THE KEEPER OF THE KUMM

By Sylvia VOLLENHOVEN

VISION IN AFRICA - as PROD

Documentary - Development 2015

In search of healing a city journalist reluctantly follows ‘The Call’ of a Bushman Rainmaker … their story started 200 years ago.

    • Year of production
    • 2015
    • Genres
    • Documentary, Historical
    • Countries
    • SOUTH AFRICA, UNITED KINGDOM, GERMANY
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Budget
    • 0 - 0.3 M$
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Sylvia VOLLENHOVEN
    • Writer(s)
    • Sylvia VOLLENHOVEN
    • Producer(s)
    • Sylvia VOLLENHOVEN (VIA - Vision In Africa)
    • Synopsis
    • //Kabbo, a 19th Century pipe smoking Bushman Shaman searches for someone to record the stories of his people. Along the way he finds Victorian researcher, Lucy Lloyd and German linguist Wilhelm Bleek. Even further along on his Vision Quest he engages, across time and space, modern day South African journalist and filmmaker Sylvia Vollenhoven.
      The forces that combine in response to //Kabbo’s powerful vision spans continents and centuries. In Germany Dr Bleek, a passionate academic given to bouts of illness, is drawn to Africa to study dying languages. At the same time in Britain the family of Ms Lloyd, a governess, follows in the wake of the 1820 Settlers and sets sail for Durban. In South Africa, a journalist who is seriously ill begins to smell the fragrance of old­ fashioned pipe tobacco in empty rooms. She ‘hears’ //Kabbo talk with her as easily as listening to a telephone conversation. These are just some of many strange happenings that lead to her healing and to the revelation that //Kabbo is continuing his Quest. Is his aim this time to contribute to the healing of the fractured communities of his descendants?
      The Bleek-Lloyd archives -- Kabbo is the main informant -- were recorded over a thousand days and nights in the 1800's. More than a century later the archive was entered into UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.
      This is a story born in a place where the material and non­physical realms meet and dance for a while. It is a parallel story of //Kabbo’s journey in the 19th Century and a no nonsense modern storyteller’s Ancestral Calling. We travel with //Kabbo as he is arrested for stock theft, jailed at Table Bay Harbour’s Breakwater prison and is taken to a house on a hill in Cape Town where he tells his story to linguist Dr Bleek and his sister-in-law Lucy Lloyd. At the same time we experience the conflict in modern storyteller Sylvia Vollenhoven’s life as she becomes ill and is forced to give up a lucrative job with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Ghana to return home. ‘Imprisoned’ in a cottage by the Cape seaside she is drawn into the //Kabbo story and catapulted on a journey across Southern Africa. A Sangoma convinces her that she will find healing from the serious illness that has forced her to stop working by obeying ‘The Call’ to engage with //Kabbo’s story.
      It is a bold narrative that interweaves different time periods, combining historical research with personal intuitive experience. We depart from just about everything that has ever been written about //Kabbo by putting him firmly in charge of events. He is no longer a submissive informant, captive in the drawing room of Victorian experts, but a Visionary with the power to float his stories anywhere anytime. A vital element of the story is the combination of scientific research and esoteric experiences, emphasising that African rituals and traditional beliefs have a place in the modern world... are essential to the Healing of communities.
      The Keeper of the Kumm is a Multimedia Initiative that comprises (each element has the same name) the following:
      * A Feature Length Documentary Film that is being supported by South Africa's National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF)
      * The Novel written by Vollenhoven that will be launched by Tafelberg to coincide with the bicentenary of //Kabbo’s birth. Tafelberg is one of South Africa’s largest publishing houses
      * The Musical Theatre Adaptation - a joint initiative between VIA, Cape Town's Baxter as well as Artscape Theatres and the National Arts Festival of South Africa
      * Multimedia Extensions e.g website, exhibition, educational material and a traveling show
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Mar 01, 2015
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