Die Traktaat

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How is the history of the contract being told? How has this story been altered through the years? What are the facts and what is fiction? These were the questions that preoccupied me during the research for my project ‘Die Traktaat’.

 

This contract (Die Traktaat) is a contract signed by Piet Retied and Dingaan on February 4th 1838 in which allowed the Voortrekkers to settle in the land of the Zulus. All the available information known about the contract, the death of Piet Retief and the battle at the Blood River originate from sources that have been drawn, written or passed on by word of mouth. And the voice of the Voortrekkers was a long time dominant over the Zulus.

 

In order to make their voices heard, the Zulus build a museum in 1998 next to the Blood River in response to the museum of the Voortrekkers across the street. Both museums tell the location’s history from their own perspective. ‘Die Traktaat’ tells a story about the representation of historic events in which the viewer might wonder what’s fact or fiction.