Grant Type

Engaged Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Cape Town, U. of

Grant number

Gr. ERG-49

Approve Date

February 5, 2024

Project Title

NIWENSHUTI, Umana (Institution Not Listed) "“|Euca tuwukara kyââte (running very deep)”: Ritual Performance, African Ontology and Mental Wellbeing"

“The spirits of my ancestors wander in this place”, remarked Jason Jona Marenda, my key research partner, on our first visit at a heritage site in Kimberley, in 2017. When I asked what he meant, his response was that the spirits of his people, the Khwe and other indigenous people who were victims of colonial violence “haven’t been helped to rest”. Our aim is two-fold. First, co-create a performance inspired by his response. Second, track a disappearing knowledge of a ritual traditionally performed in his community to help spirits lay to rest and to promote healing among the living. Our engagement method, is based on an idea we formulated in Khwe language (Khwedam), |Euca tuwukara kyââte, approximately meaning ‘running very deep’. It will involve creating dances and songs in conversation with people, animals, plants, rock arts, and photographs found at his home in Platfontein and his community’s Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre. This method takes on a more-than-Human approach. Key outcomes will be, a public ritual performance, and a publication of reflexive responses to “indigenous” ritual performance and its possible benefit to mental wellbeing.