Come One, Come All: The circus comes to Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch residents who want to enjoy a bit of nostalgia or try something completely different have the rest of the month to enjoy The Fantastic Grifizzi Brothers and Their Carnival of Friends.

The animal-free circus has pitched its Big Top at the Van der Stel sports field as part of its national tour. VIsitors can enjoy carnival rides, multiple bars and restaurants, as well as an hour long production, The Story of the Moon, which features acrobatics, singing and humour.

The carnival features a number of rides. PHOTO: Tegan Mouton


Created by Richard Griffin and the team behind the popular Madam Zingara production, the circus and carnival is family-friendly, and will be in town until at least the 27th of August.

When asked why he thought now was the right time for the circus to go on the road, creator Richard Griffin said: “It had to come out. When you’re an artist you have to paint. It’s been inside me for two to three years now and it just had to happen.”

Discussing the concept of the circus, Griffin said: “It was also about investigating a shift in the industry. We have one other circus in South Africa, a country like Brazil has thousands. And also to work in an animal-free environment, we had to investigate new methods and new tools to maximise joy.”

The show is proudly animal-free, and the circus’s Zoe Mandalios said: “It wasn’t even a decision, it was an obvious thing. There’s pain and suffering that goes into getting an animal to do a trick.”

The circus was created by Richard Griffin and the team behind Madam Zingara. PHOTO: Tegan Mouton


The carnival features a number of colourful characters and experiences, and is aimed at an audience of all ages.

“We just want people to escape the daily stresses and the daily world and enter this unknown, mysterious, surreal, carnival life,” said Mandalios.

One of the show’s stars Lillian Khumalo, AKA Mama Circus, said: “We’re showing kids they can be anything they want to be. Kids that have special abilities. Not all of us are created to be business people, we’re saying it’s ok to be a clown.

“It might be difficult but you can have a future in being something that is not the norm. And it’s not only kids, it’s also for adults who have wanted to run away with the circus all their lives. Coming here gives them the opportunity to feel like a child again.” – Tegan Mouton

Lebohang Litsili, a professional stilts performer and member of the carnival. PHOTO: Tegan Mouton

The show features acrobatic acts. PHOTO: Tegan Mouton

The circus is animal-free and has a number of talented performers. PHOTO: Tegan Mouton

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