30 July 2012 by Melanie-Ann Feris

Dinner theatre – Karoo-style

The Karoo has a rich history, and a community theatre group brings its stories wonderfully to life.

The Kambro Diggers in a scene from Journey to Kannaland. Photo Kambro Diggers

										A scene from Starwalkers.

Have you ever heard the story of the ostrich industry and how the ostrich barons came into existence in the Karoo? Or how about a Khoisan love story?

The Karoo’s history makes for incredible stories, and a community theatre group brings these stories wonderfully to life.

Much of the performance was done in Afrikaans, and although the group I was with was made up of international journalists, they followed the story and even participated in a sing-along.

My first encounter with the Kambro Diggers, a group of singers, dancers, actors and puppeteers, was in a hall on the premises of a hotel just outside Oudtshoorn.

Bales of hay served as our seats and tables, while an open area with a curtain was the makeshift stage from where the stories unfolded.

I watched the group tell the story of Journey to Kannaland, about how the ostrich industry came into existence and the people behind the glamour of South Africa’s once world-renowned ostrich-feather industry.


										Puppets are also used to tell the stories.

The story was told through the voices of slaves and ostrich farmers, and took us through the ostrich-feather boom, which occurred from the late 1870s, through to the apartheid years.

Much of the performance was done in Afrikaans, and although the group I was with was made up of international journalists from India, Japan, The Netherlands and China, they followed the story and even participated in a sing-along.

My next encounter with the group was a few days later on the patio of another hotel, in the middle of the town.

The story on that occasion, Starwalkers, was a magical tale of how the Milky Way was formed. The night sky and huge cauldrons of fire nearby set the scene for an authentic African storytelling experience.

Kambro Diggers has found a great way of bringing the Karoo’s stories to life, and should definitely be included on any tourist’s must-do list when travelling through the Karoo.

For more information on the Kambro Diggers, contact Jana van Deventer at +27 (0)76 101 3535.


										Tourists watching one of the productions.

Category: Culture & History

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