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Johannesburg

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A local theatre company, Sketch Productions, performed Droogfontein to raise awareness about Johannesburg’s water-related problems.  Artistic Director, Hannah Nokwazi van Tonder, focuses on the issues related to water scarcity and lack of proper water treatment in the performance.

Creative Commons LicenseDroogfontein by Cody van Wyk is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Droogfontein, or dry fountain in English, is a good play on words. A well working wordplay as many places in South Africa have ‘fontein’ in their name. The name is also a commentary on capitalism. There is no new land to call ‘fontein’, yet the capitalist owners continue to deplete these ‘fountains’ until they are dry, leaving little to none for the rest. We, as humans, can no longer find the sources of the springs of life that we so desperately need.

The performers are residents of a fictitious town, Droogfontein. They search for the true source of life, a fountain of water. But people are not perfect, and so the source is exploited and taken for granted. Will the community recognize the importance of protecting this precious water or is the name droogfontein a prophecy?

Creative Commons LicenseDroogfontein Images by Masego P. Chale are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Background: Performers of Johannesburg, South Africa

Hannah, along with her choreographers Quinton S. Manning and Joel Leonard, collaborated with a team of eight performers from the ages of 11 to 26 to help make this performance a site to behold. All come from the group, Sketch Productions.

A note from the Artistic Director

I remember the first drought I ever experienced. The water crisis was so bad that we had to wait every week for trucks to come into town and bring us water. But this was not free; we had to pay large sums for it. From that moment onwards, I made sure to speak out not only about water shortages, but also the human impacts of the water crisis. Even to this day, I experience issues. Where I live now, we always see water in the streets, smelling less like water and more like sewage. Additionally, we constantly have water shortages, leaving us without.

I was humbled to be a part of the Global Water Dances community. Staging Droogfontein, for me, was less about giving a performance and more about raising awareness about Johannesburg’s water problems. Many times we see the city as this all giving, all divine construct, when many times it fails to provide for our daily needs. [Hannah Nokwazi van Tonder]

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