Three months into Lockdown2020, with humans quarantined and the commercial-industrial city suspended, I began to hear the nocturnal calls of yellow spotted thick knee couples – kiwiet birds… always paired. They are water birds, indigenous to Woodstock’s coastal neighbourhood. I’d never seen or heard their song, in the forty years I’ve lived here. I realised the birds had instinctively returned to the park, playing field and abandoned bowling green, seeking water. For underneath these virgin grounds is a mountain aquifer, historically named ‘Leliefontein’ – lily spring.
This short film traces the bird’s water course along its linear trajectory, from the mountain to sea. Its source flows from above the Woodstock Cave, down its riverine gorge in the aftermath of April’s fast fire, where it abounds into a natural spring, incongruously hi-jacked by a shooting range. The water is then diverted underground into mountain aquifers beneath Philip Kgosana Drive and the Walmer Estate neighbourhood , beneath Nelson Mandela Boulevard and the Woodstock neighbourhood, ultimately flowing into the harbour sea. Its flow articulates something of the occlusion inherent in colonial attitudes towards people and nature over four centuries, and the desires of social justice movements in an unequal society.
Artist: Julia Raynham
Cinematography: James Taylor, Switch Media
Production Assistant: Xola Mteto
Editor: James Taylor, Switch Media
Audio: Michael Botha, TheWorkRoom Audio Post
Wardrobe: Beverly Pon
Language Coach: Bradley van Sitters