National History Museum

Opening of the Vêrlander exhibition

Opening of the exhibition by Her Excellency Ms Marisa Gerards.

Vêrlander exhibition

Vêrlander is a visual event celebrating the cultural heritage of the hitherto largely ignored indigenous communities of Khoekhoe descent in Southern Africa.  The project documents the stories of 19th century chiefs Cornelius Kok, Josef Frederick, Dirk Vilander, Frederic Vleermuis and Goliath Yzerbek.  They are founding fathers of the Griqua people, Mier Basters, Oorlam Nama and ‘Regshande’ Korana.  The word Vêrlander was used by one of the interviewees in the Kalahari to indicate that his forefather came from ‘a far away land’.  The exhibition comprises some 30 portraits of the descendents of these chiefs and members of their communities.  

This exhibition is the outcome of a project undertaken by Mr Geert Snoeijer, Dutch documentary and portrait photographer with a strong interest in anthropology, and Dr Bart de Graaf, Dutch historian and writer with a vast knowledge of South Africa. 

As this exhibition is part of a larger project on the interaction between Dutch colonial rule and indigenous communities during the 17th and 18th centuries, Vêrlander will also be exhibited in the Netherlands (Westfries Museum in Hoorn), Australia (Western Australian Museum in Geraldton) and Indonesia (Galeri Jurnalistik Antara, Jakarta).

The exhibition was opened by the Netherland’s Ambassador to South Africa, Her Excellency Ms Marisa Gerards, on 24 November.  

From left: Dr Bart de Graaff, Her Excellency Ms Marisa Gerards, Ambassador of the Netherlands to South Africa, and Mr Geert Snoeijer.



Mr Geert Snoeijer, photographer,  and Mr Adam Kok from the House of Cornelius Kok II from Campbell, Northern Cape, admiring his portrait.



Members of the House of Cornelius Kok II Griekwa community from Campbell, Northern Cape, singing Psalm 100 during the opening function.



Her Excellency Ms Marisa Gerards and Mrs Valerie Beck from Bloemfontein at Mrs Beck's portrait.



Mr Geert Snoeijer (centre) with Mr Christo Venter and Me Toni Pretorius, both of the Museum's Design Department, at the portrait of Me Hendriena Kok from the House of Cornelius Kok II in Campbell.



Her Excellency Ms Marisa Gerards with Me Limakatso Koloi, Mayor of the Dawid Kruiper Local Municipality, Northen Cape.