A unique recording from 1936 in South Africa captures the voice of a man named Mukalap, who invites the Europeans to listen to him and hear his native language, !Ora. The film is a response to Mukalap’s message, which the director understands not only as a valuable historical artifact, but, above all, as an invitation to communicate across time and space, in languages living and dead.
“Constructed as a dialogue, I reply to Mukalap speaking in the Dutch, English and Afrikaans language, as well as fragments of !ora.” … “Playing back Mukalap’s message on a grand E.M.G. gramophone became a way of resounding his voice again, now in the present time. The giant horn of the gramophone, at once voice and void, personified Mukalap to me, he is at once present and absent as I listen and answer.”
Director: Judith Westerveld Original title: Message from Mukalap Country: Netherlands, South Africa