Omang? Griqua Founders Day – Kranshoek, South Africa
Omang? (Sesotho: Who are you?) is a series of documentaries that follows ordinary South Africans of all races, colours and creeds on a journey through and celebrating their diverse cultures and traditions. The series covers different elements of culture and how these elements shape and mould a person’s identity. The crew travelled over 25,000 km by road, through all of South Africa’s 9 provinces, exploring the beauty of our land and cultural diversity. These are journeys of celebration, told not from the minds of academics, but through the ordinary citizens of our land. As the filmmakers travelled into cultural heartlands, they also looked at cross-cultural contact and the impact it has or had on cultures and traditions.
Each documentary is centred on a specific cultural heartland, and follows an individual as they illustrate a particular cultural practice or event culminating in a celebration by the community. The series covers different elements including food, music, dance, rituals, sacred spaces, traditional games, skills, healing, spirituality, language and cross-cultural exchange. A total of 16 languages have been included in the series: Sehananwa and Kilobedo from Limpopo, and Sepulana from Mapumalanga.
“Founders Day”, the documentary on the Griqua community of Kranshoek, Plettenberg Bay, centres on the July birthday anniversary celebrations of “Die Kneg”, Andrew Abraham Stockenström Fleur, who started reforming the Griqua people on the Cape Flats after his release from the Breakwater Prison. In 1917, he succeeded in hiring a train and brought 800 Griquas from McClear station to Touwsriver, where they settled on two farms, later relocating to Namaqualand. After successful negotiations for land with the Van Rooyen family, in the Plettenberg Bay region, the Griquas were brought to Kranshoek by Paramount Chief le Fleur I.
Filming of the programme was took place in 2012, with the cooperation of the Griqua National Conference. Randy Bruiners, a young member of the community was selected as the presenter and the programme includes highlights of the Founders Day celebrations, the Jakkalskraal Farm and dairy project, the community and the culture, including the Griqua National anthem and the origins of the Griqua flag.
The series was produced by the Media Peace Centre under an Arts and Culture grant from the National Lotteries Commission. Producer and director, Bjorn Rudner, says that the aim of the series is the preservation of indigenous history, cultures, languages and living heritage and to aid cultural tolerance among South Africans. It also aspires to make people think more deeply about the significance of cultural heritage, the change of culture and values, and how these fit into today’s world.
Given the theme of World Tourism Month this September, this series, which can be viewed on Youtube, is as important as ever.