Playing with puppets
Antoinette Snyman, creator of marionette dolls for tv personalities such as “Liewe Heksie“, “Haas Das”, “Sarel Seemonster”, and “Miena Moo” to name a few. A veteran in children’s entertainment in South Africa, she was a pioneer with marionette’s role-playing. Bringing puppets to life is not a game, but an art. According to Antoinette Snyman, it is one that is dying out.
Not only as a teacher but as an entrepreneur and artist, she created opportunities for others in her circle of influence. She portrays the essence of what the SACBW stands for. Doing better business by doing good. She created more job opportunities, as well as opportunities for skills development through mentorship. She facilitated educational projects focused on youth development, even after personal challenges that threatened to end her career.
Growing into a pioneer
According to her, she was a talentless, one-sided child with a serious speech problem. “I was very shy and withdrawn because I stuttered terribly. I could not sing, dance, or sew well and was not very artistic. All I was good at was Maths and Science, ”she said.
She always believed she would become either a mathematician or a scientist, and her dream was always to be a teacher. “I wrote matric at the age of 15 and had to start working. I applied to the Pretoria Theatre but did not get the job as a ticket seller due to my speech impairment. “The owner told me he has a job for me where I can speak with my hands and heart,” she said.
This is where she learned to manipulate puppets, and she dumped her whole being into that art form. “When I first manipulated the puppets, I knew the dolls were going to be my life,” she said with a smile.
Antoinette – who believes she should be in charge of all aspects of her diverse field of study – qualified as a teacher and taught school for five years. She taught herself to make puppets, was a journalist for 40 years, and also produced television programs.
It is all about people
After spending her entire life in a studio, she decided to take the dolls to the people. “I had a theater at the University of Johannesburg, but it was not the ideal place for something like that. Then I decided to look for a school on the West Rand where I could teach puppetry to people – especially children. I approached Roodepoort High School, and they agreed to accommodate me at the school, ”she said.
This is where she wants to teach the art of puppets to others. “Puppetry is a jealous art. No one wants to teach anyone else. It’s an extinct art. Dolls are made to play with, not to be in a museum. It should bring joy to children. I would like to pass on my knowledge to others so that art does not become extinct. I want to leave a legacy behind, ”she said.
Antoinette Snyman said that her passion lies with the community, and the fact that the school is willing to house her dolls and give her the opportunity to transfer the art is wonderful for her. “I have an awful lot of plans – which I can not yet announce – but I can not implement them without help. I recently heard from Naomi Scheepers. She serves her community despite an illness that causes her to be dependent on a wheelchair. She is a great inspiration and driving force for me, because if she can serve her community, so can I, ”she said.
Antoinette invites anyone who wants to know more about the puppets and her plans to contact her on 072 128 4907.