Remarkable heritage project in Clanwilliam

22 September 2008

On 7 September, a group of people trekked to the small town of Clanwilliam, some 220 kilometres north-west of Cape Town, to attend the arts development project held there annually.

The project is an ongoing collaboration between the Department of Drama (through Associate Professor Mark Fleishman), the Michaelis School of Fine Art (Professor Pippa Skotnes), Magnet Theatre and Jazzart Dance Theatre. It is funded by Fairheads Trust Company.

Each year around 500 local children workshop a story told by the |xam people (a San group), chosen from an archive of |xam narratives recorded by linguists Lucy Lloyd and Wilhelm Bleek over 130 years ago.

The workshops involve dance, storytelling, shadow puppetry and arts and crafts. The programme culminates in a lantern-lit procession and performance which is based on |xam storytelling elements, including fire dancing, music and large illuminated objects made by the learners.

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