The intangible nature of many forms of ocean-associated heritage and knowledge in South Africa makes it challenging to incorporate them into legal proceedings and so are often excluded in various forms of formal/legal ocean decision making. In this chapter, through the use of a public storytelling methodology, and call and response methods, developed by creative collective “Empatheatre”, an animation entitled “Indlela Yokuphila: The Soul’s Journey” encapsulated the sacred journey of the soul in a Zulu belief system, and how it is enmeshed with the hydrological cycle, and the deep sea. This approach to representing, and including other ways of knowing the ocean, opened up bigger questions around ocean education and the knowledge hierarchies (and evidence hierarchies that exist in our legal and educational structures). After recent success of Small Scale Fisher applicants in a legal appeal against Oil and Gas giant Shell, a series of three court cases and subsequent judgments, recognised the intangible and spiritual connection of the ocean, with reference to the ocean as realm for the ancestors in some South African knowledge systems.

Using animation and storytelling as proxy, the author alongside other scholar activists, storytellers, musicians, and creatives, was able to create an ‘artifact of agency’ (Gell, 1998) that could be included as evidence alongside citizen’s affidavits and other evidence. Setting new presidents where animation and theatre was included as evidence in a legal proceedings and ocean governance in South Africa. Considering how this landmark case and the methodology supporting this use of art as evidence, we can potentially expand how we include the ancestors in our classrooms. This lends itself to thinking how public storytelling and making-meaning-making or “making is a thinking” (Manning, 2016, p. 28) can contribute to integrating intangible heritage and other ways of knowing, being and doing into ocean decision-making, curriculum/pedagogical innovation and a justice to come.


 Dylan McGarry