This paper describes the author’s interaction with a pair of ntindile (or Entada rheedii) sea beans categorised as ‘charms’ and held in the Iziko Social History Archive in Cape Town, South Africa. The beans are migratory in nature and are to be found across the Indian Ocean where they assume multiple spiritual and medicinal uses. As a result they can be seen to destabilise land-based notions of identity and indigeneity. In the museum the sea beans are stored as static objects – out of circulation; however, when they are considered as nomadic, they are rich in knowledge, texts, stories and an oceanic life infused with the concepts of floating, archives and sound. Exploring oceanic methods as an embodied and affective scholarly practice, the author organises her engagement with the sea beans into six story rushes. Anna Tsing’s concept of a rush of stories implies a convergence of several stories from multiple temporalities and surfacing histories. Rushing has a sense of urgency – what are the stories that are rushing to be told in our time? In this way, the author explores the botanical, cultural, and historical aspects of the sea bean as a counterpoint to reductive biomedical sciences and outdated archival practices. This chapter follows an ontological inquiry into the various contexts of healing the bean resides in and a consideration of humanness, disease and human- plant relationships.


Kristy Stone