The land we inhabit is etched into us as deep as the currents of life. We are shaped by land; our bodily forms, our language, our sense of knowing, our sense of self, our gaze. Every aspect of our lives is touched by the land that we have grown up on; this land has given us a sense of who we are, a sense of familiarity, a place of belonging in the order of life. The textures of the land enter into us, offering us a sense of identity, a place we can call Home.
The Land has ancestors. They are buried deep in the soil, in the layers of the archaeological finds that take digging to unearth. There are stories here in the land. Of people who lived through history in this place. The artefacts of generation after generation: from those who belonged to the land, through the traumatic dispossession and forced removals, to the slaves whose life force was used to dig, to plant and to build to survive the wild earth. Each place has a story, a family that lived and loved and lost there.
The graves of the forefathers remain long after their descendants have moved on. Those that lived on the land, were either buried to become part of the soil where our vegetables grow, or were disposed in an ill-gotten gain. By land grab, colonisation and force removals, those who belonged to the land were ripped from the cradle of their belonging and identity.
Who lived on the land you live on now before you? And before them? Who were the first ones to place their feet on this soil? How did we come to cut pieces of the land and create borders as if the land can end and begin. What does it mean to restore our belonging to the land? To heal this interrupted reaching out that has us disconnected and disconnecting from nature and from each other? How do we acknowledge what happened and how do we compensate the ill-gotten gains? What does this mean systemically for the world? How can we as individuals and as a collective support change?
These are the questions we will explore through the use of land constellations, observation, and reflection. Starting at our own back door, and culminating in a 5 day process in Towerland Wilderness in the Langeberg Mountains in South Africa in 2022.