The CHR, along with partners Net Vir Pret, Ukwanda Design and Puppet Company and the Handspring Puppet Trust, hosted the Annual Barrydale Reconciliation Day Puppet Parade on the 13th of December 2016 under the thematic ‘Die Name Wat Ons Gee’ (The Names That We Give).
This reflexive documentary film explores one year (2015) in an otherwise diachronic social project between a number of creative, educational, pub-lic, social-development and grant organisations. The long-term project is about Geographies of Collaboration through the past, present and future. Each December month, in Barrydale, for the past six years, this collabora-tion culminates with the presentation of a performative theatre play and parade using giant puppets. These giant puppets are conceptualised, de-signed, produced and performed by a collective of local talent. In response to the question of reconciliation, this negotiated collaboration engages with notions of healing, reparation and reconciliation embedded in the process of the project itself. The film, and the broader project the film hopes to reflect, deals with the question of belonging and the vagaries and ambiguity of identity through time, which is inextricably linked relations of power. The film captures the process of creating localised theatre, as both performance and pedagogy, with the aim to empower participants in sculpting narratives about their own histories on their own terms. Puppetry and theatre is used as a means to tell strong narratives about (dialectic) pasts and difficult themes like slavery, with the hope that art can become the conduit to reconciliation with oneself, one’s history and between those deemed on the opposite sides of history. In the same light that museums are not just projects about the past, but are also part of symbolic gestures of reparations, this project is about projecting an image of futures by en-gaging with the past through puppetry, to imagine what the Future Nation could look like.
The film was produced and directed by UNIMA SA and Handspring Puppet Trust Executive Director Khanyisile Mbongwa and CHR Masters Fellow Damian Samuels.
View it here: