!Xairu Culture Connect
Come on a journey of creativity and cultural discovery in Suurbraak with Donovan Julius, young contemporary Khoisan artist, and other community members, weaving a story of renewal and self-determination that is both unique and universal in South African today.
!Xairu – meaning Place called Paradise – is the Khoisan name for Suurbraak, a village in the greater Swellendam area with a fascinating history: originally a Khoisan (Attaqua) settlement, it became a mission town in 1812, and recently the village and its land was deeded to the community – a unique form of land ownership in this day.
Here, young Khoisan man, father and self-taught artist Donovan Julius has established the Zinc Gallery, where he lives and creates his work. His vibrant canvases speak of the political struggles of marginalised people during colonialism and apartheid, and offer social commentary on contemporary issues of our time. His story is one that takes the elements of his personal, political and cultural history and recycles it into a narrative of identity and community that is fresh, loud and proud.
Come along with Donovan and his co-facilitators on a journey of art and culture in !Xairu. Join Donovan in his art classes with the local primary schoolchildren. Visit the Zinc Gallery and learn about the stories told in his artwork and in his initiatives to help his people rise above their circumstances. Experience the stories and traditional cooking of Khoisan elder David November. Take an easy walk in the beautiful surrounding mountainside with field guide Rose Hay. Meet and visit other people and initiatives as we walk through the village.
Leave a humble mark in Suurbraak by participating in a collective landscape art project. You will also create and take away your own recycled art made with pieces collected along our walks.
Feel, see, experience and taste Suurbraak in this unique Swellendam Winter School course. The walks require a basic level of walking fitness. Come with an open mind and adventurous spirit.
To find out more about this course, you can get in touch with the facilitator on 061 834 6189
We encourage you to stay in Suurbraak for this course. Please search online to book your accommodation.
1pm: Start with lunch and course overview in ‘Die Markie’ (historical market square) or Trust House if raining
2-4pm: Art classes with Primary School Children in Trust House– interacting with and encouraging children (these classes are funded by the Light of Africa Foundation)
4-5pm: Walk through the Village, collecting rubbish for recycled art, with a visit to the Suurbraak Furniture Makers Cooperative
9-10am: Meet at Die Grootboom in the River / Church Hall if raining. Join a discussion with Donovan and invited community elders to learn about the history of Suurbraak from Attaqua settlement to Mission to current day Land ownership and property transitions.
10am-12pm:Take a walk with trail guide Rose Hay in the Langeberg Mountain range (Marloth Nature Reserve). If wet, a gentle non-slippery walk along the river, and if really pouring, we’ll either juggle the schedule or enjoy an indoors nature talk at Paradise Organic.
Meet at Trust House and go together to Donovan’s Zinc Gallery where David November will be waiting with a warm traditional Khoi San lunch and stories around the fire.
Art and Stories in the Zinc Gallery with Donovan
Individual creation of Recycled Art
Visit Oom Piet Botha’s rustic furniture workshop –
Collective creation of Landscape Art