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A special festival for city


"We would like to show Kimberley that a person living with a disability can present and host a fun-filled event for members of the public . . . an event that is nothing short of a true festival,”

PREPARATION work has started for the Yonder Hartsfees. Below: CEO of Yonder, Jannie van Zyl.

THE people of Yonder are ready to host the first ever Yonder Hartsfees. This new and exciting festival will effectively replace the Gariep Festival, which was last held in 2017.

Although the Yonder Hartsfees will take place over the same weekend that the Gariep Festival was traditional held, the CEO of Yonder, Jannie van Zyl, assured festival-goers that “it will be different”.

“The festival is very similar to the Gariep Festival and will have most of the activities that were presented at the Gariep. However, ours will also be different. Ours will be hosted by people living with an intellectual disability. We would like to show Kimberley that a person living with a disability can present and host a fun-filled event for members of the public . . . an event that is nothing short of a true festival,” Van Zyl said.

The Yonder Hartsfees will be held from August 29 to September 1.

Van Zyl said what also makes the Yonder Hartsfees stand out is that there will be something for everyone.

“Once you enter the gates you will have the choice of either enjoying the festival as a family or if the children want to do their own thing, there will be activities for them, including the merry-go-round and playground. For the moms there will be stalls and entertainment, while dads can get on to a 4×4 track.

“Parents can safely leave their children so they can also enjoy the festival,” Van Zyl said.

These are just some of the activities on offer, he said. Other activities include colouring in competitions, a baby competition, a strong man competition and a tug-of-war competition, amongst others.

But, Van Zyl pointed out, the main aim is to get members of the public to interact with the residents of Yonder.

“That is why we have planned specific events, such as a bridge building contest where junior council leaders will participate with our residents.

“There will also be a go-kart race with a difference. I’m not going to say more on this because we want to keep the element of surprise on this one,” Van Zyl quipped.

On Friday, August 29, the organisers are planning a wheelchair rugby demonstration which will be followed by a rugby competition the next day.

“We are pleased that the national champions, Upington, will be here as well to provide some competition for the locals.”

Van Zyl said that the residents were also looking forward to the bocce competition. Bocce is an Italian game similar to bowls. The basic principle of the sport is to roll a bocce ball closest to the target ball, which is called a pallina.

He added that, for the first time, the William Humphreys Art Gallery will present an interactive art display. “This is especially exciting for the blind where they will be able to touch the paintings and experience the exhibition as anyone else would.”

The exhibition at the Whag will run the whole of July and August.

According to Van Zyl they are also hoping to present a 5km wheelchair race.

The elderly have also not been forgotten and a treasure hunt with a difference is being planned.

“Fourteen teams with four members each will have to assemble a product in our various workshops. They will finally end up in the restaurant where they will be entertained by Johan Gunter from Radio Rosestad. They will also be able to keep a few items to remember their experience.”

There will also be two main stages where the artists will perform and construction on this has already started.

“The one will be on the Yonder premises while the other is the Haakbosskerm stage. We have managed to secure some top artists, including Francois Bouwer, Ruan and Ranja, Monique, Jan de Wet and the Rockets.

“Well-known TV personalities such as Vaatjie from Toks & Tjops, and Piet Pompies have also confirmed their appearance at the festival,” Van Zyl said.

He said it is a tremendous honour for the more than 280 service users of the Yonder facility. “For many of these service users Yonder is a permanent home while we also accommodate day visitors.

“After a thorough assessment and upon completing a skills training programme some of these service users are placed in the open labour market where they work at local businesses,” Van Zyl said.

However, Van Zyl said some of them cannot be placed in the open market and that is why Yonder has 18 workshops where they work every day.

“Self-worth is one of the key elements taught at Yonder and every service user knows that they make a difference and they have so many talents that need to be shared with the community. That is why this special institution will be presenting an annual festival from this year onwards to showcase their talents and facilities.”