Marlene Winberg

Author Storyteller

This miniature memorial book consists of six pages, with digitally reproduced images from my book, !nanni’s Sketchbook – annotations of loss and abundance. The !kun children’s material from the Bleek and Lloyd collection 1879-1881.(Winberg 2014) I have sewn the hinges together with metallic thread on Fabriano paper, stained with Rooibos tea. The covers are in gold leaf. Gold is traditionally a symbol of eternity, but here the stitches provoke the fragile, chaotic and transient nature of life as it delicately holds together the children’s images from their 134-year old archive. I was born in Cape Town and have been writing, drawing and sharing stories for as long as I can remember – in southern Africa and beyond.  As mother to three children I do what most women I know do everyday – multi-task creatively. Over the years I have celebrated and explored the world of stories on many different layers, with a mindful focus on the oral literature of southern Africa’s San communities. I am a lover of knowledge with a Master of Arts in Fine Art and a Performer’s Diploma in Dramatic Arts from the University of Cape Town. As curator of the Manyeka Arts Trust, a non profit that is dedicated to recording the silent stories of marginalized children and adults, my work has as much to do with listening and translating oral literature into written form, as it has with telling stories and making beautiful books. Below is an audio story for you to listen to – told by traditional southern African !Xun San healer, Meneputo Manyeka and myself. It is told and sung in both !Xun and English.  The Mud Baby is an old fertility story that speaks of loss, healing and renewal.

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