Lauren Dyll, Centre for Communication, Media and Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Prof Lauren Eva Dyll has been a staunch supporter of ARROWSA since 2004! Lauren's extended family, including her mother Anne Ross, are also legends in the way that they have helped fundraise over the years. They have also provided support behind the scenes to the leader of ARROWSA Bechet, Mr Bheki Dlamini.
Lauren is a mother of two young children and a very busy woman who is a perfectionist achiever. She works as Associate Professor in the Centre for Communication, Media and Society and Academic Leader for Community Engagement in the School of Applied Human Sciences. Considering all Lauren's personal and professional commitments one may wonder why she continues to serve as a volunteer in ARROWSA management?
Lauren explains below that "laughter and learning" are what have kept her working with and for ARROWSA as a volunteer for so many years. (For more information on Lauren's participation linked to ARROWSA see the Community Engagement partner CCMS, ARROWSA Bechet and Research portfolio labels of the ARROWSA blog).
"I was asked me to write about why I have stayed involved in ARROWSA for all these years. On a personal note it can be summed up in one word: laughter. When I met Mary Lange during a research field trip to the Kalahari, not only did I meet a compassionate person and dedicated researcher, but someone whose wit and fun-loving nature could make people across many different ages, cultures and races burst out in heartfelt laughter together. Not only does laughter express joy but physiologically it releases endorphins that assist in reducing stress. In this simple yet powerful way Mary demonstrated to me what ARROWSA is all about – individual and collective expression, intercultural connection and well-being. The same was achieved when I accompanied the Bechet learners, teachers and Mary on their first intercultural trip to Plymouth in the UK. So when Mary asked if I would consider volunteering as a member of the ARROWSA management committee I jumped at the opportunity. Academically, my research centres on participatory communication, issues of identity and critical indigenous research methodologies. Being involved with ARROWSA has animated the principles and processes attached to these interests. This has been through sitting on a sand dune with Vetkat Kruiper listening to him explain to Mary what his vision was for his book, Mooi Loop; Bheki’s performances that explore different perceptions of heritage with the Bechet learners, co-authoring the book, Engraved Landscape: Biesje Poort, Many Voices with academics from different higher learning institutions, archeologists and KhoeSan descendants; the DUT/ARROWSA/CCMS jewellery exhibitions where proceeds are ‘paid forward’ to invest in further learning exchanges, and now with the current Mashishing Marking Memories project that examines the potentiality of participation as a tool in post-processual archeology, as the project records the intangible cultural heritage associated with the sites via storytelling and oral interpretations by a diverse research team, as well as their contemporary educational and tourism resource potential. Two words then: laughter and learning."
Lauren and ARROWSA Bechet participants at Stonehenge, UK, 2006.
Lauren (centre) with Mary Lange and Colleen Manning (ARROWSA Bechet)
at Dartmoor Museum, UK, 2006.