Herewith lies the concept, the meaning and the purpose I wish to achieve and communicate through a Multilayered Mass Collaboration between the Audience and our Production team.
A Collective effort in Art, Culture and Media Communications to bring about a Oneness in the most complex and diverse quantification of our Existence as a Rainbow nation.
We are a group of creative gurus on a massive passion project which sprouted from an idea that’s been lurking in the depths of my mind and its time has come to surface and manifest in reality.
The subject matter in this series explores the illicit multi-billion dollar industry of Abalone poaching controlled by street gangs and Chinese triads on the trade routes to Asia and the massively devastating impact it has on our society, our economy and the environment.
A brief Historical Background:
- Abalone Poaching really took momentum in the early 1990’s and became a highly organized empire by the late 1990’s.
- By 2002 more Abalone was seized by authorities per annum opposed to what was commercially harvested.
- It escalated each year and by the year 2006 commercial fishery was unsustainable.
- Commercial harvesting of Abalone in SA started in 1949 with a annual quota of 615 tons.
- It takes 7-9 years for Abalone to mature and they can live up to 30 years.
- It took the poachers only 10 years to bring the species to the brink of extinction and many failed efforts have been made to control it.
- It was the evolution of a distinctive political consciousness that motivated the taking of perlemoen.
There are 4 primary factors which caused the rapid growth in poaching this most controversial delicacy:
- The continuous declining value of the Rand against the Dollar in the 1990’s made perlemoen an ever increasing compound profit commodity.
- The Pre-Existing highly organized crime network from Asia (Triads) silently settled into our country with the established trade routes at their feet.
- The overbearing difficulty South African authorities have on border patrol functionality.
- The transformation of socio-political identities of colored fishing communities on Abalone rich coasts during the transition of democracy.
- Bartering plays a central role in the international criminal economy.
- Cash is taken from countries with hard currency and commodities are shuffled between all the rest.
- The Triads exports dollar denominated commodities from weak currency zones (Cannabis & Abalone) and exchanges them for high value commodities, which they import.
- Major players in the Cape’s gang based drug market descended on abalone rich fishing villages.
- Security Agencies and Authorities discover that (Methaqualone) was smuggled in from the east and exchanged for Abalone.
- The Triads barters cheap chemical precursors for high value Abalone while druglords barters cheaply acquired Abalone for High value drugs.
- In Betty’s Bay armies of ‘soldiers’ flock to the waters to get their piece of the pie.
- They had to smuggle perly in order to stay in business.
- Apartheid criminal investigators were not interested in executing investigations on organized crime. It was unfamiliar to them as their primary concern was to infiltrate and dismantle anti-apartheid organizations.
- By 1993 the SAPS constituted a ‘Organized Crime Intelligence Unit’ By 1993 they uncovered the existence of two Hong Kong based triads:
THE 14k Triads
THE WO SHING WO
AND LATER THEY DISCOVERED THE TAIWANESE TABLE MOUNTAIN GANG:
THE TRADITIONAL TRIAD HIERARCHY:
EXPORTATION OF ILLEGAL COMMODITIES:
The SAPS retrieved information uncovering their syndicate from Cape Town to Johannesburg to Durban carrying Abalone, counterfeit goods, synthetic drug precursors, guns, human beings, diamonds and Rhino horn.
The majority of illegal goods are not exported through sea ports but across uncontrolled borders and on unlogged air flights.
They fly undetected in low altitude below radar detection.
Abalone was also detected for exportation at international airports during night time when security was low at Lanseria, Polokwane and Nelspruit.
Once the goods crosses the border where no law protects it and we have no jurisdiction they get away with it.
For several generations the relationship between the coastal colored communities and the ocean has been a deeply political one.
Fish use to be free for everyone.At the beginning of Apartheid there were was no employment available so everyone were fishermen.
The Apartheid government stopped them from going into the sea.
The transition to democracy carried a Universal expectation to reclaim their birthright to harvest the ocean.
The colored communities were deeply suspicious of the unbanned ANC and they voted overwhelmingly for the National Party hoping that their fears of an African majority government would not realize.
These fears and expectations were prosperous for Abalone.
In ‘96 and ‘97 half the schools were empty and entire communities were helping each other to harvest Abalone.
In the 90’s one KG of Abalone cost R 65. Today a well cured KG of Abalone can fetch up to R 4500 keeping the trade incredibly tempting. Especially when there is no other source of income.
In the Western Cape, on average, 20 percent of school-going youth are actively using crystal meth.
At the Cape Town Drug Counseling Centre, 60 percent of our clients are tik users, followed by dagga and heroin.
According to official figures, at least 250 000 people in the province are now addicted to the drug.
A shocking 36 percent of these are teenagers
In some cases, users as young as six years old have been identified.
HOW DID I COME ABOUT THE TITLE? WHY CALL IT IRIDESCENCE?
“The context within which color unfurls its rainbow of symbolism and emotion is history itself.” PANTONE
Something that is IRIDESCENT changes the color Spectrum as you change your point of view.
The angle of my Direction I want to take is to use the camera and portray all the different points of view that the cultures involved justify themselves for the things that they do in order to survive.
For example, the coastal colored communities believe that it’s their birthright to harvest the oceans and it is their only means of survival in taking care of their families.
From an Asian point of view there's a lot of traditional symbolism in their consumption of Abalone.They consume Abalone on special occasions like the end of the lunar cycle on their calendar when they celebrate their New Year for a full 15 days.
The Chinese culture enjoy playing with words and symbols. They like to use homonyms(words that have the same pronunciation with different meanings).
The names of dishes and ingredients they serve sound similar to words and phrases referring to wishes expressed during the Chinese New Year while other foods hold a more symbolic meaning.
The abalone ("bao yu" meaning "sure of surplus") is a popular dish with Chinese businessmen while Abalone (sea snail; 鳆; fù) means definite good fortune
The offerings of food is used as a prayer or a wish to ancestors and other beings such as the Jade Emperor and The Kitchen God.
This tradition serves to bring ancestors and other beings in the world closer to oneself.
They perceive the food offerings to serve as a bonding tool to combine both worlds together.
I think it is important to understand different cultures and their reasoning for their beliefs and survival.
As a filmmaker I feel it is my responsibility to communicate and raise awareness about those who abuse; poison and destroy the very thing that gives them their culture and beliefs.
Some of them are killing the very thing that they claim to be their birthright.
It is highly volatile subject matter to take responsibility for.We urge you to help communicate these perceptions to the best of our abilities.
I am not asking you for your money, instead I am offering you to be a part of this project and help us to create something radical with meaning and purpose.
My value and my currency lies within Art as I believe it is and has always been the Canonic Catalyst to cause a New Wave in the Perception of the Collective Consciousness.
I want the Rainbow Nation to refract and reflect its color so that it can outshine the Illusions of Greed, Poverty and Hunger.
This has to do with how we look and react in that split second between the subject and the object at hand.
“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” ― Ansel Adams