Concert to be hosted on land meant for centre

Denis Goldberg, pictured in the centre, with a few Hout Bay children part of the art and culture programme.
The Dennis Goldberg House of Hope (DGHOH) is set to be built on a part of the existing Hout Bay Museum site after they secured a 99-year lease and this year, they want to celebrate this moment in style.

After raising enough funds to get the first phase of the building project off the ground, DGHOH now wants to host the Ukufikelele – Reaching Out Concert on the very site that is set to become the Dennis Goldberg House of Hope arts and culture education centre.

Debbie Budlender from the DGHOH confirmed that they were waiting on the City of Cape Town to approve building plans, but  in the meantime, they would like to celebrate the occasion by hosting the concert on the site next month.

“What is also special is that this concert, unlike the previous one, is being held on the site where the DGHOH will be built and where we hope to see building start soon, as soon as the City council has given final approval of our plans.”

She said the proposed arts and culture centre will act as a place where children and youth from the different communities can come together to “dream, to grow, to learn and to enrich their lives.”

“One of the objectives of the DGHOH is to provide opportunities and experiences in the arts to the Hout Bay community that might otherwise not be available,” Ms Budlender said.

This is not the first concert connected to DGHOH. The idea of the DGHOH was launched at a concert in April 2018, on the occasion of Dennis Goldberg’s 85th birthday held in Parow.

The concert was co-ordinated by Gareth Lubbe, a South African violinist and overtone who is currently a professor at  the Folkwang University in Essen, Germany.    

Next month, Mr Lubbe will be returning to co-ordinate the concert, which is on a more ambitious scale than the previous one as it includes several performers from outside South Africa, several from outside Cape Town, alongside some in Hout Bay.

Among the performers are Mathijs van Dijk, a local composer who has composed a special piece for the concert, with dancers, a story-teller, and singers from Hout Bay’s very own Ingoma Choir, who will all perform alongside other musicians. Dancers include 14-year old Erita Chen from Hong Kong who will perform alongside two Jazzart dancers, Rian Jansen and Abigail Overmeyer.

“This concert is not aimed at our key target group, which is children and youth, but we have invited young people from partner organisations and institutions to attend a rehearsal with an adapted programme in the afternoon. So while the primary aim of the concert is to celebrate what we hope to offer children and youth of Hout Bay as we move forward, we have tried to incorporate some aspects oriented to this target group into the concert,” Ms Budlender explained.

A piece by children from the Amoyo Performing Arts Centre will also be part of the concert and will give a taste of what local children can do in the areas of arts and culture.

Mr Goldberg is an icon of the struggle for freedom in South Africa. The son of immigrant parents who were actively opposed to apartheid, Mr Goldberg learned in early childhood to respect all people and became politically active in the struggle against apartheid.

He studied at the University of Cape Town where he graduated as a civil engineer. As a result of his political work he was sentenced in the Rivonia Trial of 1963-1964, alongside Nelson Mandela and others, to life imprisonment for participation in the armed struggle against apartheid.

After 22 years in prison, he resumed political activity in 1985. Following the dawn of the democratic era in South Africa in 1994, Mr Goldberg set up Community H.E.A.R.T welfare fund in the UK and Germany to support social projects in South Africa. Mr Goldberg has lived in Hout Bay for more than two decades and has initiated and supported many activities, including at the Hout Bay Museum, assisting in the research of the social history of Hout Bay. He was also instrumental in researching A Decolonised” History. The 3rd World in World War 2. Most recently he set up the Denis Goldberg Legacy Foundation which supports his work and vision.

He then founded The Denis Goldberg Trust, which is a vehicle through which he and others could contribute to the community in which he has lived for the past 16 years.

One aspect of the DGHOH arts and culture education centre is that it will include a gallery that will house a large art collection, including artefacts and sculptures, that Mr Goldberg has accumulated over the years – a collection that is currently in his house and provides a stark contrast to the grey cell in which he spent 22 years of his life.

“The gallery will also have a small exhibition on Denis’s life and contribution. Further, the DGHOH will have different-sized activity spaces which local NGOs can use to offer arts and culture and related activities for young people, and which the trust itself will use to provide activities and opportunities that are not being offered by others,” Ms Budlender said.

A sod-turning event was hosted in April last year, which was a small intimate affair combined with the 40th anniversary celebration of the Hout Bay Museum.

The concert takes place on Thursday February 13 at the Hout Bay Museum, 4 Andrews Road, Hout Bay, at 7pm. Tickets cost R300 and includes a plate of akhni and non-alcoholic drink. Tickets are available through Quicket.