dimensions of Vision” in 2001. Chris generously donated 20% of the sale of all artworks of the evening to FoSA, to be used for the educational programme of FoSA in South Africa.

During the cold Austrian winter we had a Curry and Beer Event with 4 different curries and several delicious sambals (to make it really hot!) together with Austrian beer. It was an excellent combination which took place at the well known Austrian brewery, „Salmbräu“.

Some of the events are free of charge, others require(d) an entrance fee, a portion of which strengthens the fund for our Educational programme in addition to what we can add from our membership fees. Thank you very much for all your generosity and we appreciate your participation. In the future we will, hopefully, be able to find (only possible with your help!) some sponsors to lift the responsibility from our shoulders.

The Culture Working Group appreciates new suggestions of members. Please phone us or write to us or attend our meetings where everybody is welcome, not only to work and organise but also to chat and share a good life here in Vienna.