Watercourse History Fest- Plettenberg Bay

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Start Date: 13 February, 2020
End Date: 15 February, 2020

Plett Tourism is excited to introduce a new highlight on the Plett Calendar of events, the Watercourse History Fest in Plett, 13 – 15 February 2020.

Local Media and Development Consultant and publisher of the Watermark Press series, Mike Kantey, is the festival director and impresario of the first history festival in Plettenberg Bay.

VENUE: Mainly Piesang Valley Community Hall and Old Nick
DATE: Thursday 13 to Saturday 15 Feb 2020
TIMES: 09h00 to 23h00
TICKETS AT: Barney’s Info Kiosk

The first Watercourse History Fest in Plett offers a variety of programmes for both residents and visitors to experience the Southern Cape’s unique cultural heritage and historical resources. The Watercourse Media & Development Company has developed a schedule designed to tell the story of Early Modern Humans and the “first people” of the Southern Cape during this community-wide event. All events are free of charge unless otherwise stated.

Plett offers a variety of programmes for both residents and visitors to experience our unique cultural and historical heritage. The organisers have developed two days of presentations and debate to introduce two eras in Southern Cape history: the period of Early Modern Humans and that of so-called ‘First People’, otherwise known as Khoekhoen and ‘Bushmen’.

fynbos ridge accommodation plett


Thursday 13 February                                                                                   

  • 09h00 at the Piesang Valley Community Hall, entrance R100: Professor Sarah Wurz of the University of the Witwatersrand will give a presentation on Early Modern Humans at Klasies River Mouth.
  • 11h30 at the Piesang Valley Community Hall, entrance R100: Joané Swart will give a presentation on early Rock Art
  • 14h00 at the Methodist Church, Marine Drive, entrance FREE: Open Public Debate: “Can the Evidence from Science be Reconciled with Religious Faith?” with former cosmologist, Martin Wolfaardt


Friday 14 February         

  • 09h00 at the Piesang Valley Community Hall, entrance R100: Professor Mike de Jongh will speak about the Hessequa of the Southern Cape
  • 11h30 at the Piesang Valley Community Hall, entrance R100: The Griqua National Council will talk about their latest book on the official History of the Griqua Nation.
  • 14h00 at a venue to be announced, entrance FREE: Open Public Discussion: “Is Toenadering Possible in the Face of Race, Class, and Language Differences?” with Ron Martin, member of the Executive Committee, National Khoisan Council


Saturday 15 February

  • All day, throughout Plett: Everyone is invited to talk about popular history, biographies and memoirs. 08h00 at a venue to be confirmed: Alan Landau, author of the popular Langbourne series will talk about the ill-fated Shangani Patrol.
  • 10h30 and 15h30: David Bristow will present his latest book on Twenty Amazing Places in South Africa: Hominins, Hunter-Gatherers and Heroes
  • 13h30: Leigh Dunn will walk his guests from the car park of the beautifully restored Old Rectory (above Hobie Beach) up to the boundary stone set up by Baron von Plettenberg in the 1700s and talk about the early families of Plettenberg Bay who became victims of the Group Areas Act in two hundred years later.


The Bitou Municipality is a proud sponsor of the first Watercourse History Fest, and Plett Tourism is one of the media sponsors. Let’s support this new initiative and let a thousand voices be heard!

About the presenters

Sarah Wurz

Professor Sarah Wurz of Witwatersrand

Professor Sarah Wurz of Witwatersrand

Sarah Wurz is Professor of Archaeology at the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand and the Centre of Excellence on Early Sapience Behaviour at the University of Bergen. She is the director of excavations and research at Klasies River main site situated in the Eastern Cape on the Tsitsikamma coast, a key site for understanding the origins of modern humans or Homo sapiens. Her research on the Middle Stone Age and the Klasies River sequence led to new insights into the complexity of lithic technological and related behaviours from the last 120 000 years.

Her background and expertise include music science and psychology.  This provides the multidisciplinary context from which she investigates the roots of the unique aspects that underlie typically human behaviors and cognition. She is also active in archaeological heritage management, and previously filled positions at the Iziko Museums of Cape Town and the South African Heritage Resources Agency.

Role in SapienCE: Sarah Wurz is the principal investigator (PI) at the Middle Stone Age site Klasies River, one of the sites from which  researchers in the Sapience team conduct several types of analyses, including dating and palaeoenvironmental studies. She is also involved in co-supervision of post-graduate students and collaborative projects.


David Bristow

David Bristow

David Bristow

David Bristow grew up in the veld north of Johannesburg. He has an honours degrees in Journalism from Rhodes University, as well as a Masters degree in Environmental Sciences from Cape Town University. After studying he spent a year working as a guide and camp manager in the Okavango Delta.

He started off “real life” as a news hound in Johannesburg but, after the success of his first book Mountains of Southern Africa, decided that life as a full time nature and travel writer was the life. Since then he has authored more than 20, including numerous travel and hiking guides.. In between there was  a 13-year stint as editor of Getaway travel magazine.

A few years ago he turned his hand to writing non-fiction narratives with a series titled “Stories from the Veld”. First in the series is titled Running Wild: the Story of Zulu, an African Stallion tells the true story of a Boerperd that became a zebra (or at least became the alpha stallion of a wild zebra herd in Mashatu Private Game Reserve in Botswana).

The second is The Game Ranger etc. featuring 20 curious characters from South Africa, present and past. The third, Of Hominins, Hunter-Gatherers and Heroes, features 20 amazing places in South Africa. The fourth in the series “stories from the veld” will have a strong environmental bent, provisonally titled Teach Your Children.

Having climbed mountains all around the world, he now prefers the more sedentary pursuits of riding a mountain bike, doing a bit of scuba diving and surfing (long board). He lives on a marina near Cape Town with his partner, three boats, two bicycles, two surfboards and a cat.

All three current books will be available at R200 each,  cash or card (retail price is around R250).


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