We enjoyed returning to the Grahamstown Arts Festival on Monday. However after nine days of festival I came back to P.E. feeling exhausted. Tom saw over 30 shows. I went to many native dances but got so tired of the "stomping Africans" that I opted to spend my time watching various movies. I saw the academy award winner "Searching for Sugar Man." Also Bailout, the Age of Greed; The War Around Us; Sleeper's Wake and Elelwani, which is a film about a young girl who returned to her village after completing her education only to discover that her parents had promised her in marriage to a tribal king. Filmed in Limpopo, this S.A. film featured incredibly beautiful scenery and a rather disturbing plot. However it is typical of how many Africans still arrange their daughter's marriage.Alan Bamford introduced me to the projectionist for films. His father was born in Nevada and served in the U.S. military until he arrived in a small boat in S.A. He married a South African citizen and they had eleven children. Janadie asked if I could get some genealogical information on his father who died many years ago. A very talented African Janadie lectures on film making and teaches classes in music at a university in Cape Town. He selects films from all over the world for the film section of this festival and has opperated the booth for 29 years.Well,
In the projection booth with Janadie Cupido.
I sent this information to my friend Joyce, a professional genealogist Her reply, "I made a stab at Isaac Cupido from Nevada. It sounds good, but I doubt if it's true.There is no Isaac Cupido in ANY census record anywhere in the U.S. I did find an Isaac Cupido as 2nd Baker (crewman) aboard a Belgian ship named "Lubilash" which docked in the U.S. twice in 1957 -- once in April and once in June. The Latter one gave Cupido's Nationality as Z Afrikaans. If he married in 1914 in South Africa, he likely was born about 1880. He is not in the 1880 census in the U.S. The 1890 census was lost. I didn't find him in the 1900 census nor the 1910. I finally decided it would be best to try for his death certificate to see if that gave any information. Someone suggested we try the web site (which I told Janadie to consult:)
There were three "hits" when I clicked on KAB (Cape Town Archives Repository)." I printed this information and placed it in an envelope. I passed it on to Sister Wood at Zone Conference the following week. She will give it to the Mitchell's Field Missionaries, in Cape Town to hand deliver to Janadie Cupido.
We loved "Beautiful Creatures," a free Childrens Concert put on by the Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, and "Frank Sinatra & Friends" featuring two singers backed by the Orchestra. We also enjoyed "Art Behind Bars" a song and dance production by prisoners from the various prisons in this country. The number I liked best was a Las Vegas style production featuring women in red evening gowns and black sweaters and men wearing black pants, white shirts and red ties. Photography of any kind is "strictly forbidden" at the festival, so Elder Stokoe refused to give it to me the camera even though the guards there were taking pictures on cameras and cell phones on both sides and in front of me. The following number included 40 prisoners in native costumes singing and dancing with four guards on stage to keep an eye on them. We stayed three nights with the Chases and four nights in the visitors flat in Alan's retirement complex.
Dr. Marais told me not to do anything too strenuous for at least seven weeks but this was a golden opportunity so I hung in despite the fact that I was rather tired and I had a bad cold. It was well worth the effort.The news here is all about Nelson Mendela and the in fighting among his large family. They had a meeting two weeks ago to inspected and prepare his grave site. Then last week his oldest grandson from the first marriage collected the bones of three young children from that marriage and buried them in his own family burial ground and erected an iron fence around it.
Wife #2 and Wife #3 then protested the removal and went to court demanding that the bones be returned so they could be buried where Mendela will be laid to rest. The court had the bones dug up and placed in the original graves in his compound. There is a lot of ceremony, custom and superstition around death and burial here in South Africa. Since Nelson Mendela is an international icon, every member of his family is showing an interest in his estate. Philip Clark told me that one of his daughters is negotiating to sell the rights to broadcast his funeral to CNN. An unnamed chauffeur has revealed that Mendela has been senile for over four years. This information has never been released to the public or the press. Many Africans believe that he wanted to die at home and did not want to go to the hospital which is why the ambulance broke down while transporting him. Others feel his spirit will not find any peace nor can he die while his family continues to argue and fight.
Mendela's condition is critical now and he continues on life support. This information came to light during the court case on Wednesday. Meanwhile his doctors have been assuring the press that he is "responsive" and the nation continues to pray for a speedy recovery. My hair dresser wondered if responsive means that he is breathing in and out? She asks, "What does the rest of the world think about all this. Isn't dying at age 94 good enough for the people of S.A. rather than keeping him of life support until his 95th birthday next week?" The Fine Art's Festival was "toned down" in the event of his passing and the press here reported that Michelle Obama wore "subtle colours" during her recent visit rather than the bright coloured outfits she usually wears in order not to offend anyone here.
Elder Stokoe enjoyed many of the shows that feature native dancers. They reminded him of various Polynesian dances including an African version of the slap dance which is done here done in moon boots. He also liked the native instruments, the rich voices of many of the male performers and the colorful costumes.
Venders came from all over Africa to sell their goods at the Festival which ended on Sunday. Elder Stokoe and I were at the Masonic Hall on July 5th to see the dramatic play entitled "Mamela." An excellent play which featured stories of eight women's experiences in post-apartheid South Africa.
A Local Vendor
It was fun to go through two large areas for venders. The one near the university included many free shows. Another was located in the center of the city with lots of African food and native products for sale. There were also many displays of art and crafts in several buildings. This was a wonderful opportunity to meet people from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and many other parts of Africa. People from Europe also came to attend the festival.
July 25th. My g-mail account is back up today and I can now access my blog. I was down from July 10 through July 24th and unable to post anything. We just returned from Incredible Connections where a very talented technician resolved this problem. We hosting a dinner tonight for Sister Rank, David Pitt (our friend from the park) and the Lorainne missionaries but I'll bring you up to date as soon as I have more time. Love and Blessings, Sister Stokoe