Animated web series explores indigenous culture

Deidre Jantjies

A District Six woman has created an animated web series to tell indigenous stories that young people can relate to.

Deidre Jantjies, 30, is the director, producer, writer and narrator of Stories in die Wind (Stories in the Wind), which was released at the beginning of the month. She worked with illustrator Dav Andrews and animator Clinton Jones on the project.

Stories in die Wind tells the tale of a young girl, !Hûni/gares (meaning “The Rain Flower”), of the Nama people, who bears a unique birthmark and is chosen to lead her people. The story is set in pre-colonial times in the Northern Cape’s Richtersveld.

“She has a calling to save her land and people in the future,” says Ms Jantjies.

Originally from Oudtshoorn, Ms Jantjies has Khoisan heritage through her great grandmother, Emma Pretorius. She says she wanted to see an animated series that she could have related to as a child. “I never saw a television show which was a reflection of myself even in animation.”

Ms Jantjies pitched the idea last August to the University of the Free State, which had started a programme for innovation in the arts. She also received support from the National Arts Council.

The series has seven episodes, each three to five minutes long. They are in Afrikaans with English and Nama subtitles.

Ms Jantjies says in narrating the story she wanted to create the feeling of sitting around a fire with your family. “I chose to narrate the web series in a Nama accent because I have never seen Afrikaans portrayed in the slang that is known to the accent,” she says.

Ms Jantjies hopes the series will strike a chord among those with indigenous heritage. “I want them to remember that their heritage and roots are important to be told and spoken of, and we can only find our purpose if we understand our past and heritage.”

Stories in die Wind also played at New Zealand’s Wairoa Maori Film Festival earlier this month.

Ms Jantjies was also the co-director and producer of the short animated film Love Thy Neighbour, which was released last year.

Visit www.storiesindiewind.co.za to watch the series.

A clip from Stories in die Wind.