Every year since 2010, the Handspring Puppet Company, Net vir Pret and the University of the Western Cape (UWC) have come together to create themed Reconciliation Day parades in the Klein Karoo town of Barrydale.
Last year, the War Horse creators teamed up with the Ukwanda Puppet and Design Collective to create five life-sized elephants for their latest production, Olifantland. Inspired by Lawrence Anthony’s book The Elephant Whisperer, the performance explored our ancestral connections to these sentient creatures and how they can teach us to be better, kinder and more aware human beings.
“Through the process of collaboration, we aimed to explore competing and contested ideas about reconciliation, not just across racial divides, but also reconciliation with one’s past or with oneself,” says Professor Premesh Lalu, Director of the Centre of Humanities Research (CHR) at UWC.
The CHR at UWC was awarded grants by the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation to support the formation of a Laboratory of Kinetic Objects. This laboratory supports the Ukwanda puppeteers.