In 2011 Michael Charton then stumbled upon the untold story of the 1937 Springbok rugby team: a group of men who lived in a fascinating time and whose legacy holds far more gravitas than which can be retained in a set of chalk lines.
But in 2010, following an unorthodox project for an advertising client, Michael began telling stories.
This story proved to be a success and he has told the story to audiences around the country to overwhelmingly positive reviews.
By 2015, Michael had developed and told a number of original, non-fiction stories all of which drew inspiration from South Africa’s unique history. An interest which, having qualified as an accountant, Michael had then studied through UNISA.
With these foundations laid, Michael Charton – Conference Speaker made the decision to embark on his most ambitious project to date. To write and tell a story which, while remaining true to the art of storytelling, manages to unearth the key dynamics of South African history in a manner which appeals to the heart.
This story would prove to be a monumental challenge, which saw Michael Charton resign his role as a financial director and ply 18 months of his life researching and developing.
The result was acclaimed story, MY FATHER’S COAT.
A story which has found considerable acclaim and set Michael up to expand his project into a company called INHERIT SOUTH AFRICA, which aims, through a number of projects, to make South African history more accessible to both our people and visitors.
MY FATHER’S COAT – Five Men and the Great Story of South Africa
MY FATHER’S COAT is the realisation of Michael Charton’s decade-long ambition to make the incredible story, that is South African history, more accessible to our people.
To open the hearts of South Africans to our past, so that we may use our remarkable story no longer as a tool to inspire hatred and fear and division, but rather as a source of unity and healing.
Accordingly, Michael’s idea was to condense the epic narrative of South Africa into a bite-size story which is both compelling and balanced.
A project which would prove to be a colossal, time-consuming challenge, but one which has ultimately given rise to a very unique product, providing order and meaning to a notoriously complex subject.
But importantly, this is no history lecture. Instead, this is just a story.
A human story, told by climbing into the boots of five prominent and directly interlinked protagonists spanning 200 turbulent years: Mzilikazi, Kruger, Rhodes, Smuts and Mandela.
So, while historians actively try to eliminate the biases so prevalent in our story; Michael embraces them. And as Michael Charton introduces you to each of his five characters, he allows them to lure you under their spell by subtly endorsing their beliefs and biases.
But, with the introduction of each subsequent character, new insights are carefully leaked into the narrative, undermining previous biases and providing a new depth of understanding; until a layered and more balanced view of our complex past is gradually revealed.
Further, and because the lives of these characters overlapped, Michael Charton finds unique opportunities to tell the same pivotal moments in the story through more than one set of eyes; so providing a powerful reminder of our heavy biases as well as the absurdity of some of our historic attitudes.
Those attitudes ultimately responsible for South Africa’s catastrophic 20th century.
Indeed, this is a unique life experience: An opportunity to reflect on our unique past and to celebrate the fascinating peoples with whom we all share this complex country.
Never before has our past been explored in this manner.
THE FIRST WORLD CHAMPIONS – The Untold Story of the Legendary 1937 Springboks
Michael stumbled upon the quite remarkable story of the 1937 Springboks in an old Cape Town bookstore.
And being both a rugby fan and a passionate historian, he was amazed that he had never heard about this story before.
Inspired, Michael Charton proceeded to scour the photo albums and scrapbooks of these old Springboks over the next 18 months.
A process which opened his eyes to a set of amazing anecdotes: their remarkable relationship with the Maori people; the Springbok’s last Zulu “Haka,” a young Jewish star who would later make his way into Hitler’s bunker; and the antics of a famous gentleman-thug: Boy Louw. Stories offering a rare glimpse into the beauty of the human spirit.
Then, following a strange sequence of events, his obscure passion for this tour evolved into a talk, which Michael has subsequently delivered for select audiences around the country, to consistently outstanding feedback.
The story weaves together a few of the key characters of this tour. It unlocks the context behind the special old rivalry between the All Blacks and the Springboks; it celebrates rugby’s amateur era together with its associated gentlemanly conduct; and it re-introduces to the world a group of men who sacrificed in both peace and war.
This is a story where sportsmanship and value systems leap at you through its characters, reminding one, through an emotional sense of nostalgia, what is truly important in life and legacy.