Bushman Chief !’aru lkhuisi Piet Berendse, right, with two members of his clan during this year’s AfrikaBurn festival, where they displayed aspects of their culture. Photo: Supplied
Cape Town – Northern Cape Bushman chief !’aru lkhuisi Piet Berendse has embarked on a quest to tell the authentic stories of indigenous people through his clan’s own media production company. 

He started Piet Bush Media with the intention of broadcasting and publishing the stories told by the people who live in some of the country’s rural regions, including in the Kalahari and Namaqualand.

Berendse, from Upington, has travelled the country and held talks with other indigenous groups advocating for their recognition as distinct groups and the associated rights.

Berendse said although his production company was in its infancy he received widespread support to expand the initiative.

“We started this project because our story has been told through other eyes except our own, and we have been supported in that vision (to tell our own stories) here and abroad.

“What we want to do is visit our country’s most secluded and majestic areas and have the Bushmen or Khoe tell their stories in their own way,” said Berendse.

He said through attending many festivals including AfrikaBurn, he found that among many people there was a desire to know more about his culture and also some confusion about indigenous people.

The production company has already launched its own YouTube channel, and in its first video Berendse and members of his clan give a short lesson on Bushman culture.

Berendse said images and videos of Bushmen were used for many purposes around the world but the communities represented were never compensated, and another reason for starting the production company was to counter that practice.

“We have therefore put in place a simple contract that we go into with our contributors; we want to ensure they are paid for their time and have a say in how their story is told,” he said.

Berendse also plans to compile a book with stories told from the perspective of various indigenous peoples.

He said he and members of his clan would travel to Italy in a few weeks’ time at attend an exhibition about indigenous culture, and would hold talks with organisations in that country during their visit.

For more information email [email protected] or call 073 296 5801.

Cape Times