Over recent decades a select group of scholars, notably Sigrid Schmidt, Megan Biesele and Mathias Guenther, have brought attention to the rich and extensive nature of KhoeSan folklore. A key part of their respective studies has involved drawing out how similar themes are worked with across quite different KhoeSan groups and individuals in distinctive yet, nonetheless, similar ways. Knowledge that comes out of the tight binding of landscape to culture and lifestyle, is passed on and reconfigured with every telling of a story. Work with the Future Pasts project has picked up one of the primary themes of this folklore and explored it in conjunction with new media opportunities.
The theme of this media rich website by Chris Low is Haiseb. Haiseb is a Trickster like figure found among Nama, Damara and Hai||om, and intimately related to Trickster figures found across KhoeSan peoples. The emphasis of this website is to explore how knowledge of Haiseb relates to landscape, song and movement. The website is a prelude to a more academic discussion of what embodied knowledge actually means, including how memory of Haiseb’s movement and sound haunts river beds, mountains and plains. Scholars of KhoeSan folklore all emphasise that the stories are performances. This website indicates what sort of performances underpin current knowledge of Haiseb and begs the question, just how long have these movements and sounds of Haiseb populated southern Africa ‘empty’ spaces?