Date: Thursday 28 June: In conversation with Ryland Fisher
Venue: District Six Museum Homecoming Centre
Cost: R 150 (R 130 if prepaid)
Booking essential: call Chantal Delilie- 021 4667200 OR email firstname.lastname@example.org
Menu: welcome drink, samosas, main meal (with vegetarian option), dessert, koesisters, coffee, tea
Theme: ‘Conversations in and about our city’
What does it mean for Cape Town to be a home for all? The rhetoric is desirable but hardly tangible. The daily reality of many city ‘users’ is as part of a mass exodus of service workers at the end of the day, navigating unreliable and unsafe transport to reach their homes. The added current challenge of ensuring that homes are supplied with water for the family’s needs further compromise a good quality of life.
What stories do the many people of our city carry with them every day? Where do their voices find expression, where do they get heard and how do these impact on policy? How have so many people kept their hopes and aspirations alive rather than being buried by their challenges?
‘Cape Town’s CBD is no island’, writes Professor Njabulo Ndebele, ‘but is fundamentally connected to the lives and livelihoods of surrounding communities – and vice versa. Successful urban partnerships, like good stories, allow space for divergent views and multiple voices, and the recognition that, even in our difference, there is common ground on which we can forge a sense of common purpose.’
Cities can be inspiring platforms for engagements, and ‘Conversations in and about our city’ seeks to add depth to Cape Town as one such platform.
District Six Museum, food and stories
The phrase ‘gooi ‘n tafel’ (literally, ‘throw a table’) is particularly familiar to people from District Six and the Bo Kaap. It references the tables that were laid out by families for Christmas Choirs on Christmas Eve and for Malay Choirs at New Year. Laden with seasonal fruit like watermelon as well as pastries and cakes, the tafels were celebratory – marking the festive season between the December to January period.
Tables are thus evocative symbols for the District Six community representing coming together, sharing, arguing, breaking bread and storytelling around a common space. Tables also reference the intimate family rituals around food, work and religion that were performed in District Six homes before destruction, on a daily basis.
The Museum’s Huis Kombuis project is centred around such stories and remembrances of food routines re-enacted in the present. The District Six Museum’s Supper Club concept emerged from a desire to create opportunities for conversations of all kinds: enlightening, entertaining, philosophical, lyrical, visual or performative. It is intended to bring people together who might ordinarily not have met, and also create opportunities for friends to meet up with each other. It aims to contribute to a culture which encourages the expression of different points of view in a space which is contained and supportive.
Past Supper Club storytellers have been very diverse. They have included Diana Ferrus, Prof Njabulo Ndebele, Ernestine Deane, Terry Fortune, Basil Appollis, Trevor Jones, Auriol Hayes, George Hallett and Tina Schouw amongst others.
The 2018 iteration of the Supper Club series is called ‘Conversations in and around our city.’ Storytellers will be invited to share their stories in whichever way they wish. Guests attending the session are invited to listen and to later engage in conversations with the storyteller and each other. Conversations continue over supper and dessert. Hopefully friendships and engagements will continue beyond the evening.
Brief biography of Ryland Fisher
Ryland Fisher has more than 35 years of experience in the media industry as an editor, journalist, columnist, author, senior manager and executive. He is the former Editor of the Cape Times and The New Age, and was assistant editor of the Sunday Times. However, his experience in the media industry extends across all media platforms, including broadcast, online, books and events. He works with several media companies, in South Africa and abroad. Early in his career, he was one of the pioneers of alternative community journalism in South Africa.
Fisher is the author of Race (published 2007), a book dealing with race and racism in post-apartheid South Africa. His first book, Making the Media Work for You (2002), provided insights into the media industry. He has contributed chapters to several other books. Among others, he has edited the official Opus on Nelson Mandela, books of empowerment, a book on 20 years of democracy in South Africa (published in July 2014) and two books on the National Development Plan (published in 2015 and 2017).
He is the founding chairperson of the Cape Town Festival, which he initiated while editor of the Cape Times in 1999 as part of the ‘One City, Many Cultures’ project. He consults on media and social transformation and has lectured on transformation and race in countries such as Switzerland and the United States of America.
He writes a weekly column for the Weekend Argus, called Thinking Allowed, and occasional articles for other publications in South Africa and abroad. He grew up on the Cape Flats, mainly Hanover Park and Mitchells Plain.