Stories of human trials and triumphs never go out of vogue, and mesmerising storyteller extraordinaire Rob Caskie, with his walking stick and trademark shorts, brings them alive like no other. Often in the settings where such stories unfolded, in South Africa and abroad. In a world of instant gratification, the art of a powerfully told story belongs to few and relies on he who stirs the imagination. Most interested in how people behave when challenged and under pressure, he believes we only reveal our true strength in adversity – and he shows audiences how they can draw on this to thrive in uncertain times.
Rob’s new keynote, ‘Engaging Intuition’, takes the familiar concept of ‘Ubuntu’, or interconnectedness, and repurposes it for today’s audiences. While times may have changed, the virtues of goodness, positivity, intuition and sharing are perhaps more important than ever in South Africa – and Rob brings a message of hope into boardrooms and conference venues. Suggesting that it is interconnectedness that makes the world go around, he shares stories of greatness, diversity and generosity that will reach the hearts of even the most cynical audiences.
Rob excels in crafting lessons from some of the greatest historic tales available. These lessons focus primarily on leadership, choice, victory and defeat. Using his skills as a tour guide, Rob brings immediacy and passion to his keynotes, knowing just which messages to deliver to inspire, to create change or to entertain.
Importantly, Rob can modify content in such a way that it speaks to an event’s theme or a client’s objective – whatever the occasion, he delivers an important message in an accessible, engaging fashion.
Who would ever have imagined that sharing experiences about solo motorcycle journeys at university would lead to a career in storytelling?
I began sharing stories professionally in 2000, honing a unique talent for storytelling on the Anglo Zulu War battlefields. Bringing the drama of battlefields to life led to international speaking engagements. My subject matter has expanded considerably, always essentially human stories. There is a powerful thread of intuition and interconnectedness, directed at the better angels in our natures, which resonates so powerfully with audiences today.
Born in 1966, with a background in agriculture, wildlife safari guiding, photography and travel, telling stories professionally was a magnificent and significant change in direction. Extensive travelling across Africa and around the world for four unbroken years cemented my interest in people, cultures and history creating clear views on our interconnectedness.
I now have regular engagements at conferences / dinners and work as a specialist lecturer on Antarctic expedition ships. All of which make for a wonderfully fulfilling vocation, entertaining audiences in the theatres of their imaginations.
With stick and trademark shorts, I pride myself in positive, unique storytelling and do not rely on electronic or visual aids – “when the lights trip, Rob does not”!
As a storyteller, I share human stories and behavior, particularly in the most challenging circumstances. Lessons in intuition, interconnectedness and human endeavor will positively challenge the way you interact, work and lead your life. In this age of entertainment overload, when last were you offered the opportunity of being entertained in the theatre of your imagination via the powers of great stories well told?
Storytelling is a specific structure of narrative with a specific style and characters which includes a sense of completeness. Through sharing of past experiences, I use stories to pass on accumulated wisdom, beliefs and values. Stories are the building blocks of knowledge, the foundation of memory, enquiry and learning. Stories connect us with our humanness and link past, present and future by teaching us to anticipate the possible consequences of our actions.
Storytelling emerges from the interaction and co-operative, coordinated efforts between myself and an audience – what a privileged vocation.
This exciting new keynote focusses on intuition and the important role it plays in our daily lives. With much of our interaction being determined by intuition, along with daily decisions, its role is often underestimated. Our pineal gland, or ‘the third eye’, determines much of what we do subconsciously and strongly influences the better natures in our angels.
Using human stories and challenging circumstances, this talk will shift your views on intuition, and ultimately on interconnectedness.
To quote Rudyard Kipling :
‘If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too’
Yes, engaging our intuition can make a special and positive difference in our daily lives, work and relationships.
DESCRIPTIONS OF STORIES
Storytelling may seem like an old-fashioned tool, today – and it is. That’s exactly what makes it so powerful. Life happens in the narratives we tell one another. A story can go where quantitative analysis is denied admission: our hearts. Data can persuade people, but it does not inspire them to act; to do that, you need to wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul.
When you want to motivate, persuade, or be remembered, start with a story of human struggle and eventual triumph. It will capture people’s hearts – by first attracting their brains.
The important role intuition plays in our daily lives
Using a wealth of fantastic human stories, Rob explores the role intuition may have played historically, and how it may be engaged positively to Life today. Did Black South African soldiers feel something was going to go wrong with SS Mendi crossing the English Channel in February 1917? Their response to tragedy will make you weep. The Mendi is one of many extraordinary stories used in this engaging presentation.
MEDLEY OF SOUTH AFRICAN HISTORY
A romp through the last 200 years
This young country has a fascinating and complex history. This story deals with early inhabitants and the arrival of the Nguni people. One of them became the military genius Shaka, with major implications. Religious persecution and poor standards of living result in a miscellany of Europeans arriving in the Cape after 1652. British rule, taxation and slavery eventually leads to the Great Trek. Along with the discovery of diamonds and gold, it creates a kaleidoscope of characters and intrigue worth sharing.
The Battle of Isandlwana, 22nd January 1879. British defeat or Zulu victory?
Scarcely 10 days after the invasion of Zululand began, disaster struck at Isandlwana. Whilst Lord Chelmsford was away with 60% of the force in search of the main Zulu Army, the remaining force of 1 800 British soldiers was overwhelmed by 25 000 Zulu warriors. Imagine the courage of facing modern rifles with spear and shield? In less than 2 hours more than 1 300 British soldiers lay dead in what some view as the greatest military defeat the British suffered at the hand of a native army in their entire colonial history.
The battle of Rorke’s Drift, 22nd /23rd January 1879. An account of this epic defence against impossible odds
Who would ever have conceived that a force of roughly 4 000 Zulu warriors would immediately run on from Isandlwana to attack Rorke’s Drift some 10 miles away? At Rorke’s Drift, comprising of little more than a makeshift hospital and a store, the desperate British soldiers prepared a barricade 4 feet high, built of mielie bags and awaited the Zulu onslaught. A fierce battle then waged for almost 10 hours; 139 British soldiers held out against the 4 000 Zulus. This remarkable battle saw the award of 11 Victoria Crosses and 5 Distinguished Conduct Medals, immortalised by the classic 1964 movie “Zulu”.
THE RACE TO THE POLE
Viking versus Brit revisited
By mid-1910 the race to be first to the South Pole had intensified after Shackleton’s ‘furthest South’ in 1909. Robert Scott (Royal Navy) believed he would be first, but found himself facing supreme Polar explorer, Roald Amundsen from Norway. In this presentation Amundsen’s preparation, previous experience and planning are discussed, along with his expert use of dogs. Amundsen reached the South Pole on 14 December 1911 – Scott followed 34 days later on 17 January 1912. In a fantastic duel, the Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, took the prize. The story contrasts Amundsen and Scott, ending starkly with the death of Scott’s entire polar party.
GOING SOUTH WITH SCOTT & SHACKLETON
Portrayal of 2 Polar greats
This presentation initially takes the audience to the South Pole with Scott’s party of 5 in January 1912, and the tragic deaths of all the men en route ‘home’. Did they die psychologically when they found Amundsen had beaten them to the Pole by 34 days?
Scott’s Antarctic rival, Ernest Shackleton is then discussed in detail – his ship crushed by ice, and 28 men living on the ice for 16 months before their extraordinary leader sails 1200km across the Southern Ocean to get help from South Georgia. Epics of human struggle and triumphs of the human spirit.
ENDURANCE : SHACKLETON’S WAY
Greatest leadership and survival story of all time
This business oriented presentation highlights Ernest Shackleton’s remarkable leadership principles, his choice and organisation of teams and how he always believed in a positive outcome despite dire circumstances. The central story regards the crushing of the ship Endurance by ice, leaving 28 men afloat on a sea of ice for 16 months, and then Shackleton’s 1200 km journey in a lifeboat across the Southern Ocean to get help. This presentation details remarkable lessons regarding preparation, experience, ingenuity and good fortune.
THE ALLURE OF THE ARCTIC NORTH
Tragedy of Naval hero Franklin and contrasting claims
Who would have thought that the North West Passage would claim Franklin and 128 of Britain’s finest along with their ships between 1845 and 1847. Amundsen would be the first through the fabled passage and then turned his attention south when Cook and Peary claimed to have reached the North Pole. Along with Nansen the history and the intrigue of the Arctic region is spell binding.
THE SUDAN CAMPAIGN 1880 ~ 1898
Islam versus Christianity
By 1880 the Sudan, ravaged by slavery and exploitation by foreigners, was ripe for revolt. A local Islamic tribesman, believing he was a descendant of Mohammed himself, became The Mahdi – The Guided One. Arabi’s War in Egypt provided the opportunity and diversion. By 1883 the Sudan was in open revolt, led by the Mahdi and his Dervishes. Britain was split in terms of response given, leading to the siege of Khartoum and the death of General C.G. Gordon and 30 000 people. Spectacular battles were fought, in which the Dervishes broke the British Square on 3 occasions. Eventually in the greatest feat of Arms in Africa since the Crusades, Kitchener smashed the Dervishes at Omdurman in 1898.