Amelda Brand

Playing with heritage and identity: unraveling and re-knitting stories in the Cape Winelands.

 Created by participants and the facilitation team involved in the Solms-Delta Music van De Caab project, the musical production Philida van de Delta was developed over the course of four years to tell the story of a knitting slave who lived on the farm and opposed the farm owner when he tried to sell her (before the abolition of slavery). Philida’s story was also documented in the farm museum after the curator discovered old court documents.

Before staging the final production at the Word Festival in Stellenbosch (March 2016), various versions containing stories gathered through a story-sharing process were performed on the farm and at local festivals. Through this diverse co-authored/participant-centered creative process, themes of ownership and the necessity of a plural voice in collective story-telling were explored. This presentation aims to share parts of the discovered stories, experiences and findings of the creative process.


Amelda Brand works as Applied Theatre Lecturer and completed her B Drama degree in Performance and M Drama in Community-based Theatre at Stellenbosch University. In Canada, she also obtained a MA in Drama Therapy from Concordia University in Montreal and received training in Clowning at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

Apart from her previous work as facilitator and therapist for the Zakheni Arts Therapy Foundation’s Wellbeing and FireMaker projects (offering creative arts therapy support for careworkers and therapy programs), Amelda works as a registered drama therapist and theatre practitioner in Western Cape schools and farming communities under the auspices of Sp(i)eel Arts Therapies Collective. She is also involved in long-term applied drama research programmes at Rainbow Academy and has been working with story-sharing initiatives of the Solms-Delta Music van de Caab Trust and the development of the musical Philida van de Delta performed at the Zabalaza Festival in 2015 and the Word Festival in 2016.