You see, Mama, I told the truth. And so did my grandpa. It’s the last time before I die that I can show my descendants the truth about what happened here. Now I can rest.’ – Dawid Kruiper to Patricia Glyn
Dawid Kruiper was an old Bushman with a secret that had been kept in his family for over a century, and which he wanted to hand on to his sons before he died. But he didn’t have the means to take his children back to the place where his grandfather had witnessed the horror that silenced him.
So Dawid asked Patricia Glyn to help him mount the great – and final – odyssey of his life. For two months in 2011, three generations of the Kruiper family, Patricia and her expedition crew travelled through the Kalahari, visiting and documenting places where Dawid and his forebears had roamed when they were ‘wild’ and free in the decades before the outsiders arrived in their homeland. And their journey culminated in Dawid releasing his secret to the world.
This is the story of how Patricia’s assumptions about and relationships with the Kruiper family were tested to the limit before they trusted her with their knowledge and stories. Patricia slowly gains an understanding of the depth of the Kruipers’ pain after centuries of genocide, prejudice and dispossession. The result is a candid but compassionate account of how this historical trauma manifests in the everyday lives of a contemporary Bushman family.
Patricia describes what she learned from the family about humankind’s original relationship with wilderness and the natural world. She recounts the Kruipers’ extraordinary veld knowledge and intuition, their inbuilt GPS and prescience.
This is an eco-adventure with a difference. What Dawid Knew explores the personal history and heritage of a remarkable family and what the Bushmen have to teach us about respect for, and responsible management of, our natural resources.