the fish traps

Stone-walled tidal fish traps (fish traps or vywers, in Afrikaans) are a well-known feature of the Western Cape Coastline, especially along the Indian ocean.

Constructed from dry-packed stones, the structures become submerged at high tide enabling the fish to swim into the traps.  When the water has receded, the fish in effect are corralled in the pond that remains after the tide has receded.  The fish would then be gathered up, netted, speared or otherwise collected by the “operators” of this technique of fishing.

The fish traps are old, considered to have been used and constructed by the Khoe-San people between 2 000 and 3 000 years ago.  Though no longer in use, the fish traps are still clearly visible at Kanon.

The fish traps at Kanon remain one of the few real remaining links to the indigenous peoples that once inhabited the area.  These fish traps have existed here for my entire life, and that of my father and of his father before him.  We’ve walked and wondered and jogged passed those piles of rocks so often; over so many years….

And so, it is the ultimate form of recognition; of appreciation and humble homage, that Roger Johnson’s dream of Khoekhoen has finally taken shape.  Quietly nestled in the dunes, behind the fish traps, alongside Kanon.