Oral History Initiative rolls out in Bonteheuwel
The community of Bonteheuwel in Cape Town celebrated their rich history through an Oral History Initiative on Tuesday 28 June 2016 at the Bonteheuwel Civic Centre. Various members from the community came together at this occasion that was first launched by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) in December 2015 as the Oral History Initiative, a project which main aim is to continue preserving the stories from various communities.
The morning in Bonteheuwel held a lot of entertainment and stories told by people who have lived in the community for years, highlighting their place in their community. The story of anti-apartheid activist Ashley Kriel was also told through exhibition material and through stories of community members who knew him. The day’s entertainment included dance performances, storytelling through poetry, and MOD centre learners entertaining the audience with their impressive juggling skills. Flori Schrikker and Koelsoem Kamali, co-authors of Kook saam Kaaps, ensured everyone had a good laugh with their light-hearted spirits and unique means of telling about their journey with their recipe book, Kook saam Kaaps.
In his welcoming speech, Stefan Wehmeyer, acting director of the DCAS Library Service, said that the recording of life stories is very important, especially those of older people in our communities. “This integrated project aims to facilitate the recording of these life stories of any member of society and the documentation thereof to be found at our libraries, museums and archives”, he said.
Co-author of Kook saam Kaaps, Koelsoem Kamali joked that she never thought she would become famous so quickly. She told the audience how she and her co-author Flori Schrikker have travelled throughout South Africa, how they have been on radio, how their book is distributed as far as Canada, Australia, Dubai, Switzerland and England and how they will be featured on the well-known SABC 2 programme Pasella. Flori described the team of two as “jetsetters”, and thanked everyone who supports them in their endeavours. “In all the places we go to, we only say positive things about Bonteheuwel. We are representatives and ambassadors of Bonteheuwel. With all the negativity surrounding our area, I want people to know that there are also many good things that happen here”, she said.
DCAS Minister Anroux Marais encouraged people to keep telling their stories about their communities and where they come from. “How wonderful it is that we can tell the stories of our communities. We are so diverse, yet we are so similar, and in the time that I have been involved in this department I have realised how fantastic our diversity really is. Our colour, age or political affiliations do not matter. What matters is that we can stand together as one”, she said.
Let us all be a part of the Western Cape’s rich diversity, and preserve the stories of the past for future generations BETTER TOGETHER.