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 doesn’t 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.
Since 2004, I have presented extensively in the United Kingdom and South Africa to both corporate and private clients. My achievements were recognised with the honour of being invited to speak at the Royal Geographic Society in London to full houses.
I believe there are powerful lessons to be learnt from the remarkable stories of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift, which resonate especially with audiences today. I also regularly present on Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton, along with a keynote presentation titled ‘Endurance: Shackleton’s way’. This talk highlights Shackleton’s unique leadership, choice of personnel and always believing in a positive outcome.
Always confident with people, I thrive on the challenge and reward of entertaining audiences in the theatres of their imagination and transporting them via the power of a story well told.
I pride myself in unique storytelling and do not rely on electronic or visual aids – ‘when the lights trip, Rob does not’!
From the battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal to the broken boards of Maritzburg College and the Antarctic, Rob is at home (in shorts) in the wildest of environments.
Rob's newly published book "A Day on the Anglo Zulu Battlefields" and upgraded DVD are now available. Please use the contact form to order.
Your ability to tell a story with no IT assistance is quite unique in this day and age
Rob Caskie is an experience and his passion and knowledge is mind-boggling.
Rob offers private talks, public talks and battlefield tours (shorts included).
Keynote presentations providing wonderful entertainment, whilst highlighting invaluable lessons from Isandlwana, Rorke's Drift or Shackleton's Endurance Expedition. Enthralling lessons from yesteryear told as an unforgettable story.
Issues of leadership, choice of personnel, communication, disengagement, use of resource, amongst others in history are shared by way of stories, intending to assist businesses with these factors today. Effective speaking and presentation skills workshops also offered.
Rob offers personalised tours to Isandlwana, Rorke's Drift, Spioenkop, Colenso and Sani Pass, amongst others. A wonderful extension of what is offered in the boardroom and truly memorable. Rob regularly assists visitors planning KwaZulu Natal itineraries.
Schools and charities regularly employ Rob's unique story-telling for fundraising events, or simply to share an historic tale with the scholars. Many UK events fall into this category.
Monday, 18th May
The Battle of Rorke's Drift
Morden College, London
Tickets: Bill Heelan, 02080 463 08340
Tuesday, 19th May
The Battle of Rorke's Drift
East India Club, London
Tickets: Alex Bray
Friday, 22nd May
The Battle of Rorke's Drift
Cumnor House School, Danehill, Haywards Heath
Tickets: Matt Mockridge
Saturday, 30th May
The Battle of Rorke's Drift
Drake Hall, Amersham Community Centre
Tickets: Tony Glyn-Jones
Monday, 1st June
The Allure of the North
New Club, Edinburgh
Tickets: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0131 226 4881
Tuesday, 2nd June
The Race to the Pole
The Boathouse, Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk
Tickets: Smokesilver Travel, 07977 241 365
Wednesday, 3rd June
Going South with Scott & Shackleton
Epperstone Village Hall, Nottingham NG14 6AY
Tickets: Helen Nall, 0115096603634
The past 10 days has been exciting and fulfilling in equal measure. Staying with an old school friend of my mother's in Surrey provided opportunity to see Pirates of Penzance, performed by an enthusiastic, all-male cast, walk through Bluebells in the woods, and watch Mandarin Wood Ducks on local waters. These beautiful waterfowl are not found in the UK, but clearly the result of escapees. Their numbers have increased exponentially - I saw many on the Serpentine in Hyde Park yesterday. May month in an English garden is truly memorable, with flowers blooming in profusion, and all the trees coming into full leaf. A local tour operator invited me to speak on early Antarctic exploration at Kettner's in Soho. We hope their special clients choose a trip to Antarctica. Legend has it that a secret underground passage provided access to theatres in the West End, for various dalliances. This magnificent London institution provides its patrons with superb food and service, in cool, airy surroundings - a special treat in London. I was fortunate enough to speak at a private residence on Pelham Crescent, South Kensington. Exquisite residences fronted by a beautiful park. Getting the dog back home proved challenging after he found the local fox den in the undergrowth. Feral foxes in London somehow survive this urban jungle very well. Shepherd-Neame Brewery in Faversham Kent, the oldest brewery in England, invited me to speak on Scott and Shackleton at their event. I learnt more about beer in one night, than I imagined possible. Every course was paired with a beer, much like wine-pairing, with a brewer describing the beer and the connection. With lots of ex-rugby players, golf club managers, and publicans present, it was a great evening accentuated by fine beers. They have brewed beer on that site every day since 1573 - an achievement I believe they should be justifiably proud of. We discussed the quality of the water delivered by their artesian well, in the middle of the brewery. There is no doubt that the quality of the beer is directly dependent on the quality of the water, like Coca-Cola created with water from Mzima Springs.
After considerable frustrations with the changed Emirates schedule out of Durban, and onwards to London, I thankfully arrived late Wednesday afternoon. A box of my Battlefield DVD's, marked Fragile, arrived in pristine condition. Quite a difference to arriving in Lagos, it may be said. My first engagement was speaking for an estate agency conference at the Hurlingham Club. Those familiar with Hurlingham will understand when I mention that eyebrows could be heard knitting as I walked in dressed in shorts, carrying my stick. Clearly the members believed I had strayed off the Thames path onto their hallowed turf, best known for polo and croquet. I weaved the theme of Pursuit of Excellence into my stories, and reminded top-end estate agents that even theirs is essentially a business about human beings. Notwithstanding the immense responsibility they bear in dealing with most individuals' largest asset purchase. It was a wonderful opportunity, and I hope my presentation met their expectations. The saying goes that "Those tired of London are tired of Life". It is an incredible place, albeit very different with some pennies in one's pocket as opposed to visits years ago as a backpacker. I love watching cars, the likes of which are absent or at best uncommon back home. Best of all is the people watching. Cheek by jowl folks from all over the world go about their daily business, in London for a myriad reasons.
With glorious autumnal weather and trees changing colour, what a great time to enjoy the outdoors. Some local folks asked me to share Anglo-Boer War history on the Tugela line, so after visiting the Churchill capture site, we moved across to Clouston. In the shade of a beautiful Paperbark Acacia, we discussed the background in South Africa's history leading up to the outbreak of this unfortunate war in October 1899. It is always so gratifying to see the recognition of school history condensed into a more digestible package. The horrors of Colenso, the loop in the Tugela and the loss of Long's guns makes for a sobering tour. After a roadside picnic, we proceeded up onto Spioenkop for the afternoon. How does one adequately, appropriately share what transpired in that acre of massacre in January 1900? So many misconceptions still exist about the hill itself, the British trench, and the Boer positions. With stunning views towards the Drakensberg, and central KZN, even talk of the Berg and Bush MTB event could not erase the melancholy produced by this most bloody of battles. Joubert's fall from his horse catapulted 37 year-old Louis Botha to stardom, and what an incredible war time leader he turned out to be. A couple of British guests asked us to take them to Umfolozi-Hluhluwe game reserve. Despite SAA losing one bag, and having to courier it to Nyalazi Gate, we arrived in time to enjoy elephant, rhino and buffalo the moment we entered the reserve. In the tents at Mpila, hyenas provided much enjoyment, after the initial shock expressed by our guests at their familiarity. The roads remain appalling, and one cannot help feeling it would be best if the tar were removed, and the entire park return to gravel roads? Drivers are compelled to watch for potholes, rather than look for game. I commented on this previously, but the lack of antelope species is particularly concerning. Are there too many predators, or is it normal to see more rhino than kudu or impala in Umfolozi? With rhino deaths now exceeding rhino births, the entire situation demands careful new thinking. Our efforts to protect the rhino clearly are NOT working.
It is almost inconceivable that we are already at the end of April, much of our beloved country desperate for rain, and dam levels low. That this be the cycle of life brings little comfort - parts of KZN experiencing their worst drought in 80 years. I was fortunate enough to be invited by Brett Hulett to do a talk about Isandlwana at Brettenwood in Umhlali. Having hoped for 100 guests, 200 turned up in what turned out to be a sublime evening. The event was moved to their outdoor amphitheatre. Young, local Zulus opened proceedings with wonderful drumming and dancing. To present Isandlwana out of doors on a calm, starry evening was a special privilege. My 60-minute slot quickly became 90, whilst the audience enjoyed a drink - even the kids were quiet. Beautifully organised by Nikki Chennells, speaking at such events is a pleasure. Some dear American guests who have toured with me before, returned with members of their family. We drove up together from Hilton for a lovely day at Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift. John's "lost in translation" story brought the house down. One day at Steers, they ordered take-out meals. He requested no sauce on his cheeseburger, apparently making it clear "just cheese". There was some confusion at the counter, and his burger duly arrived. Try to imagine his disappointment, when back on the road, he opened his burger to find the buns with a piece of cheese?! Clearly blessed with a great sense of humour and temperance, his grandson admitted placing a live fresh-water shrimp in his glass of red wine. John finished the wine, to find with some surprise, a live shrimp in the bottom of his glass. I guess, different strokes for different folks. What a treat to have Americans relishing our history. I hope they will be back, delightful folks.
For bookings and enquiries, you may use the form below, or phone Rob on +27 (0)82 4000 470