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A juggling act of laughs

Village Green of fun

Sven from Sweden has been leaving festival audiences awestruck
Sven from Sweden has been leaving festival audiences awestruck
Image: Werner Hills

Taking his hobby and turning it into his career has meant international street performer Sven from Sweden can tour the world and experience things he had only dreamt of.

And his audiences at the National Arts Festival’s Village Green could be forgiven for thinking they might be dreaming too.

Juggling toilet rolls “from Sweden” to spinning a plate of traditional Swedish meatballs on his head while standing atop three tables and a microwave “from IKEA”, Sven from Sweden said it was the interaction with audiences that made his performances so enjoyable.

“It’s like a juggling comedy show – a lot of interaction with the audience and a lot of improvisation and also using volunteers a lot, so every show is different,” said the Swede, who insists on being identified by his character’s name – Sven.

First performing his show in 2011 “just to try it out”, Sven, 29, has been performing at busker and other festivals on a full-time basis since 2013.

“After 2013, I went on a tour that kind of didn’t really stop. I have been to 20 countries for street shows and festivals, so it’s been a really crazy journey,” said Sven.

Admitting that he has experienced some ups and downs since starting his new career, Sven said the best part was meeting new people and experiencing different cultures.


Short of moolah?

No stress, there’s plenty of action at the National Arts Festival that is free, starting with the daily Sundowner Concerts at the Monument where performers present snippets from their shows.

Video: Annelisa Swana


“In some countries people are really afraid to help you out, maybe they think you are going to embarrass them or something, but people are very helpful here [in South Africa]. They give me energy and I try and give them energy back,” he said.

Juggling since the age of 12, Sven said he has always had a passion for magic and juggling but lamented that there were not many opportunities for him to become a busker back in his home country, Sweden.

“Once a year there is a [busker] festival in Sweden. Buskers come from all over the world for one week, so I saw these big shows and I thought ‘oh my God, that’s awesome, they just put their stuff in a suitcase and go to the next show or next gig’.

“When I saw these people when I was young, I thought that was my dream and that is why I wanted to do this,” he said.

As a first-time visitor to South Africa and the continent as a whole, Sven said he was pleasantly surprised about how friendly people were.

“It’s been really great. People have been very helpful and not shy at all,” he said.

Asked to describe his show, Sven said although he incorporated an array of difficult tricks in his performances, it is more about the comedy than the tricks.

Catch Sven from Sweden daily at the National Arts Festival’s Amazing Stages at the Village Green.

A busker at the Village Green
A busker at the Village Green
Image: Fredlin Adriaan
Ilitha Lelanga from Cape Town
Ilitha Lelanga from Cape Town
Image: Fredlin Adriaan
Ilitha Lelanga from Cape Town
Ilitha Lelanga from Cape Town
Image: Fredlin Adriaan
Free style footballer Kabelo Gill from Kimberly
Free style footballer Kabelo Gill from Kimberly
Image: Fredlin Adriaan
A busker at the Village Green
A busker at the Village Green
Image: Fredlin Adriaan
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