I can unequivocally claim that this weekend is not nearly as exciting as next week’s five-day nightcap. I do however believe that many are nevertheless appreciative of the break – sorry retail workers, we feel for you. Yes, next weekend, does in fact, include the much anticipated Heritage Day (or Braai Day in some circles) and means one thing. The public holiday disappointingly falls on a Sunday, but as per custom here in South Africa, we get the Monday off bar a few exceptions. This means we have a long weekend on the cards though we still need to navigate a few days before we get there. Just think of the coming nine-to-five as one big Thursday waiting to run its course before joy kicks in. I also have a hunch that Braai Day will be just as blazingly hot much like the last couple of days.
I need to issue a caveat for this very reason then; both for this weekend and the next. We forget that winter fast approaches a vanishing point in our rear-view mirrors. With the sun out, we often spend a lot of time outdoors – much of this time is spent around the braai and I can confidently say that beer is but the worst sunblock imaginable. Not only is it ineffective in combating harmful UV rays, but it makes one forget that a bottle of SPF is a minute’s dig away in a bathroom drawer. Stay safe! Let’s do what us Saffers do best – a dop ‘n chop like none other. I suggest you sommer light up those fires early tomorrow morning because the Boks take on the mighty All Blacks in Albany at 09h35. My gut also tells me that we’ll give them a bit of a headache.
In the meantime, let’s check out this weekend’s itinerary.
1.Swan Lake, 15-17 September
Many a thing can be attributed to a country as an activity that they inconceivably excel at seemingly for decades on end. Think Canada and ice hockey, Finland and rally car racing, Australia and surfing, South Africa and the good ol’ braai and the Russians in both gymnastics and ballet. South Africans now have the opportunity to see the acclaimed St Petersburg Ballet Theatre perform the revered and timeless Tchaikovsky ballet, Swan Lake right here on their doorstep. Prince Siegfried, Princess Odette and the villainous Rothbart will duel it out in Montecasino’s Teatro. The celebrated troupe puts on in excess of 200 shows a year world wide – a true testament to their professionalism and skill. Tonight’s show starts at 20h00, Saturday and Sunday features a double-bill with shows at 15h00&20h00 and 14h00&18h00 respectively. Ticket prices start at R190 and are available through Computicket.
2. The Original Oktoberfest, 15-16 September
Admittedly the months do not exactly correspond, but if we can have Christmas in July then we surely can have Oktoberfest in September. Besides, two premature weeks can do no one any harm. Maybe we’re all just a little impatient. I hardly need to colour in what Oktoberfest exactly is about. Many a beer lover dreams of a trip to Munich at some point in their life, but they are completely content to settle for an African proxy. Besides, the weather here is perfect and there is room for a bit of authenticity. The Deutsche Internationale Schule in Pretoria will host the event and there will be no shortage of true German beer and an array of original foodstuffs. It is the 41st celebration on this ground – it thus lends a lot of credibility to it. The Lasterbacher Oompah Band will also be specially flown in for the occasion. This alone speaks volumes of the seriousness of the whole affair. Tickets range between R90 and R250 per person and are all available through Webtickets.
3. The Open Gardens Meander, 16-17 September
I figured we all need a change of pace. I’ll also be the first to admit that thumbing your digits green on a Saturday may not be as good as a holiday, but it may just yet inspire. Besides, a stroll through magnificent greenery within some of Johannesburg’s prime suburbs can usher in the peace and tranquillity one needs after a long week. Six gardens in Houghton, Westcliff, Saxonwold, Parktown North, Parkhurst and Craighall Park (modelled after the Secret Gardens in Rotterdam in the Netherlands will open to the public for viewing. A grand idea one can suppose given that we live and work among tonnes of concrete, corrugated iron and angry motorists. The Johannesburg Garden Club is the brains behind the project and each garden will also offer a sale whereby an array of beautiful flowers and shrubbery are up for purchase. Comfortable shoes are a must – cycling between gardens is highly encouraged. Proceeds are also donated toward the Johannesburg Child Welfare. Your input, therefore, will be much appreciated. Tickets are available per mail via [email protected] at R200 per person. Children under 12 enter at no cost.
4. FreshlyGround LIVE @ Franschhoek Cellar, 17 September
FreshlyGround is a national institution by now. People far and wide within our borders, their musical tastes notwithstanding, would hardly scoff at the prospect should they and the band occupy the same space. We have grown so fond of Zolani and co’s eclectic musical style – a hum-along, in the very least, can simply not be helped. Her powerful voice lends such a formidable bearing to a band that so often produces a quintessential feel-good vibe. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, Franschhoek Valley is wine country and the town proper is very, very pretty. Sundays typically, maniacally oozes the school-bus-blues and the Carte Blanche theme tune never fails to augment that feeling of dread. This is why I implore those from Cape Town and its surrounds to cap of their weekend in style. Besides a short drive and ticketing prices fixed at R185 (available through Webtickets) would make for a day to remember.
5. A Night Of Headliners, 15 September
Our politics gives us so much to cry about. Our politics are luckily good for a few chuckles, too. Everyday life is hard to navigate and most of us are not attuned toward our immediate environment. Assimilating all this information is therefore a forbidding task. Why not leave it to the professionals, I declare?! The Cape Town Club has become a veritable bastion of comedy in the Mother City and tonight’s line-up ought to solidify the establishment’s mantle as the best within the city limits. You know how it goes. Dugald Pieterse (MC), Brent Palmer, KG, Rob van Vuuren and DJ Willy will make startling revelations about daily life, mutate them and exploit general misgivings for your amusement. What could possibly go wrong? Well, nothing, I suppose. This is comedy – it is both hilarious in its brutal honesty and enlightening at times. Well worth the R190 spent. Tickets are available through Computicket. Doors open at 18h30 and the show starts at 20h30.