The Keeper of the Kumm

A city journalist reluctantly follows The Call of a Bushman Rainmaker … their story started 200 years ago. The Keeper of the Kumm is a historic and modern quest, interwoven in a story that crosses the flimsy boundaries between worlds.

In 1870 //Kabbo, a pipe smoking revolutionary Bushman hunter driven by his need to safeguard his fragile culture, goes on a Quest to find city people whom he has heard can preserve stories in books.  Along the way he finds Victorian researcher, Lucy Lloyd and German linguist Wilhelm Bleek. But even further down the line he engages a reluctant modern-day writer Sylvia Vollenhoven. 

Sylvia, a cynical city journalist in search of healing, undertakes a Quest of her own. Using 21st Century experts as well as ancient African ritual she follows The Call of  //Kabbo. Like a Bushman hunter she sets out on the trail and pins down the elusive meeting point between science and mysticism. In the unfolding drama of the new South Africa she finds a hidden story of the First Nations that touches on our common ancestry. 

The Keeper of the Kumm is a Multimedia Initiative that comprises the following:

  • The Novel written by Vollenhoven that will be launched by Tafelberg to coincide with the bicentenary of //Kabbo’s birth. Tafelberg is one of South Africa’s largest publishing houses
  • A Musical Theatre Adaptation – a joint initiative between VIA, Suite Basil Productions, the Baxter Theatre and the National Arts Festival
  • A Feature Length Documentary Film. The film in development is supported by the National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) and agency of the South African Government Department of Arts & Culture
  • Multimedia Extensions e.g website, exhibition, educational material and a traveling show

Trailer Duration: 2 min 32 sec

VIA – Vision In Africa

VIA – Vision In Africa was established in 2006 and has rapidly grown to be a formidable force in the media industry with pan African activities and international training networks. In a rapidly expanding market quality programming is a valuable commodity. VIA was launched to develop media products with a strong African flavour for audiences everywhere. We’re also building innovative media partnerships across Africa and between Africa and the world. We focus on the following main business areas:

  • Transmedia projects that include creative writing, film and theatre performance
  • Documentary and Feature film
  • Development of media networks in Africa and Europe. VIA brokered a unique relationship between the UK and Africa with a pilot project for upgrading business journalists’ skills in Nairobi
  • Multimedia Content Development & Training
  • Consultancies to international organisations… These have included the UK’s Thomson Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation and the SABC
  • Television Events – VIA produced INPUT 2008, the screening conference of the International Public Television organisation held in Johannesburg at the Sandton Convention Centre. The event attracted about 1,300 TV professionals from around the world
  • Peer Reviews of proposals and papers for  the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the Journal of African Cinemas 

Our Work

VIA’s track record across Africa is impressive. Our main projects include The Keeper of the Kumm transmedia initiative, a TV series called Sanguru, recently completed documentary films as well as broadcast media development and training. The Keeper of the Kumm, written by Sylvia Vollenhoven, will be published by Tafelberg to coincide with two decades of South African democracy in 2014. It has been shortlisted for the inaugural City Press Tafelberg non fiction Book Award. The spinoffs from the novel include a musical theatre piece (already earmarked for a prestigious national arts festival)and documentary as well as feature films. The World Bank and the SABC has supported the this project based on the historic Bushman Visionary //Kabbo. He is the main informant in the University of Cape Town Bleek/Lloyd  archive  that has been entered into UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. The Kumm (it means story in the extinct !Xam language) project is a VIA original concept.

PDF Download: Project Prospectus… The Keeper of the Kumm

Documentaries

VIA was recently commissioned by the SABC to produce two investigative documentaries:

  • Project Spear, a probe into the billions looted from state coffers in the dying days of the apartheid regime
  • Roar Young Lions a film on the neglected former MK (ANC military wing) cadres who live on the margins of society. Produced by Bev Mitchell and Directed by Quinton Fredericks

Training

VIA has been training journalists in East and West Africa. Our  Print, Broadcast and New Media Training has yielded excellent results across Africa. In Ghana we pioneered the development of a citizen journalism network and a weekly radio show, Hotline. This is Ghana’s first ever radio documentary slot. It has transformed coverage of social issues and poverty. After          only 18 months the VIA trainees scooped 11 of the annual Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) awards. The Journalist of the Year, Henry Kwaku Owusu Peprah, benefited more from our training opportunities than most. The two stories singled out by the judges were both Hotline documentaries. Also coached the GJA  Awards runner-up, Mennasseh Azure Awuni who          was nominated “most promising journalist”. A young man whom we mentored and trained to take over the project was awarded CNN 2012 Radio Journalist of the year for his Hotline piece on Accra’s squatter camps.

Our training has also included teaching a documentary course at the University of Cardiff for Britain’s esteemed Thomson Foundation and working with Washington’s International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). Training partners have included Paddy Coulter OBE (former Director of the Reuters Institute); Canada’s Tim Knight (Author of Storytelling & the Anima Factor); Oxford University’s Professor Paul Collier (Author of The Bottom Billion & Director the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University) and the London School of Economics’ Sir Geoffrey Owen (former Editor of the Financial Times in the UK).

Consultancies

Consultancies to international organisations have included the UK’s Thomson Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation and the SABC.

VIA MD Sylvia Vollenhoven was the Chief Executive for INPUT 2008 the annual screening conference of the International Public Television organisation held in Johannesburg at the Sandton Convention Centre. The event attracted about 1,300 TV professionals from around the world.

THE VIA VISION

To establish arenas of African creative excellence that build a legacy of magnificence driven by visionary leadership.

MISSION

To build a pan African broadcast storytelling network that is a true reflection of our Continent’s excellence, while developing sound business models for the media industry.