Net vir Pret in partnership with the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape (CHR@UWC), present the 9th annual Barrydale Giant Puppet Parade and Performance.  A highlight on the South African creative calendar for young and old alike, the parade and performance will take place on Sunday 15th December at 6:30 pm, in the highly creative farming village of Barrydale on the famous Route 62 in the Klein Karoo. This inspiring event brings community performers together with leading artists from South Africa and around the world, offering a truly unique South African performance experience every year. The parade and performance combines inspirational large-scale puppetry, local dance and music, hundreds of young performers, masks and puppets all showcased under the majestic mountains of the Tradau valley. This landmark public performance event is part of the Barrydale Arts Meander (BAM) which is organised by the award winning Magpie Arts Collective, a feast of creativity in which many galleries and artists in the town, open their doors to the public for the whole weekend.    

This year’s parade, entitled The Final Spring will be using giant puppetry, original electro-acoustic musical compositions and fantastical masked creatures, in a large- scale creative production exploring the concerns of our global climate crisis and the immanent threats of ecological disaster to our planet.   The Final Spring weaves an electrifying story of survival and hope in an Afro- futuristic world after a planetary ecological catastrophe, which wipes out all of humanity.   Leaving only the most resilient and quirky of insects to survive in the post apocalyptic landscapes of the Klein Karoo, the last bees and plants become the greatest treasures of our dying planet.

The Final Spring invites us to imagine what the world will look like for our children and our children’s children, if humanity continues on their course of overuse and abuse of the planet and its resources. Journalist Astra Taylor also writes ‘young people around the world recognise that the disastrous repercussions of the already present ecological crisis will fall disproportionately on their shoulders, and the shoulders of generations to come – in particular on those whose communities have emitted the smallest proportion of greenhouse gasses’[1].  What will be left?   In our story it’s a giant, rusting pesticide machine and a curious visitor from another galaxy checking out the mess we’ve made! The Final Spring entices us to look at our planet through different eyes, from the micro-view of insects, whom we mostly ignore, but who are left to clean up the consequences of our actions.    

This unique annual public arts event is directed by CHR@UWC based puppetry artist and visual theatre maker Aja Marneweck with dramaturgy by Donna Kouter of Net vir Pret and assisted by puppetry directors Siphokazi Mpofu and Sipho Ngxola of Ukwanda Puppetry Arts and Design Company based in Cape Town.  The production will showcase the latest puppet creations by Luyanda Nogodlwana, from the award-winning Ukwanda, who are also fellows of the Factory of the Arts at the CHR@UWC. Performing amongst hundreds of puppets designed by Clarisa Jonas and created by local school learners through Net Vir Pret, under the mentorship of puppet maker Jill Joubert, an impressive cast of more than 150 performers will bring the story of The Final Spring to life. Original music for the production will be composed by local traditional music specialist and director, Peter Takelo, jazz musician Gary Crawford, and upcoming muso’s Dylan Hess and Selanvor Platjies.

The annual puppet parade and production, The Final Spring will be performed on Sunday 15 December at 6:30pm at BF Oosthuizen Primary School, Tinley Street, 6750 Barrydale.


  1. Very proud of this wonderful initiative. I visited the Ukwanda team today at the CHR’s Greatmore facility accompanied by Prof. Derek Peterson from the University of Michigan. Needless to say, he was completely overwhelmed by the artwork.

    We look forward to another fantastic Barrydale event.

    Liked by 1 person

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