Press release: #cocreateIDENTITY experience – Provoking your identity

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#cocreateIDENTITY experience: Provoking your identity

Together with South African partners, the Dutch Embassy and Consulate General are venturing into the space of IDENTITY issues with the #cocreateIDENTITY Experience from 4 to 6 June 2022 in Cape Town. Its programme seeks to open meaningful dialogues around questions of identity and transformation in the context of our countries’ shared cultural heritage, including Dutch historic ties through trade and slavery. These conversations will take place through cultural, scientific, social and artistic South African initiatives and collaborations between South African and Dutch artists. 

#cocreateIDENTITY Experience what?

The cultural projects featured as part of the festival will depict how South Africa’s and the Netherlands’ histories are woven together. The programme is designed to drive thought-provoking conversations about today’s identity issues, encourage future-forward relationships, and create a deeper understanding of identity and transformation needs. 

#cocreateIDENTITY Experience why?

Mutual understanding may lead to more effective cooperation in today’s world of transnational challenges. Truthful partnership comes with understanding commonalities and differences, even the painful ones.  Truthful partners want to understand each other, in this society, but also between us as South Africans and Dutch. Understanding today’s identity issues and their origins is a step in overcoming them. The #cocreateIDENTITY Experience is hopefully a contribution and a step in this journey. 

#cocreateIDENTITY: Unpack who we are

Rather than repeating the Dutch narrative that one can read in VOC archives  (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie/The Dutch East India Company) #cocreateSANL predominantly aims to support South Africans in uncovering their own narrative between each other. During the #cocreateIDENTITY Experience, we aim to unpack the complex question of who we are today, and how that relates to the past. By learning from our South African counterparts, we look to create impactful, inspiring and meaningful dialogue around identity. This will stimulate the ongoing conversation surrounding VOC history also in the Netherlands and worldwide, which is integral to answering questions surrounding Dutch identity and historical awareness as well. 

“The philosophy of our diplomatic missions in South Africa is to recognise our shared challenges and ambitions, thereby empowering us to work together to co-create solutions,” says Han Peters, Ambassador for the Kingdom of the Netherlands to South Africa. “We regard it as a responsibility to dive into our past in order to co-create a shared better future — engaging in difficult conversations about our histories, sitting with the uncomfortable truths, and driving a new trajectory for the future.

Adds Consul General Sebastiaan Messerschmidt: “The goal is to create an opportunity for the Dutch people to be truthful listening partners, receive what is revealed and exchanged, while South Africans venture to make sense of their identity journey connected to the past. Elements that are derived from our VOC past need to be fed back to the Dutch, so we can learn what the impact is of our history directly. In the end, we aim to recognise and acknowledge our differences and shared challenges and ambitions, thereby empowering us to work together better. It takes courage of all participants in this journey, to walk it without predetermining its outcome but really experience, exchange and listen.”

To achieve these objectives, and as an expression of #cocreateSANL, the #cocreateIDENTITY Experience will be held at various very significant venues, including the Castle of Good Hope, the Camissa Museum, the Iziko Slave Lodge and the Artscape. It is set to open a dialogue that delves into how the Netherlands and South Africa can create meaningful exchanges to foster powerful transformation and address identity issues. Initiatives include two cultural theatre pieces, a Camissa Museum Tour, a tour of the Slave Lodge and an exhibition at the Castle of Good Hope and connected discussions and dialogues.


#cocreateSANL is an initiative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa, capturing the true essence of modern foreign diplomacy: building relationships, putting the demand at the core of our discussions and focusing on long-term commitments and partnerships. It stimulates collaboration between South Africa and the Netherlands based on the belief that if we work together, we can make a difference and co-create solutions for local and international challenges. #cocreateSANL is a platform for South African and Dutch counterparts to exchange ideas and innovations for a sustainable future.

To view the full programme for the #cocreateIDENTITY Festival, please visit: 


Future for the Past: Sites of Memory at the Slave Lodge/Church Square, Cape Town  Free to the public on a first come first serve basis

12:00 – 12:30, 4 June 2022

15:00 – 15:30, 4 June 2022

11:00 – 11:30, 6 June 2022 

Sites of Memory presents Future for the Past; a journey back in time to the connected colonial past between The Netherlands and South Africa. Artists from both countries translated their vision to this history in music, poetry, dance, visual art and theatre. With this site-specific performance, Sites of Memory shares insight into how the colonial past plays a role in our present and to reimagine the future. Future for the Past takes the audience on a route through the city from the Slave Lodge, to Church Square and a performance at the Castle of Good Hope.  

Krotoa (Eva van de Kaap) at the Artscape Theatre, Cape Town

Tickets available through Artscape @ R100 each

18:00 – 19:30, 4 June 2022 

12:30 – 14:00, 5 June 2022

Set in present day South Africa, this play takes the audience through the life of Krotoa from the time she is taken into Jan van Riebeeck’s household, to becoming the first Khoe woman to be baptised and officially marry a European. As a key negotiator and translator between the Dutch and the local people, her story is one of constant clashes of two cultures, with all the confrontation and drama that this entails. 

Charting the Uncharted (included in the Castle ticket)

All day 4 & 5 June 2022

The Biography of an Uncharted People project aims to document the histories of ordinary people often excluded from conventional archival sources using historical administrative records. Charting the Uncharted, an art exhibit which paired researchers with prominent South African artists, aims to disseminate the results from the project to a wider audience. More information can be found at

Camissa Museum Tour at the Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town (included in the Castle ticket)

All day 4 June & on the afternoon of 5 June

With a view to telling the stories of the people of the Cape, the Camissa Museum reveals the rich and complex history of Camissa Africans. These are the people who are portrayed by others as “coloured” throughout history — but is this how they identify themselves? With careful cultivation, the Museum explores hidden ancestral stories, revealing truths and honouring memories while driving restoration. 

#CoCreateIDENTITY Digital: ONS Perspectief at the Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town (included in the Castle ticket)

All day 4 & 5 June 2022

This “ONS Perspectief” event features a broad, interdisciplinary art project which delves into shared backgrounds, identities, and histories. As the name suggests, the artistic documentaries originating from Dutch makers of BrotherTill and South African word artists aim to publicise different perspectives on Dutch and South African life, building a powerful, evolving collective. 

Slave Lodge, Cape Town

Standard entrance rates apply

As one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town, Slave Lodge holds and reflects a long, rich history. Originally functioning as government offices and the Old Supreme Court, it has been named Slave Lodge since 1998. The Museum’s main exhibition delves into the long history of slavery in South Africa, following the theme “From human wrongs to human rights”. An upcoming exhibition will soon also feature an expose on women and children in slavery.

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