To celebrate South African Reconciliation Day, Net Vir Pret, the Handspring Trust and the Centre for Humanities Research (UWC) present a large-scale puppetry parade and performance in Barrydale on 13 December 2015. This year’s performance is titled Die Name Wat Ons Gee/The Names that We Give. It consists of a site-specific community puppetry performance that seeks to remember, honour and celebrate the lives of the ancestors of our communities and the history of the Barrydale community of the Klein Karoo, who were forced into slavery and indentured labour in the farming districts of the Cape in the 1800’s.
Our story is seen through the eyes of the ancient-as-the-hills Tortoise (Skilpad) and the young, impetuous Secretary Bird who has forgotten how to fly. She struggles to find her passion for life and meaning in the world today. Skilpad takes us back in time on a journey of myth and mayhem, through foreign exotic lands, slave ships and perilous boat rides, to the Cape Colony where foreign traded slaves were put to work under trying and difficult conditions.
Amongst the devastating losses of homelands, communities and sacred names which destroyed a sense of belonging and humanity, a young Malagasy slave woman called Pelamana and a Khoi man called Jantjie, strike up a friendship in their shared dream of freedom. Through their heroic story of emancipation, Secretary Bird finds the courage to not only face up to the truth of her past but to re-write her future story of freedom and self-love.