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Fest celebrates all that is Fietas Print E-mail
23 September 2009

Fietas circa 1977: David Goldblatt will be showing 86 of his photographs of Fietas at the Krause Street School

The Fietas Festival is back, after a five-year absence, again revelling in the culture and history of this vibrant part of Johannesburg.

FIETAS will be buzzing as residents and former residents come together to celebrate and reclaim the area's heritage at the fourth Fietas Festival.

Fietas Festival: reclaiming the area's heritage
Fietas Festival: reclaiming the area's heritage
It runs from 24 to 27 September in the streets, buildings and opens spaces of Fietas. Made up of the suburbs of Vrededorp and Pageview, on the western edge of the inner city, Fietas was the colloquial name given to the area by its residents.

In habited mainly by Muslims, the residents were forcibly removed under the Group Areas Act by the apartheid government, and settled in Lenasia, Soweto, Eldorado Park and Noordgesig.

Although the removals happened in the 1970s, they had a lasting impact on the people of Fietas, said Faziel Mamdoo, one of the festival organisers.

The festival is a way to revive the spirit of the place as remembered by those who lived there before the removals. It was first held in 2002, and took place again in 2003 and 2004.

"It is important to host this festival because before the removals this [was] a multicultural, well-bonded community with strong values and we are trying to restore ourselves and reconnect," said Mamdoo.

It returns this year after a five-year gap, after sponsorship was received from the National Arts Council, the Goethe Institute and Arts Alive, among others. Mamdoo said it was supported by both former and current residents.

Day one
The celebrations will begin at noon on Thursday, 24 September at the Krause Street School in Pageview. A community messenger will go to Bosmont and other western areas, telling people there about the events that will take place during the festival.

David Goldblatt, the photographer, will showcase 86 of his photographs of Fietas at the Krause Street School, and will be in conversation with Ferial Haffajee, the editor-in-chief of City Press newspaper.

The 23rd street mosque
The 23rd street mosque
The Malay community will also meet at the 23rd Street mosque for traditional salutations. They will be joined by local Somali, Malawian and Senegalese communities.

From 2pm to 5pm there will be two exhibitions at Krause Street School - one called Quilt of Memory, showcasing individual fragments brought together during the 2003 festival, and the second called Log Book, featuring a 104-year-old diary of everyday happenings.

Day two
On Friday, 25 September at 6am, there will be a Mophaso, a traditional African spiritual offering led by sangomas Gogo Zwelinzaba and Ngonyama.  This will be followed by the launch of the Fietas repository at Matthew Goniwe School, where artefacts and relics of the area will be stored.

At 12 noon, there will be regular Friday prayers, called Jumma, at the 15th and 23rd street mosques, while members of Chinese, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and traditional African faiths will come together to remember ancestors at the Braamfontein Cemetery.

An exhibition at the Bag Factory will be opened at 5.30pm; it will run until 9 October, and will showcase Yusuf Chubb Garda's photography work and audio accounts by Ntate Modimokoane and Junior Jacob. The Bag Factory is at 10 Mahlatini Street, Fordsburg.

Artwork, designed by Rookeya Gardee, Bronwyn Lace and Reg Pakari as part of the general upgrade of the area by the Johannesburg Development Agency, is now being installed in the subway between Pageview-Vrededorp and Fordsburg.

Other exhibitions taking place at Krause Street School include School Assignment, an exhibition of Azad Khan's drawings, made in 1966 when he was 11. He drew these images when one of his teachers sent the class outside to observe their surroundings.

A quilt of memories
A quilt of memories
Quilt of Memory, Log Book and Goldblatt's photographs will be on display throughout the festival.

At 26'10 South Architects on 14th Street there will be a display of the urban development framework for Vrededorp-Pageview.

Day three
On the morning of Saturday, 26 September, the community messenger will take the message of the day's events to the Oriental Plaza in Fordsburg, one of Joburg's most popular - and exotic - shopping destinations.

At 10am, Joburg's emergency management services will host a show for children, where they will be taught about safety in the home, at Docrat's Ruin in 20th Street.

A panel including the City's panning department, ward councillors and local community organisations, will discuss progress in the development framework for Pageview-Vrededorp. They will meet at Docrat's Ruin in 20th Street, at 1.45pm.

Dressmakers will showcase their work in a children's fashion show, again at Docrat's Ruin in 20th Street at 2.45pm.

Other events include an open mic session, story telling, an Indonesian martial arts demonstration and traditional dancers, among others, happening at various venues and times.

Final day
The community messenger will mark the beginning of events on Sunday, 27 September, by going up and down the streets of Orlando, in Soweto, informing people about what will be taking place that day.

There will be potjiekos challenge, a pantsula dance, a marimba band and story telling at Docrat's Ruin, from 10am.

The exhibitions at the Bag Factory, 26'10 South Architects and at Krause Street School will be open from 10am to 5pm.

Over a weekend in August this year, the Bag Factory held kite-making workshops and the documentation of these workshops will be showcased during the Fietas Festival. And the kites will be flown from 4pm, just off Krause Street.

There will also be food stalls, children's mask making, and dominoes, happening at various venues and times.

The crossing of 11th Street at 4.30pm, which symbolises the Vrededorp-Pageview historical racial divide, will mark the closing of the festival.

For more information, contact the Fietas Festival office at 24A De la Rey Street, Vrededorp, or on 011 830 0247.

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