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Esley Philander

Oudekraal is a conservation site that forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, popularly known as a family picnic and braai area between some of the most elite coastal suburbs in Africa. Yet Oudekraal was once home to some of the indigenous peoples of the Cape and was a refuge for survivors of slavery and their descendants. This thesis unpacks how Oudekraal has evolved as a ‘natural space’ across time through the entanglements of various species and how Oudekraal has been constructed by economic, politic and scientific ideas at various points in its history. It considers whether the current paradigm of ‘conservation’ is a just way of preserving the textured histories of this coastal space. 

Esley is a filmmaker and journalist with a BA (Hons). She was awarded an Andrew Mellon fellowship in her Honours year. In 2009, Esley trained at the Imagine Institute in Burkina Faso with Gaston Kabore. In 2012, she participated in DW Akadamie’s TV Features training programme in Berlin.