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Melkhoutfontein Community Enjoy Pride of Place at Major Cultural Event in the Netherlands

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In 2019 Chairperson of Dreamcatcher Nederlands Hans Mooren, embarked on a unique photo project in Melkhoutfontein with Dreamcatcher South Africa NPC. Embracing a human centred approach, the aim of the photo project was to recognise the diversity and heritage of Melkhoutfontein, situated near Stilbaai. Hans and wife Coby have been volunteering with Dreamcatcher and visiting Melkhoutfontein for over two decades. Spending weeks in the community Hans took over 200 photos of residents and their homes. After the Covid Pandemic in April 2022 Hans and Coby revisited Melkhoutfontein and with the support of Dreamcatcher they held a community celebration to exhibit the images. Hans also provided those photographed with their own copies, and donated books containing all the images to the local library.

Excitingly when back in the Netherlands Hans was invited to showcase the impressive photo collection at the ‘Festival voor het Afrikaans’ held in The Hague, Netherlands. Held over 4 days in November 2023 the event celebrated the diversity and talent of South Africa through literature, poetry, film, music, and laughter. Renowned artists that performed included the Frazer Tribal Echo Band from Kleinmond, Stef Bos, (both featured in the images below), Amanda Strydom, and award-winning South African poet and author Antjie Krog.

The Melkhoutfontein images, specifically fire-proofed for the event, enjoyed pride of place with bunting containing the photographs, strung from the ceiling and around the event centre for all to view. The South African Ambassador to the Netherlands, Vusi Madonsela, gave a surprise rendition of the beautiful Afrikaans poem ‘Heimwee’ (Yearning) by J.R.L. van Bruggen at the opening reception, where the community, situated far away almost at the tip of Africa, was affirmed and celebrated, also receiving mention in the Daily Maverick. Thanks to Hans, wife Coby, all at Dreamcatcher Nederlands, and Dutch friends of Dreamcatcher South Africa for their ongoing support.

Image from Festival voor het Afrikaans
Image from Festival voor het Afrikaans

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