Awards for South African legends at KKNK

Colbert Mashile

A LEGENDARY actress, an internationally renowned writer, a young voice with a bright future, a man who has left deep traces in the Klein Karoo and a visual artist with South Africa in his blood. At this year’s KKNK recognition is given to Jana Cilliers, Deon Meyer, Eldon van der Merwe, Poem Mooney, and the Festival Artist Colbert Mashile. The 28th KKNK takes place in Oudtshoorn from Saturday 23 to Sunday 31 March.

Actress Jana Cilliers receives the Kunste Onbeperk Prize for Acting and says this honour is so much more special because she is on stage at the KKNK this year in a production she also wrote. “You can’t play what is not written,” she says.

Deon Meyer receives the KKNK Afrikaans Onbeperk Prize for Literary Contribution. “This prize is a tremendous honour and caught me off guard. And this is not false humility. To be honoured for something that you enjoy doing so much, almost feels wrong,” he says.

Eldon van der Merwe is honoured with the Kunste Onbeperk Prize for Young Voice. He was 12 years old when he was cast in the stage production of Fiela se kind and studied drama after school at Northlink College. Roles in series like Arendsvlei and Ouboet en Wors followed, as well as work on stage in amongst other plays Fietsry vir dommies, which can be seen at the KKNK this year. The versatile Van der Merwe is also on stage in the musical Roem.

The legendary storyteller and writer Poem Mooney receives the KKNK Prize for Lifetime Contribution to Arts and Culture. He has written books like Kringe om die maan, Dit klink soos ’n klok and Stories uit Lap (his book about Prince Albert) and he is Chief of the Attakwa Khoisan organisation which he represented in 2000 at the World Summit of Indigenous Nations in Switzerland.

Colbert Mashile is this year’s Festival Artist. As a child he used any possible surface to draw on and after school in Bosbokrand in Mpumalanga he went to Pretoria to study Public Administration. But in the city of jacaranda trees, the young Mashile discovered art galleries for the first time and knew: “This is what I want to do. I want to become an artist.”

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