A C.V. OF SORTS
Samten de Wet
(Andre Michael de Wet.)
40 Cogill Road, Wynberg, Cape Town 7800.
P.O.Box 15438, Vlaeberg, Cape Town, South Africa 8018.
Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 15th November, 1946.
12 years at Victoria Park Junior and High Schools.
Two years at the Art School, Port Elizabeth Technical College.
Johannesburg School of Art - studied for a N.A.T.D. (National Art Teachers Diploma) specialising in History of Art, Painting, Art Education for Children. Deeply influenced by Joyce Leonard. Course interrupted by Navy (9 months) ; and finally abandoned in 3rd Year due to turbulence against the intrusion of State educational system.
1969 - Moved to Cape Town and worked as a Children's Librarian - including 3 years as Librarian for Children - Brooklyn.
1970 - Knysna - Settled in one of the first hippie communes in Knysna - and thereafter a commune in de Smidt Street, Cape Town.
Started work with The Tibetan Friendship Group at ‘Watersedge’.
1972 - The visit of Sister Palmo (Ven. Gelongma K.K.Palmo - ex: Mrs Freda Bedi) resulted in my embracing Buddhism. Started to assist Sister Palmo in the establishment of Tibetan Buddhist Centres in South Africa.
1972 - With Ralph Brooks and a Team, organised the first New Age Festival - Kettley’s Festival of Light - in Milnerton.
1974/75 - Received ordination as a Gelong (Buddhist monk) in Copenhagen from His Holiness Ranjung Rigpe Dorje, the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. Travelled through Europe for three months as part of the entourage of The Karmapa. Cambridge, London, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Paris, Turin, Milan and accompanied Sister Palmo and the Karmapa to Rome, where they had an audience with H.H. the Pope (an event that I did not attend!). Spent three years as a Buddhist monk, travelled extensively in Europe, the America's, India and Nepal.
1976 - Invitation to attend Teachings in California - travelled via South America - Argentine, Lima and Cuzco in Peru. New York - where I met Lex Hixon, Ravishankar, and performed a Green Tara Puja for guest of honour, Ram Das (Richard Alpert), London, and Rome - where I met Krishnamurti. Returned to South Africa after the Soweto June 16th Uprising.
1978/79 in India and Nepal - attended initiations and Teachings in Himachal Pradesh, went on Pilgrimage to Benares, Bodh Gaya, visited the Karmapa for the last time in Rumtek, Sikkim, met H.E. Tai Situ in Sherab Ling - and performed various activities on behalf of the Tibetan Friendship Group and Karma Kagyu Centres in South Africa.
1980’s Various visits to Europe.
1981 - London, assisted in cultural networking for H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche in London, introducing Rinpoche to Yoshi Oida, Jim Henson (The Muppet Man), Dalu Jones, Raimonda Buitoni etc. Amsterdam, Italy.
1984 - 1985. Two years in Europe - London, Amsterdam, Turin etc.
1985 - Set up a cross-cultural centre at the Cape Town Art Centre, which evolved, via some struggle into a cultural centre for the Domestic Workers Union.
From 1989 - 1995 commuted between Cape Town, Johannesburg, Amsterdam, London and Italy - usually spending no more than six months in each place.
Inter-disciplinary, cross-cultural Work including Theatre, Performance Art, Art Teaching etc. Staring from a child, I won two diploma’s for singing, and various art prizes; designed children’s ballet as a teenager. I helped with set painting as an Art student in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg; did props for the first ‘Sizwe Banze is Dead’ by Athol Fugard; danced in ‘Dance Theatre Contemporain’ Opera House, Port Elizabeth; hung out at the early phases of ‘The People’s Space’ in Cape Town, and ‘The Market Theatre’ in Johannesburg; Performance Pieces at Jazzart, Backstage; Roodehek Gallery (with David Krugel, John Simons, Louise Norton et al. And other private venues. Many main magazine launches in Clubs such as The Base, Indaba, The Junction. More recently taught a silk-screen course at Katlehong Art Centre in Germiston. Have set up various silk-screen co-operatives over the years and printed and hand painted fabrics and clothes have been worn by musicians (Johnny Clegg, P.J. Powers, Peto, Ringo, Asazi etc. Styled for the Advertising Industry.
1996 - Lecture for the Gauteng Jung Centre and The Theosophical Society in Johannesburg. Public Lecture in East London on Dream Symbolism.
1997 March - The Meta-xeroxed Altar - Exhibition at Gallery Mau Mau, Cape Town.
April Four Part series of Talks with Images on Venus, Beauty and Aesthetics, at Cafe Ganesh, Observatory, Cape Town.
1997 Johannesburg, London and Prague Conference on Alchemy. Projects in Turin, Italy.
1998 - Cultural Networking and Research in Amsterdam. Settled in Cape Town for a six month period of work June to December 1998. Lecture at The Theosophical Society on ‘Esoteric Symbolism in Renaissance Art’. Workshops up until December 1998.
Interviews and photographs have appeared over the years in The Rand Daily Mail, The Port Elizabeth Evening Post, The Port Elizabeth Herald, Die Burger, The Daily Dispatch (East London), South (Cape Town) - and others long since forgotten or lost, or both.
1997 - Radio interview - ‘In The Pink’ - eight minutes, Bush Radio, Cape Town.
1998 - Radio Interview - SaFm - Women Today, on 'The Goddess.'
First published a long poem called ‘The Temptation of Saint Anthony’ in an early edition of CLASSIC, then under the Editorship of the late Barney Simon. Poems also appeared in VEER, (University of Port Elizabeth), WURM (Editor Phil du Plessis) - SECOND AEON, Editor Peter Finch, published with assistance of the Arts Council of Wales, Cardiff, and material in two literary Journals in Australia and New Zealand - resources lost, and others in South Africa that I cannot remember either.
Over the years I have printed and circulated a wide variety of creative writings amongst friends - one text was used in a Performance Piece by Students of Michaelis Drama School, University of Cape Town, at The Base. The bulk remains my own collection of Desk Drawer Literature.
RESEARCH - The Lapis Project.
30 years research into visual symbolic systems, especially Hermetic, Alchemical, Emblem books.I have been gathering material over the past few years - documenting and researching in European Libraries - and placing a great deal of material onto computer hard disc, with the result that there are some 15,000 pages of unpublished material, an extensive archive of photostatted articles, illustrations, visual resources and thousands of slides, plus extensive database bibliographies, and addresses. There is social nature to this work - because there is an extensive exchange of information, usually through private correspondence.
Though over the past 25 years there has emerged a network of friends engaged in this Work - sometimes this has not only been a co-operation between individuals and groups, but also involved organisational structures, i.e. co-operative arrangements between social bodies. Hopefully this material will also be poured into the World Wide Web, where hundreds if not thousands, of similar cybersites are open.
Current Research on the Hermetic transmission from Ptolomaic Egypt into Islamic Neo-Platonic movements during the Asbbasid and Ummayad Dynasties, through to Islamic Spain and hence to Europe.
Ongoing work on History and Symbolism of the Tarot in Europe, The British Library and main Libraries in Italy.
Presently - documenting and preparing material from the Internet - on various esoteric transmissions.
Started publishing in April 1972 - 25 years ago - a quarter of a century. During this period a erratic stream of small magazines were produced with the dedicated help of many friends and subscribers.
The Children of Atlantis was the first effort, followed by contributions and co-operative work with The Tibetan Friendship Newsletter, which then evolved into ‘The Bodhisattva Path’ later to be followed by 17 issues of Maitri. Further developments resulted in The Lapis Project , Pax Cultura - - and eventually Indlovu . A complete Archive of these publications can be consulted - and most of the material is on deposit for research at The South African Library in Cape Town.
UROBOROS, a new informal sector Journal (i.e. photostatted) launched in Cape Town on June 21st 1998 with a Goddess Issue, and second issue on The Western Esoteric Tradition..
‘Yantra and Synchronicity’ The Co-operator, Los Angeles;
‘The Serpent Lineage’, The Hermetic Journal, Edinburgh, 1986; and
‘Some Notes on Mining Mythology’, Essay in ‘De Re Metalica’, CIDEM, Turin, 1994.
Privately circulated: ‘Ye Voice of Birds’ The Hermetic Transmission and Sir Isaac Newton, London, 1986 - which was commissioned by the late Kenny McBain.
Various Projects published directly on the Internet - e.g. the Hypnerotomachia Poliphilo Project.
LECTURES AND WORKSHOPS
Hundreds of lectures, groups and workshops over the past 25 years. Noteworthy, two lectures at an International Congress on Re-Incarnation in Milan, lectures for the Meditation Group FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome; lecture on ‘The Mandala Principle, Galleria l’Atico, Rome, organised by Princess Topazia Alliata. YANTRA Workshops in Turin and Johannesburg; lectures for the Theosophical Society in Europe and South Africa; two seminars with the Fiamma Group, a informal gathering of eleven Jungian psychologists in Milan and Varese; lectures at Centro Logos, Fonte Aquariano, Universita Pitagorica, Studio Erica Olivetti, Centro Piramide, and Milan Politicnico in Italy, ArteOLtre, Turin - amongst others.
Five lectures on The Mandala for The Centre of Continuing Education, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Organised ‘Ways to the Centre Exhibition’ The Annex, South African National Gallery. &c.