Rinus Bakker from Rhino Rigs will be in South Africa to present the Prolyte Rigging
Training Course hosted this year in both Cape Town from 6 to 11 February and in
Johannesburg from 13 to 18 February in association with DWR Distribution. DWR
Distribution caught up with Bakker prior to his arrival and asked him a few
You travel the world training the industry on the importance of rigging
structures safely. Do you find that each nation faces similar challenges, or are there
certain countries that really do things well?
In my experience, all nations in the world have an entertainment bizz that includes
companies (and individuals) ranging from top notch and medium quality through to
unfortunately low end and sometimes even dangerous practices. I tend to say that
the various percentages of these classes keep pace with the position of the
economy as a whole. Even within Europe there is such a divide between the
Northern and the Southern Nations. And from my scarce observations of the African
continent, a similar pattern might run from SA up to the equatorial Nations. Also,
the Asia Pacific area has a thing like that, from Australia and Japan through China
into Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. But there are no Nations that can be declared
as an Entertainment Technology Utopia. Not even Germany….
Why is it important for someone to attend the training you offer?
I think 90% of it is an increase of safety awareness. I am often surprised by the
lack of knowledge on legislation, liability, equipment properties and clear
understanding of materials and methods of use. Mistakes that are made in rigging
or staging can have much more far reaching consequences than mistakes in
lighting, sound or AV…
For someone who has never attended the Prolyte Rigging Training Course
before, what is the greatest thing can they expect to learn?
A bit of an unfair question, as so much depends on the attendee’s background.
Some lighting technicians are focused on truss and truss use only, and they for
example would never do any bridling themselves. Others might “be afraid’ of
trigonometry for bridle calculations, but can feel that a “new world’ has opened for
them when a simple drawing with a Vector can do almost the same.
This year you will be training in Cape Town. Any thoughts on this?
I remember I was in Cape Town a few years ago as well. Back then, Nick Britz,
Keith Pugin and I were in the Grand Arena at the GrandWest Casino. I recall Sean
Caie, a great guy and an impressive venue, where we were with 20 attendees in a
5000+ seater! What struck me in Cape Town were the streets or industrial areas
that had 100% Amsterdam names like Bloemgracht (‘flower canal’). It’s funny to
read Dutch so far from home. I will spend a few additional days in Cape Town to
visit the city and the tourist places and smell some Ocean Atmosphere. I lived in a
Sea Port for 50 years and once I had moved in land, I realised the sea was the
thing that I really missed.
Anything else you may want to mention?
Over the last couple of years, I came to realise what a great job you at DWR are
doing in the training efforts. Not because you and Prolyte bring me in, which I
certainly appreciate, but because of what I see in the amount and scale of training
that you provide over-all, in various lighting controls, sound, AV, Vectorworks and
so forth. I think DWR are entitled to an Entertainment Technician Training Award of
some sort. In this case I can again compare various nations and companies across
‘Mother Earth’, and easily put you guys in the Top Notch category that we discussed
earlier. Every time you really show that ‘It’s all about the People’ is not just some
My final remark would be to propose training for theatrical rigging / fly bar
systems. The training we do now through Prolyte is focused on use of chain hoists
and trusses. However, over the years during Prolyte Rigging Training we have had
one or several attendees with a background in theatre. I wondered if it would make
any sense to have a rigging training that would look into the fly bar system in a
more detailed way. I have been in theatres in Durban and Johannesburg, which
made me conclude that they have so much in common to what I knew and know
from the Low Countries in Europe. The funny thing is that only Holland has been
100% mechanised and automated, but in the rest of Europe it is only 10-25%, and
the rest is still fully hand-operated counterweight fly bar systems or hemp houses.