Youth raise funds to attend desert festival

Some of the Hout Bay High School pupils hoping to make the trip to the Kalahari Desert Festival. With teachers Amanda Swart, front left, and Jan-Len van Wyn, back left, are, back, Geraldine Farao and Sasha Jonkers, and, front, Sergio Juries, Ceatan Smith and Keano Davids.

Hout Bay High School teachers Jan-Len van Wyk and Amanda Swart need R50 000 to take the youngsters to the Kalahari Desert Festival, being held from Wednesday March 21 to Saturday March 24, about 200km from Upington.

The venue is on traditional Khoi grounds, and the youngsters will not only take part in the festival but also have a chance to learn more about Khoi culture.

The money will cover transport, food and accommodation.

The group of 32 includes jazz and marimba performers and other artists. There are pupils from Hout Bay High, Sentinel Primary and the Harvest Youth Project.

Mr Van Wyk studied previously at the South African San Institute, which is how he came to know of the festival.

“For us the trip is also a chance to give back to the community. There is an academic element at the festival where youngsters can learn more about the Khoi culture, and the locals also have a chance to put up stores to make some money,” he said.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for our kids and a chance for them to escape the restraints of their community.”

He and Ms Swart have been hard at work raising funds, putting out appeals on social media and visiting local businesses.

Hout Bay High pupil Sasha Jonkers said: “I am looking forward to learning more about a culture that was so segregated under apartheid.”

Ceatan Smit is excited about the prospect of travelling to the desert and learning more about the Khoisan, while Sergio Juries expects the trip to be “lots of fun” and he said he couldn’t wait for the chance to swim in that part of the world.

Email Mr Van Wyk at if you want to donate to the trip.