MICHAEL CHARTON

Our purpose is to make the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of our past more accessible. It is based on a firm belief that history, when viewed without political incentive, carries untapped powers of guidance and healing.

My life took an unorthodox turn as a 20-year-old accounting student at Stellenbosch University, with the realisation that I understood very little about the South African story. 

Accordingly, on completing my articles in 2004, I made the decision to study history. A pursuit which opened my eyes to both the complexities and characters rolled up into the South African story, but also to the insight that many South Africans, like myself, were struggling to piece the South African story together.

Armed with that simple insight, I began to ponder means by which to make South African history more accessible. A challenge over which I marinated for more than a decade, whilst embarking on a financial career. However, by 2015, these ideas were sufficiently precise and so (carrying all the reckless confidence of a dreamer) I made the decision to exit my corporate career and found Inherit South Africa (Pty) Ltd.

This context is central to understanding both this business and my stories. For my role is not that of historian. Instead, my energy is invested in transforming our accumulated human knowledge and wisdom (often catching dust on bookshelves) into fresh formats which are more accessible to people living in the modern world.

At the forefront of these formats has been the craft of storytelling: that age-old human art, which explores characters and relationships in order to tease out meaningful human truths.

My first project was to be an ambitious story through which I hoped to reveal some of the important nuances in the South African story. By then I had a firm idea of how the story (subsequently called “MY FATHER’S COAT”) would be structured. I sat down to write it in July 2015, believing it would be ready by the end of the year. 

Twenty-two months later and a lot of sweat and frustration (although also moments of great inspiration) I was finally ready to release this story to market. 

Sitting in one of my very earliest audiences was Kathryn Ponting. Something in the story appealed to her, and with experience in both hospitality and eventing, she offered to organise a public show in order to showpiece the story. That event would prove to be a pivotal moment for us. And with significant interest following, Kathryn joined Inherit South Africa: running the operation and allowing me to focus on reading and writing. 

Kathryn is meticulous and understands what works best for my stories. But above all, she has helped shape the idea that our enterprise should mirror the human values we aspire to: warm, understated, and principled

Inherit SA has now delivered more than 300 performances and our trajectory points to a positive future. We have pipeline of exciting projects (and stories) which we believe could be very meaningful.

Thanks for your interest. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.

KATHRYN PONTING