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"Carte Blanche" to Joan Rankin - South African children's books author and illustrator

On the Saturday 3 March 2012, from 10am to 3pm, Dibukids will give "Carte Blanche" to Joan Rankin, the renowned South African children’s books author and illustrator. During this once-off event, Rankin will open up her multi-faceted imaginary universe to kids and parents through various events and activities including an exhibition, free workshops, books and toys sales, storytelling, a puppet show and much more…

“Being creative and using the imagination is a very important part of my life. It is something I wish to encourage in children. Through children's books and visiting schools, I hope to widen children's horizons, by showing them book illustrations, drawing for them, and showing them shadow puppet theatre”, says Joan Rankin. She has illustrated over 30 children’s books, her pastel universe is filled with enchanting animals and characters. While using animals as main characters and humour, she hopes to help young children to understand and deal with the real life situation that they face.


10.30am-11am    Untangled marionettes by Alida van Deventer (puppet show)
11.30am-12pm    Drumtales by Brenda Shafir (interactive storytelling with drum)
Lunch        Bring and picnic or eat at the Café de l’Alliance
1pm-1.30pm    Songs and Stories by Alphabet Tree (concert)
1.30pm-2.30pm    3 workshops* with Joan Rankin (illustrations), Brenda Shafir (shadow theatre), Cheryl Gibbs (origami)
Throughout the day: exhibition of artworks by Joan Rankin, books, toys and dolls sale, screenings
* Workshop for children from +/- 4 to 10 years old.
Maximum 24 kids per workshop! - The entrance is free but bookings are essential for the workshops: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The puppet show by The Untangled Marionettes
Professional puppeteers (on strings) move to light classical music.  It is like a cross between a circus and a ballet.  There is no speech, just movement where appears a monkey with broom, sweeps stage and runs around, a conductor, a juggler with a ball, Professor Gus who manipulates his own little marionette, and many more characters…

Drumtales Interactive Storytelling with a Drum by Brenda Shafir
Using a Djembe drum, Brenda tells African folk tales in a warm and animated way. The stories are full of humour and drama and the children take part in the show through the rhythms of the stories.

Songs and Stories by Alphabet Tree
This session features original songs and a story written by the SAMA-winning team of Erika Strydom and Graeme Sacks. It is based on the popular African Alphabet CD and is performed by actress Stephanie Baartman-Buthelezi.

The Hat Family Workshop by Joan Rankin
It all starts with an overhead projector shadow show. The children will then each get a card with a chain attached to their mouth. Rankin will demonstrate how they can draw the face around the mouth and add a hat and finally draw and colour in their own card.
The Shadow Theatre Workshop by Brenda Shafir
During this workshop exploring the amazing possibilities of the shadow, Brenda will guide the children through the process of visualising, designing and creating simple Shadow figures using black card and coloured cellophane. The children will project their shadow images onto a large screen using halogen lamps to music in the manner of contemporary Shadow Theatre.

Origamis Workshop by Cheryl Gibbs
Inspired by the story of the captain's shirt, an origami story, the children will be making the origami boat that accompanies the captain’s shirt. They will be shown how to make simple animal origamis - cat and dog faces and bodies.


Joan Rankin was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on the 24th of June 1940. She studied graphic art at Michaelis Art School Capetown (1957-1958) and studied Fine Art with Sidney Goldblatt for several years. She worked in Fine Art, Weaving and Puppetry; mainly Shadow Theatre. She has won the HAUM Daan Retief Publishers Competition for Children's illustration in 1986. The Katrina Harris Award in1994. The Oppenheim toy portfolio gold award in U.S.A. in 2003. The MER award with  author Wendy Hartmann in 2011. Joan has participated in exhibitions in Barcelona, Bratislavia, New York and Japan. Her books have been published in Europe, UK, USA, South America and Korea.

Alida van Deventer has been a passionate puppeteer all her life.  What started as a hobby became her profession. Alida worked for John Wright in London at the Little Angel Marionette Theatre in 1966. She then worked for 6 weeks backstage for the Salzburg Marionette Theatre while they toured South Africa in 1968. She worked for 5 years at the Johannesburg Civic carving and performing wooden marionettes. She made Haas Das, the news reading puppet for TV opening in SA, and since then worked privately while raising 4 children. She also made various other puppets for SABC TV. She visited many puppet Festivals and performed in Israel, Ukraine and America, and taught shadow theatre in America and Jerusalem, and at home. 

Brenda Shafir is a storyteller and puppeteer specialised in Shadow Theatre. For over 18 years she has been a teacher and performer of shadow theatre, lecturing at conferences and conducting training workshops both in South Africa and beyond. More recently, her lifelong love of storytelling led her to more formal training at the School of Storytelling Emerson College UK. Brenda currently combines Storytelling, Shadow Theatre and Drumming in a varied programme of educational shows for schoolchildren. She also leads training workshops for teachers and proposes highly entertaining storytelling programmes for adults.

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