Press release – SMILE!




“Smile though your heart is aching, smile even though it’s breaking…..if you just smile.” These words by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons, with music by Charlie Chaplin, written in 1936 are familiar to the majority of us. Performed by the likes of Judy Garland, Nat King Cole and Michael Jackson, the act of smiling is something we do without thinking, something that reminds us of good times and fun moments. However, for 1 out of every 750 children in Africa and South Africa, this is an act not connected to fun, but rather pain and difficulty, due to them being born with a facial deformity such as a cleft pallet or lip.

Operation Smile South Africa (OSSA) was established in 2006, with the sole objective to put smiles back on children with facial deformities by providing free reconstructive surgery. These surgeries are lengthy and very painful, but with profound long-term effects. The operations are done throughout sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa and coincide with medical and dental training.

Two South African artists, pianist Ster (Sigrun Paschke) and visual artist Lee Molenaar have come together to raise funds for OSSA. Ster relates very well to these patients and fully understands the necessity of these operations, as she was born with a cleft pallet and lip. In order to raise these funds Ster will undertake a tour of South Africa, made possible by the Distell Foundation, with her well-known production Ster in the Dark. Born without eyes, Ster plays her own compositions, in the dark. These compositions are linked with a soundtrack of poetry by Dutch singer/songwriter, Stef Bos. “My music is not linked to a specific genre, all I want is for people to experience it in the same environment in which it was created,” says Ster.

When Molenaar heard of this unique production and initiative he offered to donate one of his favourite paintings to be auctioned off. Bidding will be done in secrecy after every performance. The painting will go to the highest bidder of all eight shows and the total amount donated to OSSA. A percentage of ticket sales from the nine shows will also be donated to OSSA.

The tour dates, venues and where tickets can be booked are as follows:

  • 8 July – SABC Studios, Sea Point, Cape Town (Heinrich 082 812 1112)
  • 9 July – Uitkyk Wine Estate, Stellenbosch (Heinrich 082 812 1112)
  • 10 July – Soirée, 72 Rokewood Avenue, Stellenbosch (Ingrid 082 802 3189)
  • 13 July – Brooklyn Theatre, Menlo Park (Computicket/TicketWeb)
  • 15 July – Vryfees (Volksblad Arts Festival), Bloemfontein (Computicket)
  • 16 July – Vryfees (Volksblad Arts Festival), Bloemfontein (Computicket)
  • 16 July – The Rosendal Theatre, Rosendal (058 211 0902)
  • 17 July – Central High School, Beaufort-West (Tersia 082 373 0410)

Tickets, with the exclusion of Beaufort-West, are priced between R85 and R150.

For further information or media enquiries contact the producer, Heinrich von Wielligh on 082 812 1112.

Written by: Heinrich von Wielligh
on behalf of: Heimat Productions
Contact: 082 812 1112 or heinrich

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