Together with South African partners, the Dutch Embassy and Consulate General are venturing into the space of IDENTITY issues with the #cocreateIDENTITY Experience on 4 to 6 June 2022 in Cape Town. Its programme seeks to open meaningful dialogues around questions of identity and transformation in the context of our countries’ shared cultural heritage, including Dutch historic ties through trade and slavery. These conversations will take place through cultural, scientific, social and artistic South African initiatives and collaborations between South African and Dutch artists.
#cocreateIDENTITY Experience what?
The cultural projects featured as part of the festival will depict how South Africa’s and the Netherlands’ histories are woven together. The programme is designed to drive thought provoking conversations about today’s identity issues, encourage future-forward relationships, and create a deeper understanding of identity and transformation needs.
#cocreateIDENTITY Experience why?
Mutual understanding may lead to more effective cooperation in today’s world of transnational challenges. Truthful partnership comes with understanding commonalities and differences, even the painful ones. Truthful partners want to understand each other, in this society but also between us as South Africans and Dutch. Understanding today’s identity issues and their origins is a step in overcoming them. The #cocreateIDENTITY Experience is hopefully a contribution and a step in this journey.
#cocreateIDENTITY: Unpack who we are
Rather than repeating the Dutch narrative that one can read in VOC archives, #cocreateSANL predominantly aims to support South Africans in uncovering their own narrative between each other. During the #cocreateIDENTITY Experience, we aim to unpack the complex question of who are we today and how that relates to the past. By learning from our South African counterparts, we look to create impactful, inspiring and meaningful dialogue around identity. This will stimulate the ongoing conversation surrounding VOC history also in the Netherlands and worldwide, which is integral to answering questions surrounding Dutch identity and historical awareness as well.
“The philosophy of our diplomatic missions in South Africa is to recognise our shared challenges and ambitions - thereby empowering us to work together to co-create solutions,” says Han Peters, Ambassador for the Kingdom of the Netherlands to South Africa. “We regard it as a responsibility to dive into our past in order to co-create a shared better future - engaging in difficult conversations about our histories, sitting with the uncomfortable truths, and driving a new trajectory for the future”, Peters concludes.
“The goal is to create an opportunity for the Dutch people to be truthful listening partners, receive what is revealed and exchanged, while the South Africans venture to make sense of their identity journey connected to the past. The elements that derive from our VOC past we need to feed back to the Dutch, so we can learn what the impact is of our history directly. In the end, we aim to recognise and acknowledge our differences and shared challenges and ambitions - thereby empowering us to work better together,” adds Consul General Sebastiaan Messerschmidt. “It takes courage of all participants in this journey, to walk it without predetermining its outcome but really experience, exchange and listen.”
To achieve these objectives, and as an expression of #cocreateSANL, the #cocreateIDENTITY Experience will be held at various very significant venues, including the Castle of Good Hope, the Camissa Museum, the Iziko Slave Lodge and the Artscape. It is set to open a dialogue that delves into how the Netherlands and South Africa can create meaningful exchanges to foster powerful transformation and address identity issues. Initiatives include two cultural theatre pieces, a Camissa Museum Tour, a tour of the Slave Lodge and an exhibition at the Castle of Good Hope and connected discussions and dialogues.