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Summary Profile

*****"DAWID'S RETURN"***** - A new talk by Patricia Glyn Once again, Patricia has been trekking through the African wilderness in pursuit of a ghost. In 2005 she walked from Durban to the Victoria Falls in the footsteps of her long-dead ancestor Sir Richard Glyn. This year she set off for the Kalahari, to find traces of a long-dead Bushman by the name of Makai Kruiper – a legendary mystic, hunter and healer who roamed ‘The Thirst Land’ a century ago. And by her side was Makai’s grandson, Dawid, a man as legendary as his forebear. Dawid is 76 years old and is easily the most famous Bushman in South Africa, having featured in numerous films, documentaries, books and academic studies. But Dawid is also renowned for the most celebrated human rights victory for the Bushmen of Southern Africa. In 1999, Dawid and his Khomani clan won a land claim against the former apartheid government that had robbed them of their ancestral home and turned it into what is now the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP). In the years since that great day, however, lack of transport into the KTP has hindered the community from accessing all but a small portion of it. So the old man asked Patricia if she could help him mount an expedition to the places of great historical and cultural significance, further into the National Park, which Dawid had not visited since his youth and which his children have never seen. So between April and June that is exactly what they did. In a deeply moving and poignant trek, the Kruiper family (spanning four generations) and Patricia’s team visited and documented mystical and sacred places; battle and hunting grounds; birth, death and burial sites. Patricia’s new talk is about what she witnessed on this trip: the fragments that remain in the Kalahari sand of a long-gone life; the extraordinary memory and tracking skills that helped Dawid find his grand-father’s artifacts, some 100 years after they’d been buried; the secrets that have been handed down from son to son. The presentation is also about how losing their land brought the Khomani people to a state of utter despair and rage, and how going back to their heritage places helped to heal and restore them. The talk discusses how winning the land claim did not necessarily result in a new and profitable life and the help that claimants need in managing this complicated process. This is a story about just how much the Bushmen can teach us about respect for our natural resources and how to preserve them. Patricia demonstrates how the ‘old’ Bushman attitudes hold the key to our environmental future. She shows how little they consume, how much they value what they consume and how much they leave in place for their children’s children. But it’s also an amusing talk about a journey with a group of irreverent story tellers, free spirits, hilarious mimics and loving people. Once again, Patricia and her professional team of photographers and film makers have brought back thousands of photos and hours of footage, the best of which have been selected to illustrate her talk about this grand adventure. The presentation lasts approximately one hour but can be tailored to suit any conference timetable. *****“FOOTING WITH SIR RICHARD’S GHOST”***** Between March and July 2005, Patricia walked 2 200 kilometres from Durban to the Victoria Falls. The journey shadowed that of her adventurer ancestors, Sir Richard Glyn and his brother Robert who came to Africa in 1863 because they’d just read David Livingstone’s account of “The Smoke That Thunders” and wanted both to see this mighty cascade and to hunt Africa’s big game. Using Richard’s diary about the old party’s trip, Patricia found and walked their route along the great river systems of South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, often on back roads, sometimes crashing through the bush and completely unarmed in Big Five territory. When her ancestors’ wagons moved, so did she, where they stopped for provisions, so did she – eventually reaching The Falls on exactly the same day as they had, 142 years later. The talk highlights how much our continent has changed in the century-and-a-half between these expeditions. Wildlife has been shot out in some parts, our rivers dammed and our people no longer living with their culture and power intact. But like that of her forebears, Patricia’s story is about reaching her destination through the kindness and hospitality of Africa’s rural people. It’s also the story of her little dog, Tapiwa, who walked with her and that of the puppy they found dying on the side of the road in Botswana. It’s a tale about personal development as the woman who could hardly read a map learned how to navigate by GPS co-ordinates and lead her two-person back-up team through the thirst land on the peripheries of the Kalahari Desert. It’s about travelling on foot through politically unstable Zimbabwe; it’s about the crew’s near disasters, their highs, their lows and the wonder of camping in the great African outdoors. It’s a tale about meeting challenges, facing fear and being rewarded with great insights and even greater peace. The presentation is brutally honest, extremely funny in places and deeply moving. It also has a strong conservation message and demonstrates the great health benefits of walking, as this 46 year old woman managed the tremendous physical task of slaving through thick sand and thorn veld for 35 kilometres per day. The hour-and-a-quarter-long presentation is illustrated by magnificent slides (a distillation of 8 000 taken on the trip!) and wonderful video footage because the journey was filmed for an international television documentary. It is inspirational, entertaining and thought-provoking.

Patricia Glyn


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