!Khwa ttu - 2018

San Heritage Center, Cape Town, South Africa

On Heritage Day in 2018, the world's only cultural center dedicated to the San, was opened near Cape Town. The San, or bush men, belong to this planet's last living hunters and collectors. They are the descendants of pre-colonial communities once spread all over southern Africa. Life has also changed dramatically for the San, and not too often according to their choices! These days they are barred to a large extent from the benefits of  modern life, and completely cut off from the digital world.

!Khwa ttu is a non-profit organization trying to eliminate these disadvantages. It advocates for the preservation of traditional knowledge and the development of skills in order to help the San succeed in the modern world.

For the main exhibition room, Idee und Klang have realised a 21-channel soundscape. It reflects acoustically the San's living environment, the Kalahari desert, stretching from South Africa across Namibia and into Botswana. 

For this purpose we had travelled to the Kalahari in advance to make some special 3D recordings. To this end, we made use of our new ORTF-3D Outdoor Set by Schoeps, together with a Sonosax SX-R4+ recorder.

Various natural sounds were recorded, from the calm atmospheres of the steppe, to the many different sounds of the wind, to the sounds of miscellaneous animals round-the-clock. 

Needless to say the focus was also on recordings of the San themselves, such as their very special language featuring those idiosyncratic click sounds, plus sounds of their everyday activities like preparing tools, cooking, or hunting. Also rituals such as nightly healing sessions around a fire were recorded, and later reproduced for the exhibition.

More about our work featuring 3D sound here.

Credits

Curator: Dr. Chris Low
Exhibition Design: Jos Thorne
Technical planning: Digital Fabric
Photos: Michael Daiber