Woordfees 2023: Fizz, bubble and pop in the Boland!

With 640 unique productions in 14 genres presented in 50 venues in and around Stellenbosch, the Toyota SU Woordfees is one of the biggest arts festivals in Africa!

Our partners EasyEquities sponsor the writers’ festival and many of our team and network attend – either as performers, audience members, volunteers or sponsors. This year, the full CN&CO team will be attending a few shows as we are having our annual strategy session/team builiding/wine-drining/life-celebrating session during the festival.

The 2023 programme embodies the effervescent festival theme, Borrel (bubble in English), in various ways. “Borrel” is the Dutch word for party, and it immediately brings the sparkling bubbles of Cap Classique made in the Boland to mind. The theme also alludes to breaking out of your bubble to be challenged or inspired by exploring new perspectives. This year’s festival programme offers a rich variety of opportunities not only to escape into worlds of beauty, humour and drama but also to reflect on the complexity of our realities.

Between 7 and 15 October 2023, you can enjoy book talks, theatre, classical music, heavenly choirs, pop, folk, rock, jazz, hip-hop, current affairs, comedy, dance, art, films and everything that can be tasted, enjoyed and experienced in the Winelands.

Tickets are available at Quicket. You can start exploring the programme and download the complete English festival guide here.

If you feel overwhelmed by the wide selection – becasue trust us, there are AMAZING options – head to this page where you can browse according to interests or see the recommendations of artists performing at the festival.

And no, you don’t have to understand any Afrikaans to have a great time at the festival 🙂 See the “My friends don’t understand Afrikaans but want to attend the Woordfees” section on the recommendations page for suggestions.


The Woordfees began as a book festival and the EasyEquities Writers’ Festival still lies at the heart of the programme. Visitors can choose from 54 book discussions in which more than 90 well-known writers and others will participate. 

New publications including books from authors such as, among others, Barbara Masekela, Bibi Slippers, Eben Venter, Etienne van Heerden, Johann Rossouw, Jonny Steinberg, Marita van der Vyver, Rudie van Rensburg and Sihle Khumalo will all be under discussion, and we are raising a glass to beloved West Coast author Sussie Kotze who will be turning 90.

Topics are varied and will include discussions on the economy, cooking, politics and of course, in this year of loadshedding and the World Cup – Eskom and rugby. 

Several discussions will take place in English or a combination of English and AfrikaansAndré de Ruyter will join the discussion of his book Truth to Power; Ella Blumenthal (102) will talk about her autobiography, I am Ella, detailing her journey from Auschwitz to Brakpan; Sam Mathe author of From Kippie to Kippies and Beyond discusses the first directory of South African township music; Barbara Masekela is candid about her memoir Poli Poli; Greg Mills Rich State, Poor State – tackles the question of why some states fail while others, with similar challenges, prosper; Sihle KhumaloMilk the Beloved Country – offers up a different view of black entrepreneurship and a unique walking tour of Kayamandi, led by Wesley Diphoko author of Silicon Stellies,will demonstrate how digital technology is turning Kayamandi into South Africa’s first smart township.

EasyEquities and WOW join hands

EasyEquities is partnering with the WOW (Words Open Worlds) Project to contribute to WOW bursaries for first-generation students and to encourage young people to take charge of their financial future by starting to use the EasyEquities app.

Carel and his EasyEquities colleague Matt Nortje at the recent Woordfees sponsors event

WOW is an empowerment project of the Woordfees which celebrates their 20th birthday this year. WOW facilitates creative programmes focused on promoting language, literature and the arts in schools and communities to broaden learners and educators’ horizons. The project also provides prospective students with information about tertiary education, and WOW Bursaries from Stellenbosch University are awarded to talented candidates.

The WOW EasyEquities initiative invites the public to create a profile on the EasyEquities app by using a special QR code. For each profile that is created via the code, EasyEquities provides the new user with R50 for investment, while also donating an additional R50 to the WOW Bursary. Click here for more information: https://woordfees.co.za/en/easyequities-wow-bursary-fund/