The land is rich with stories. We have long ago observed how those who come to spend time in this space (including ourselves) readily sense this, wanting to start questing for those secrets, whether in the rock art, the rocks themselves, in the plants, the water – and the people.

It is vital to our collective humanity that we remember these stories. The traumas that have played out on this land echo still today, a microcosm of similarly wounded people and spaces, needing the reconciliation that can only begin through open conversation and a willingness to explore.

We, as the Storytellers, follow an ongoing practice of seeking to uncover the hidden stories of the Agter-Pakhuis, the Cederberg and the Western Cape and their link to the broader global story of humanity's disconnection from the land and the journey back to ourselves. To this end, we work with:

  • Most importantly, the Camissa African people and communities of our area, whose ancestral heritage includes the area's first people (/Xam and Sonqua), the Khoen or Khoi, the slaves brought in from colonial Cape Town and of course, the Dutch, German and other settlers with whom some married or partnered;
  • Researchers from the University of Cape Town's Anthropology and Geography departments, as well as key citizen activists in the areas of botany, conservation and wild food heritage;
  • Gatherers of stories, both local and global, including writers and filmmakers;
  • Inputs from historians with specific knowledge of this area (the Pakhuis frontier);
  • A great deal of published literature; and
  • Our direct experience, immersion and observations within the landscape over time.

The other side to this work is the telling of the stories – remembering the secrets of the animals, plants, rocks, water and soil, and openly discussing the stories of the people that came before, and the impact of their stories on life as it is today. To this end, we have constructed a public gallery and storytelling space, where we both gather stories through workshopping with our partners, and tell them, through workshops with the public and open-air exhibitions.

This work is already taking place. At present, the exhibition is still a work in progress, but what we have completed can be viewed at verhaal.kraal, the venue at the edge of the wilderness, The Storytellers.