In December 2017 we visited the home of Mr Jannie Bowman, age 91, for our first oral interview. Jannie had been present at a few of our founding community meetings and was always eager to stand up and tell us something about Constantia. When we arrived at his home he invited us to take a walk through his beautifully kept garden, giving us a tour of the flowers in bloom. We spoke for two hours, and between Mr Bowman and Uncle Moos, who was conducting the interview, the two of them could plot out all the streets, of who lived where. This first interview revealed the nuance in how people experienced the past, as apartheid affected Jannie and Moos differently. This reminded us to be open to the myriad views on history and its effect on individuals.
In March 2018, we held our first ‘gesels’ session with three former Constantia residents: Ivan Pelston, Elizabeth Fransina Roberts and Catherine Iris James. Instead of a one on one interview, the discussion format made for a happy afternoon full of laughs, but also pathos of the loss and longing for home. We sat down, with a cup of tea and rusks, reminiscing about days before forced removals, led by Uncle Moos.