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Adrien Delmas, University of Cape Town
G. McCall Theal and the writing of an introduction to Bleek and Lloyd
Andrew Lamprecht, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town
Wilhelm Bleek’s Reynard the Fox in South Africa and its methodological basis: a precursor to the Specimens
‘People who are different’: alterity and the |xam texts
Benjamin Smith, Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand
The Porcupine’s father: |xam stories and non-San rock art
Carolyn Hamilton, University of Cape Town
The life of the archive
Chris Low, African studies, University of Oxford
Locating |xam beliefs and practices in a contemporary KhoeSan context
David Lewis-Williams, Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand The Impact of the Bleek & Lloyd Collection on Southern African Rock Art Research
David Morris, McGregor Museum, Kimberley
The place of oral literature and ethnography in the re-membering of a Northern Cape rock art site
Florian Lionnet, University of California, Berkeley
Lucy Lloyd’s !xun notebooks: towards an edition and linguistic analysis
Hedley Twidle, University of Cape Town
From The Origin of Language to a language of origin: a prologue to the Grey Collection
Helize van Vuuren, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
“Does the //gárraken flower open?”: postcolonial approaches to the extinct |xam culture
Hermann Wittenberg, University of the Western Cape
On narrative, culture and colonial censorship: the story of ||kabbo and “Reynard the Fox”
Isabel Hofmeyr, University of the Witwatersrand
Archives in Heaven
Janette Deacon, Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand
Jeremy Hollmann, KwaZulu-Natal Museum
|kaggen’s code: paintings of moths in southern Africa hunter-gatherer rock art
The Rock Art and Linguistic Researches of Dorothea Bleek
José de Prada Samper, University of Cape Town
The pictures of the |xam people are in their bodies’: presentiments, landscape and rock art in ||kabbo’s country
Marlene Winberg, University of Cape Town
Silent children of the archive: reading Lucy Lloyd and the !kun boys’ visual archive (1879-1881)
Mary Elizabeth Lange, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Storytelling and engravings, past and present: Biesje Poort, Northern Cape
Mathias Guenther, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada Megan Biesele, University of Texas, Austin
Dreams and Stories
||kabbo’s Legacy: San Heritage Conservation and Language Development Today
Menán du Plessis, University of Cape Town
One hundred years of the Specimens - a hundred years of academic neglect.
The first |xam man brings home a young lion: the story of a narrative
Understanding the !Ui-Taa language family’s sociolinguistic history in South Africa: putting the |xam informants in context
Nigel Penn, University of Cape Town
Child captives, ‘Bushman Labour’ and the destruction of the Cape San
Robert Thornton, University of the Witwatersrand
Bleek, ||kabbo, and the debate about the origin of language
Robyn Loughnane and Tom Güldemann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
The Bleek and Lloyd Collection: ||kabbo’s linguistic legacy
Sam Challis, Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand
Bushman herders of the Drakensberg: mixed raider-pastoralists in the 19th century.
Siyakha Mguni, Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand
The meerkats and ||kaggen’s arrows of fury: metaphors of sociality and antagonism in the southern San mythology and paintings
Sven Ouzman, Pre-colonial archaeology, Iziko South African Museum
The South African Museum as San Archive and as Artefact
Tanya Barben, University of Cape Town
Gathering wisdom: re-assembling Wilhelm Bleek’s library
PAPER ABSTRACTS Adrien Delmas, University of Cape Town G. McCall Theal and the writing of an introduction to Bleek and Lloyd Starting from the preface written by G. McCall Theal to Specimens of Bushman Folklore, this paper deals with the intent, at the turn of the 20th century, to gather the different historicities and chronologies of archeology, ethnography, linguistics, history etc into a coherent framework. Its concern is to propose a wider view of the different connections between these temporalities and the controversies they have provoked, not only in the case of Theal and a South African national history, but also before it (as far as from the 16th century or even earlier), and around him, i.e. in other parts of the world, especially the Americas.
Andrew Lamprecht, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town Wilhelm Bleek’s Reynard the Fox in South Africa and its methodological basis: a precursor to the Specimens I examine Wilhelm Bleek’s folkloric research with particular reference to his work Reynard the Fox in South Africa, within the context of his broader philological research. In many ways this work can be seen as a forerunner or model for the much larger and more ambitious Specimens of Bushman Folklore undertaken by Lucy Lloyd and published under his and her name in 1911. I look at how Bleek began his researches into Zulu folklore during his earliest period in South Africa and how his interest in Namaqua and other indigenous folklore was influenced by philological conventions developed in Europe, especially those of the Grimm brothers. I examine Bleek’s methodology, particularly in visual and bibliographical terms, as well as attempting to locate his practice in a broader terrain of European scholarship. This basis was amplified and extended by Lucy Lloyd in compiling the final version of Specimens, long after his death.
PAPER ABSTRACTS Anne Solomon ‘People who are different’: alterity and the |xam texts Interest in the /Xam and their testimonies turns both on their alterity and the way in which they allegedly speak of and to a shared humanity. It has been argued that research ‘aimed at vindicating and safeguarding the primitive or aboriginal Other from West-centered representational violence’ unavoidably reproduces it, while ‘celebration of the indigenous Others’ radical alterity only serves to redeem the modern Western self’. The corollary is that the alterity (or not) of the /Xam in current scholarship demands ongoing, reflexive critique. But what is that alterity? Enthusiasm for the / Xam aside, our understanding of ‘/Xam-ness’ still depends on limited exegesis of the / Xam testimonies themselves; this is a key issue in need of attention.
Benjamin Smith, Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand The Porcupine’s father: |xam stories and non-San rock art In the |xam kukummi, Porcupine is the adopted daughter of Mantis and Dassie. She and her adopted parents are the subjects of many |xam kukummi. This paper concerns a lesser discussed character in the family, the person said to be Porcupine’s biological father: ||khwai-hem. I consider three stories told by ||kabbo and |han≠kass’o concerning ||khwai-hem and try to find answers as to why a series of non-San rock paintings seem to depict him.
Carolyn Hamilton, University of Cape Town The life of the archive
PAPER ABSTRACTS Chris Low, African studies, University of Oxford Locating |xam beliefs and practices in a contemporary KhoeSan context Scholars have explored connections between the belief and practices of the /xam and northern Kalahari Bushmen, principally the Ju/’hoansi. In this paper I draw on my own fieldwork to cast the net wider across the Nama, Damara, Hai//om and ≠Khomani and examine how the /xam material might fit into what I have identified elsewhere as a KhoeSan healing grammar, rooted in long term continuities found at both a social and environmental level. Starting with reflections on how this historical material might relate to my recent findings, the focus of the paper is on the ingredients of healing, in terms of methods and substance, and how this relates to a certain sort of thinking that seems characteristic of recent KhoeSan. Themes explored include relationships between weather, hunting and shamanism, the importance of smell and an aesthetics of care, captured by the idea of doing things ‘nicely’, which relates to broader ways of being a hunter-gatherer. In wider terms the paper informs understandings of historical identity in southern Africa. David Lewis-Williams, Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand The Impact of the Bleek & Lloyd Collection on Southern African Rock Art Research Interpretation of the /Xam texts with the help of 20th Century ethnographies opened the door to a new paradigm in rock art research in the 1970s. The paper will describe some of the key issues that inspired both research and controversy. David Morris, McGregor Museum, Kimberley The place of oral literature and ethnography in the re-membering of a Northern Cape rock art site The use of the Bleek and Lloyd archive of Karoo kukummi in the interpretation of rock art in Southern Africa has been huge and portentous. Work on rock engravings in the vicinity of Kimberley has drawn on this corpus of oral literature and the insights from its application in other rock art contexts. Certain further oral and ethnographic accounts from the area may be brought to complement the Karoo narratives. Together these various records have been sourced for the light they shed in an interpretation, particularly, of the Driekops Eiland rock engraving site. By referring to this process as a ‘re-membering’ an allusion is made to the persistence of certain elements, albeit fragments, of contemporary belief or lore having discernable links to ideas evident in the older stories. Issues of continuity and change are central to the discussion.
PAPER ABSTRACTS Florian Lionnet, University of California, Berkeley Lucy Lloyd’s !xun notebooks: towards an edition and linguistic analysis From 1879 to 1884, Lucy Lloyd worked with Tame, N!ani, |’Uma and Daqa1, four young boys from Northern Namibia, who spoke !Xun, a click language of the Juu-Hoan family, spoken in north-eastern Namibia and south-western Angola. She spent approximately five years studying and documenting !Xun, and left 17 notebooks – now digitised – which constitute the first written record of any Juu-�Hoan language: about 1,300 pages of precious cultural, historical, ethnographic and linguistic data that have yet to be edited and analysed. This talk is intended to present the first results of a project undertaken two years ago whose long-term goal is to produce an annotated edition of L.Loyd’s !Xun notebooks. About 100 pages of texts and wordlists have been edited so far. The focus has been mainly linguistic: the work accomplished has yielded enough data to make it possible to identify the particular !Xun dialect(s) spoken by the four boys as well as its location along the Okavango river on the borders of Namibia and Angola. A description of its phonological and grammatical structures as well as its relations to the other Juu lects is in progress. I will first present the notebooks and the information they contain: wordlists, drawings, and, most importantly, texts, mainly by N!ani and Tame, covering a wide variety of topics (myths and legends, tales, songs, but also personal stories, genealogies, aspects of material life, and remarks on ethnic groups, languages and inter-ethnic relations). All this information makes it possible to reconstruct to a certain extent the history and culture of the !Xun people of this region at the end of nineteenth century. I will then give an overview of the (mainly linguistic) work accomplished so far: after mentioning a few challenges one faces when working on Lloyd’s data, I will outline the main characteristics of Lloyd’s !Xun and its position within the Juu language complex. Reference: Bleek, W.H.I. & L.C. Lloyd. Unpublished note
PAPER ABSTRACTS Hedley Twidle, University of Cape Town From The Origin of Language to a language of origin: a prologue to the Grey Collection This paper will attempt to chart the curious, contested space occupied by the Grey Collection in contemporary South Africa: how this once celebrated but now forgotten bequest housed at the National Library in Cape Town might be (or might not be) approached, used or appreciated; the complex networks of exchange across the southern hemisphere through which it was constituted under British imperialism; its curiously dual nature and its afterlives, or lack of them. Paying attention to a provocative series of ‘doublings’ that structure the archive – among them the division between medieval European treasures and nineteenthcentury ‘indigenous’ materials, as well as the Jekyll and Hyde like double-act performed by George Grey and Wilhelm Bleek – this account suggests that while several approaches (particularly the more celebratory narratives surrounding the Bleek and Lloyd Collection) seek to separate out the uncomfortable and enlightened elements of colonial text-making and translation, it is their co-presence within the language act which constitutes the ongoing, uncomfortable but also enabling paradox of working with such materials. Specifically, I hope to offer an account of Grey’s compilation of translated Maori narratives, Polynesian Mythology (1855), which in New Zealand literary culture occupies a similar (and similarly troubling) place to that of Specimens of Bushman Folklore (1911) in the South African context.
Helize van Vuuren, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University “Does the //gárraken flower open?”: postcolonial approaches to the extinct |xam culture Early scientists, linguists and observers recorded more (Bleek & Lloyd: 1870-18809) or less (Von Wielligh: 1870-1883) meticulously and scientifically at the end of the nineteenth century what they could from the last of the indigenous |xam Bushmen informants still alive in the northern Cape region of South Africa. In postcolonial times the |xam collection of myths, narratives and poems has been declared part of UNESCO World heritage. In 2009, rock art expert Anne Solomon identified a hiatus in what has been called “Bushmen Studies”, in that hitherto mostly anthropological interpretations were forthcoming of the narratives and fragments of narratives left over from this erstwhile rich culture, whereas more meticulous literary interpretations are still lacking in the attempted recovery of the full meaning of this culture. From the traumatic period of the late nineteenth century, till now, where the |xam language’s
PAPER ABSTRACTS last speaker has long died, recuperation of this aspect of South African heritage is demanding new methodologies and is becoming an increasingly pressing issue against the “flattening” and equalising pressure of ever greater globalisation upon the existing cultural South African landscape. Different approaches either accentuate the trauma of colonial interaction and stress the divisive, whereas alternative, more nuanced literary approaches offer recovery and reconciliatory aspects for contemporary South African society. The paper suggests ways of such readings, in literary readings and new poetry.
Hermann Wittenberg, University of the Western Cape On narrative, culture and colonial censorship: the story of ||kabbo and “Reynard the Fox” Wilhelm Bleek’s Reynard the Fox in South Africa; or Hottentot fables and tales (1864) remains a significant if under-recognized book in South African cultural history. Coming almost 50 years before the celebrated publication of Bleek’s and Lucy Lloyd’s Specimens of Bushman folklore (1911), Reynard should not merely be regarded as a minor trial run for their now famous |xam research project, but needs to be seen as an important and consequential event in South African literary history – though a problematic one, as this paper will indicate. Reynard was not only the first published book of indigenous literature, but, coming well before Olive Schreiner’s Story of an African farm (1883), must rank as one of South Africa’s first published works of sustained narrative imaginative fiction, in a context where colonial literary production had long been dominated by the more prosaic genres of diary and travel writing. This paper will explore the complex distortive cultural politics that produced the Reynard narratives in their published form by reading them contrastively against the corpus of Leonhard Schultze’s Nama narratives. Finally, I will speculate on how the text’s significant gaps had an inadvertent and fortuitous effect of leading to the recruitment of ||kabbo, the master narrator of Specimens.
PAPER ABSTRACTS Isabel Hofmeyr, University of the Witwatersrand Archives in Heaven The Bleek and Lloyd archive constitutes a remarkable collection that straddles languages, media, materials and worlds – in short it deals with texts that straddles this world and the next. This paper grapples with this feature which inheres in a range of African precolonial and early colonial texts. Certain orders of texts are expected to be able to address the next world and have agency in it. Examples include early African Christian manifestations of miraculous literacy (in which the power to read (and sometimes to write) is conferred magically often by an angel in a dream). Songs and hymns are expected to speak to ancestral worlds beyond the immediate. This paper draws out the genealogies of such forms in order to bring into focus the distinctiveness of the Bleek/lloyd project.
Janette Deacon, Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand ‘Specimens of Bushman folklore’ includes a number of accounts about the landscape in which the |xam lived that were written down by Lucy Lloyd and Wilhelm Bleek during interviews with //kabbo, /han≠kass’o, Dia!kwain and their family members. These range from the power of the rain in its different personas, to the story that explained how the hills of the Strandberg were formed. However, the relationship between landscape features and rock engravings was not one of the topics they discussed. This conference session will illustrate some of the recurrent themes in the landscape of the Upper Karoo and report on recent research to identify connections between |xam perceptions of the landscape as expressed in the written records made by Bleek and Lloyd, and the subject-matter and distribution of rock engravings made by the ancestors of the 19th century |xam. The session will be held in the Iziko South African Museum where aspects of rock art in the landscape will be on display in exhibitions.
PAPER ABSTRACTS Jeremy Hollmann, KwaZulu-Natal Museum |kaggen’s code: paintings of moths in southern Africa hunter-gatherer rock art This paper explores the possible meanings of uncommon hunter-gatherer rock paintings at Eland Cave in the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and at Raiders 1 in Raiders Gorge, Brandberg/Daureb, Erongo Region, Omaruru District, Namibia, that have been identified as moths. The paintings are interpreted in terms of |xam Bushman beliefs in which the appearance of a moth at the family fire heralds the killing of an animal on the hunting ground. These beliefs are part of a more general ‘code’ of hunting practices aimed to ensure successful kills of game animals ‘owned’ and protected by |kaggen, the |xam Bushman trickster deity. Central to this interpretation is the hypothesis that hunter-gatherer rock paintings may have been perceived as supernaturally potent images. According to this scenario the painters modelled the moth paintings on aspects of the appearance and behaviour of certain moths and positioned these on the rock face in certain ways in an attempt to create an ambience in which the balance, usually loaded in the hunted animal’s favour, is in the direction of the hunters instead.
Jill Weintroub The Rock Art and Linguistic Researches of Dorothea Bleek How has history treated Dorothea Bleek? In general, when she features at all on the stage of the past, it is as an enigmatic figure who lacked the insight that her father displayed towards the subjects of his “bushman researches”. She is often dismissed as racist, and without the empathy that Lucy Lloyd showed towards the informants domiciled at Charlton House. This presentation begins to combat that view by offering a close and situated reading of one of Dorothea Bleek’s earliest forays into the field in southern Africa. The surviving written record of Dorothea Bleek’s 1913 trip to Kakia (now Khakhea) in the then Bechuanaland Protectorate (now Botswana) provides a brief moment of rare personal narrative in an archive comprising a much greater proportion of general material. The diary of Bleek’s trip to Kakia together with the two research notebooks she produced there provides a nuanced record of Bleek’s emerging fieldwork practice and method. It shows Bleek engaging with the landscape and the people she found therein in complex and contradictory ways. One can see her on one hand as the genteel colonial traveller “on safari” through conquered territories surveying, framing and domesticating surrounding landscapes using language and metaphor drawn from the painterly tradition of Western art. On the other hand, she is the intrepid female explorer celebrating her escape from domesticity and suburbia, indulging in solitary
PAPER ABSTRACTS walks and in conventionally male escapades like target practice against a tree. She is also the Western scientist investigating African bodies with her measuring instruments and camera, deploying colonial authority to gain access to intimate spaces of other bodies, but at certain times exhibiting sensitivity to the invasion of personal space thus signified, and to the limits of power she could exert. At one moment, she is the expert who brings the comfort of Western medicine to the suffering native. At another, she appears fully engaged in the ritual practices she is observing, and finds her research subjects both attractive and amusing. Based on notes made in the field, this view of Dorothea Bleek’s emerging research practice shows the production of knowledge from the field as a fractured and haphazard process.
José de Prada Samper, University of Cape Town The pictures of the |xam people are in their bodies’: presentiments, landscape and rock art in ||kabbo’s country The testimony by ||kabbo known as “Bushman presentiments” was published by Lucy Lloyd, in a shortened version, in *Specimens of Bushman Folklore*. It is one of the most often quoted and commented on segments of the Bleek and Lloyd Collection, but its interpretation has been marred by the fact that its very first sentence has always been assumed to draw a parallel between the |k”umm (“presentiments”) described in the text and the European notion of letters which are posted and “take a message or an account of what happens in another place”. In the paper it is argued that ||kabbo did not use the term !gwe: (“picture”) as an approximation to the English concept of postal letters and had had it in mind when dictating the text, but rather that, when translating the testimony with Lloyd, he pointed out to her the similarity of the |xam’s !gwe: with posted letters. If that is correct, ||kabbo’s testimony establishes a direct connection between the |k”umm and the rock-engraving, very likely having in mind those found in the two hills to which he makes reference in his narrative. The paper offers textual evidence in support of this interpretation and suggests that, at least in those two hills, the engravings could have served as a vehicle for “channeling” the “k”umm that people felt in their bodies, and in this way influence the movements of the game.
PAPER ABSTRACTS Marlene Winberg, University of Cape Town Silent children of the archive: reading Lucy Lloyd and the !kun boys’ visual archive (1879-1881) The four !kun children’s collection forms part of the celebrated Bleek and Lloyd Collection and comprises more than 570 paintings and drawings, as well as Lucy Lloyd’s 17 !kun notebooks, collected between 1879 and 1881. Lucy Lloyd’s publication of parts of the !kun children’s stories and images as an ‘appendix’ to Specimens of Bushmen folklore reflected a number of events in her lifetime and set up a reaction that kept the !kun children’s material in the shadow of the larger collection, causing it to be largely ignored by contemporary scholars. This paper asks why the !kun children’s collection has laid in silence for so long. It places the children centre stage and examines a selection of their paintings and drawings in relation to the fragmented text and words in Lucy Lloyd’s notebooks. This exploration remembers the oldest boy, !nanni, and his family in the context of their home in the Namibian wilderness. The broader socio-economic and political landscape of the late 19th century casts further light on the children’s lives and those dynamics that gave rise to their abduction from their homes - and eventual departure for the Cape. This exploration places Lucy Lloyd’s own childhood alongside the children’s and examines the parallel sense of loss that defined both her and the children’s youth. This view illuminates the powerful acts of storytelling and image making in Lucy Lloyd’s drawing room where the boys were, for those moments, at the centre of the world they found themselves in, rather than marginalised by it. In conclusion, this presentation fast-forwards 130 years and asks what sense contemporary !kun speakers may make of their ancestral collection – if given the opportunity to do so. Mary Elizabeth Lange, University of KwaZulu-Natal Storytelling and engravings, past and present: Biesje Poort, Northern Cape Stories, associated with images represented in rock engravings and those still incorporated today on Kalahari crafter’s ostrich eggs, are recorded as part of a collaborative research team led by The Centre for Communication, Media and Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal. The stories are recorded in line with my multiple intelligence approach to research that influences both my encounter with the research area and community as well as the presentation of the research material. The oral record builds on my prior participatory research in the Southern Kalahari that resulted in the use of water stories to interpret some of the rock engravings on the site and subsequent applied storytelling in a museum setting in KwaZulu-Natal.
PAPER ABSTRACTS This paper includes the challenges and advantages of an indigenised participatory communication approach that calls for dialogue and empowerment through not only participation and representation but also the inclusion of research content that is relevant to the participating KhoiSan descendant community.
Mathias Guenther, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada Dreams and Stories While not recognized as much as it perhaps should, it is evident from the /Xam corpus that dreams and dreaming constitute elements of the stories told by // Kabbo–“Dream”--and some of the other story tellers. This is the case especially with respect to stories about /Kaggen/Mantis–“a sort of dream Bushman”, to Dorothea Bleek–which feature the trickster-protagonist dreaming and gaining, through his dreams, magical powers and access to the mystical world beyond. Dreams and dreaming may also provide the imaginative and expressive framework for story telling, underscoring, thereby the surreal, fluid and fantastical nature of First Order, the mythological landscape of so many of the kukummi of the /Xam story tellers. Does dreaming provide them with inspiration and creativity? Do dreams provide some of the motifs and plots for their stories (as they arguably do for rock artist, some of whose pictures may be representations of dream imagery, as recently suggested by the Australian rock art researcher Ben Watson)? Do dreams and dreaming provide the key for the understanding of /Xam–and San- myth and lore, which its students have variously referred to as “surreal”, “fluid”, “fantastical”, “ineffable”, “incoherent”–and “dreamlike”? These are the questions that will guide this tentative exploration of /Xam ancestral folklore.
Megan Biesele, University of Texas, Austin ||kabbo’s Legacy: San Heritage Conservation and Language Development Today Community and scholarly activism in regard to indigenous languages, especially endangered ones, is increasing around the world. There exist at least a dozen heritage conservation and language development projects involving San languages of southern Africa. This presentation will contain an inventory of current San languagedevelopment projects and textual/cultural heritage projects, whether they are community-based, scholar-initiated, or NGO-run. This inventory—from South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana—is intended to provide a 2011 baseline to increase awareness and support for ALL such projects. It is undertaken to honor //Kabbo
PAPER ABSTRACTS and all the /Xam people who undertook the first such project in Cape Town over a century ago. The information on the various projects will be, of necessity, uneven, since all are at different stages of development. Yet because of recent advances in technology, even the smallest projects can send and receive information and post archives on the Internet. To be foregrounded in the presentation is the Ju/’hoan Transcription Group (JTG) that has been active in Namibia since 2002, using Ju/’hoan-language materials recorded in Botswana and Namibia between 1970 and the present. Also presented will be a history of the JTG and how it solved many practical problems common to such projects in remote areas. The presentation will suggest ways in which, in the future, members of the JTG and other functioning San language projects can mentor San communities wishing to start and carry out their own heritage documentation.
Menán du Plessis, University of Cape Town One hundred years of the Specimens - a hundred years of academic neglect. The Specimens of Bushman Folklore provides samples of two Khoesan languages, one being the variety known as |xam, which belongs to the !uI family, and one being a !xun (!xũ˜ or !xuŋ) dialect of the JU family. Our knowlege of the JU languages in general has been greatly expanded since the work of Bleek and Lloyd in the 1880s. By contrast, very little attention has been paid to the !UI languages, apart from currently ongoing work by foreign linguists on the /Nuu varieties discovered just over a decade ago to be spoken still by a few elderly people of the #Khomani San. This paper will be confined to a discussion of /xam, and after a brief survey of existing studies will itemize the numerous aspects of the language that remain to be analysed and systematically described. The implications of these still great gaps in our knowledge - for projects in translation and lexicography - will be pointed out. Lastly, an attempt will be made to identify the underlying reasons for the lack of attention given by contemporary South African linguists to this work.
Michael Wessels The first |xam man brings home a young lion: the story of a narrative Michel Foucault argues in The Order of Things that the constellations of ideas and discourses that underlie different forms of knowledge at particular periods in time, which he calls epistemes, constitute a rupture with, rather than a development of, the ways of ordering knowledge and generating meaning that precede them.
PAPER ABSTRACTS In later work, such as The Use of Pleasure, he maintains that apparently similar discourses from different periods can operate within very different structures of meaning. He also acknowledges that different epistemes can co-exist at the same time and that the borders between them might be less absolute than his earlier work would suggest. What he describes as an archaeological approach to the study of ideas and cultural expression seeks to understand the discursive conditions that make particular meanings possible at certain times. This paper considers what such an archaeology might mean in relation to the collection of /Xam narrative that was assembled in the nineteenth century by Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd. While the paper recognises the importance of detailed textual analysis, this is not the project it sets itself. Rather it aims to discuss the different epistemic formations in which a particular narrative has signified, recognising that most of them are, to a significant degree, unknowable. It takes as its example the story that David Lewis-Williams calls “The First /Xam Man Brings Home a Young Lion” in his selection of materials from the Bleek and Lloyd Collection, ‘Stories That Float From Afar: Ancestral Folklore of the San of Southern Africa.’ The paper explores the intricate textual and discursive contexts that both antedate and accompany the publication of the story in Lewis-Williams’ collection. It examines the narrative from the perspective of the discursive formations in which it has been articulated, by both /Xam narrators and scholars, rather than the “meaning” of the story itself. While the kind of performative and social contexts which produced the narrative in the first place no longer attend its reproduction and reception, it nevertheless is still staged in different ways and its meaning has to be discerned, sought and contested in particular social spaces. A contemporary reading of the narrative, in the form in which it appears in Lewis-Williams’ book, it is argued, has to take into account a series of interventions that include editing, categorization, reproduction in print and the framing of the story by both the general introduction at the beginning of the book and the introductory comments which immediately precede it. Taken together, these constitute a particular type of performance and staging of the narrative. Lewis-Williams’ interventions have, in turn, to be placed alongside a chain of earlier events: the performance and reception of the narrative in various real and virtual spaces, its recording and transcription, its translation and various comments about it. When all these events are considered, along with the story’s formal and discursive features, such as its circulation of signifiers, its systems of address and its intertextual relationship with the rest of the /Xam corpus, it becomes clear that a /Xam narrative, as it appears before the reader in print, is a complex, hybrid mode of discourse that requires a detailed critical response. The paper concludes that such a response can be greatly enhanced if it includes a consideration of the “archaeological” dimension of /Xam narrative.
Nigel Crawhall Understanding the !Ui-Taa language family’s sociolinguistic history in South Africa: putting the |xam informants in context The purpose of the paper is to give specialists in the oral history of the |xam more context to understand the full distribution of this language family and unpacking in a more systematic manner the different terminology (ethnographic and linguistic) which were applied to San language speakers, dating back to the very earliest settler references. The causality of language loss is often assumed to be the result of the violent force of colonial expansion, but it does not explain why Bantu / Niger-Congo languages survived but Khoe-San languages did not. This has to do with different land-use / natural resource subsistence patterns and changing social relationship due to economic and ecological changes.
Nigel Penn, University of Cape Town Child captives, ‘Bushman Labour’ and the destruction of the Cape San From as early as the 18th century it was acceptable colonial practice for commandos to take San children captive in order to utilise their labour. Far from diminishing, this practice actually increased under British rule during the 19th century. The scale and impact of ‘Bushman’ child labour has been greatly under-estimated in the historical accounts. This paper seeks to redress this neglect by emphasising the magnitude and significance of San child labour during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Robert Thornton, University of the Witwatersrand Bleek, ||kabbo, and the debate about the origin of language In Europe, at the time that Bleek began to work with transcribing and translating the Xam texts, Bushman languages were believed to be the most primitive languages known. Bleek’s cousin, the German evolutionist and biologist Ernst Haeckel, among other evolutionists at the time, believed that these languages might be more like animal communication than human speech. If this were true, the Bushman languages would provide key evidence in the debate about the origin and evolution of language. This topic was hotly debated in late 18th century and the19th century.
PAPER ABSTRACTS Bleek’s research proved, however, that Bushman languages were fully and complexly human, and that they were as ‘advanced’ or ‘evolved’ as any other human languages. This profoundly affected the theory of language, since it appeared to show that there was no evidence of evolution in human languages. This is, still today, a profoundly puzzling result, but spoke strongly for a single common origin for all humans ‘out of Africa’, a position that Bleek himself asserted against Haeckel’s polygenist (multiple origins) proposals. Robyn Loughnane and Tom Güldemann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin The Bleek and Lloyd Collection: ||kabbo’s linguistic legacy In addition to an invaluable legacy in other disciplines, Specimens of Bushman Folklore and the entire Bleek and Lloyd collection must also be recognized as a great scientific achievement in the field of linguistics. The quality and detail of the phonetic transcriptions can only be admired, even by modern standards; the depth of the collection, in terms of the sheer number of texts, is an exceptional feat by any modern field linguist’s standards. One can only describe Wilhelm and Dorothea Bleek and Lucy Lloyd as gifted and hard-working scientists, through whose writings we can now glimpse the uniqueness and linguistic importance of |xam, the native language of their teacher ||kabbo. |xam is a member of the !Ui branch of the Tuu family, one of three major nonBantu language families indigenous to southern Africa, collectively often referred to as ‘Khoisan’. Dorothea Bleek (1927) herself proposed an internal classification of ‘South African Khoisan’ (Tuu), a hypothesis later supported through modern analyses by Hastings (2001) and Güldemann (2005). The only other surviving member of the !Ui branch of the Tuu family is the moribund N||ng, with less than a dozen remaining speakers. The endangered Taa language complex, with only a few thousand speakers remaining, is the only additional known surviving member of the Tuu family. Despite the incredible corpus of the |xam language left behind thanks to ||kabbo, Bleek and Lloyd, there remains no full-length grammatical description of the language to date, although Dorothea Bleek (1928–30) and Meriggi (1928/29) published grammatical sketches, and there are a few important commentary notes in Bleek and Lloyd (1911). A modern grammatical sketch, incorporating our increased knowledge of ‘Khoisan’ languages and the advanced methods of the discipline, can be found in Güldemann (forthcoming a., b. and c.), although more work remains to be done, especially phonological and morphosyntactic description based on the statistical analysis of as much of the corpus as possible. Now, while there are still remaining speakers of other Tuu languages, is a critical time to undertake such a thorough modern linguistic analysis of the |xam corpus, both to gain insights into the |xam data from living Tuu languages, and, conversely, for the |xam data to inform the ongoing analysis of the Tuu languages.
PAPER ABSTRACTS In this talk we discuss in further detail the above linguistic legacy of the Bleek and Lloyd collection and present aspects of the current ongoing analysis of the |xam corpus and its implications for ‘Khoisan’ language studies and the discipline of linguistics as a whole. References Bleek, Dorothea F. 1928–30. “Bushman grammar: A grammatical sketch of the language of the |xam-ka-!k’e.” Zeitschrift für Eingeborenen-Sprachen 19: 81-98/20: 161-174. Bleek, Dorothea F. 1927. “The distribution of Bushman languages in South Africa.” In Boas, F. et al. (eds.), Festschrift Meinhof. Hamburg: L. Friederichsen, 55-64. Bleek, Wilhelm H. I. & Lucy C. Lloyd. 1911. Specimens of Bushman Folklore. London: George Allen. Güldemann, Tom. forthcoming a. “Phonology: Other Tuu languages.” In Voßen, Rainer (ed.), The Khoisan languages. Routledge Language Family Series. London: Routledge. Güldemann, Tom. forthcoming b. “Morphology: |Xam of Strandberg.” In Voßen, Rainer (ed.), The Khoisan languages. Routledge Language Family Series. London: Routledge. Güldemann, Tom. forthcoming c. “Syntax: |Xam of Strandberg.” In Voßen, Rainer (ed.), The Khoisan languages. Routledge Language Family Series. London: Routledge. Güldemann, Tom. 2005. “Tuu as a language family.” In Güldemann, Tom, Studies in Tuu (Southern Khoisan) (= University of Leipzig Papers on Africa, Languages and Literatures 23). Leipzig: Institut für Afrikanistik, Universität Leipzig, 11-30. Hastings, Rachel. 2001. “Evidence for the genetic unity of Southern Khoesan.” In Bell, Arthur & Paul Washburn (eds.), Khoisan: syntax, phonetics, phonology, and contact. Cornell Working Papers in Linguistics 18. Ithaca: Cornell University, 225-246 Meriggi, Piero. 1928/29. “Versuch einer Grammatik des |Xam-Buschmännichen.” Zeitschrift für Eingeborenen-Sprachen 19: 117-153, 188-205.
Sam Challis, Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand Bushman herders of the Drakensberg: mixed raider-pastoralists in the 19th century. Recent investigation into mixed, or creolised, raiding bands in the eastern Cape of the nineteenth-century has uncovered various underlying cultural phenomena which enabled such groups to form. Drawing on ethnographic material from the supposed constituent cultures – San-, Khoe- and Bantu-speaker (not least the Lloyd/Bleek archive), it is put forward that members of mixed groups found shared beliefs on which they could build new identities. Beliefs in certain categories of plant roots and animals associated with them had become shared during the many centuries of precolonial interaction. These shared beliefs then helped to inform new beliefs concerned with the arrival of new concerns on the colonial frontier, such as the horse. Beliefs, behaviour and tradition all combine to explain why so-called ‘Bushmen’ kept cattle, horses, sheep and goats in the Maloti-Drakensberg, and why they painted them in their rock shelters.
Siyakha Mguni, Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand The meerkats and||kaggen’s arrows of fury: metaphors of sociality and antagonism in the southern San mythology and paintings This paper explores the conjoint tension between sociality and antagonism in San thought through the investigation of loose notions of altruism and egoism from their mythology, ethnography and rock paintings. Customarily, prevailing analytical canons and explanatory tropes focusing on various aspects of Khoesan worldview(s) and related expressive forms present conclusions as overtly indicating unity of purpose for the greater social good of San foragers. Yet, the common behaviour of San deities, and ||kaggen himself included, reveals a curious contradiction between what may, on the other hand, be considered ‘altruistic’ and, on the other, ‘egoistic’ behaviour in a complex of ideas which play out not only at the level of the individual, but also between and beyond social groups. In order to explore these ideological deviations and related symbolic mediations, I will examine some paintings from the southwestern Cape. Sven Ouzman, Pre-colonial archaeology, Iziko South African Museum The South African Museum as San Archive and as Artefact We claim to know the past through archaeology, anthropology, ethnography, imagination and the like. But we lack a well-developed archaeology of archive in which the collected, curated and researched object or ‘specimen’ is not a straightforward metonym or fragment of a past reality, but a sentient entity with both a history and a future. The ‘Bushman specimens’ collected by Wilhelm Bleek, Lucy Lloyd - and especially by Dorothea Bleek - between the 1870s and 1947 and archived in the South African Museum, is here instructive. The Museum was an induction space for the Bleeks and Lloyd San teachers – using natural history specimens of animals and geological specimens as lexical props and prompts. Often the Museum would again be visited when these teachers departed Cape Town – a twist on Geertz’s characterisation of the museum as a ‘contact zone’ and as a panopticon whose gaze can be reversed, albeit imperfectly. The South African Museum was part of an intellectual extraction that was followed by collecting the physical expressions of this intellect –archaeological and ethnographic artefacts, wax cylinder sound recordings, drawing books, rock art copies and commentaries (some of which will be on display in Bertram House during the conference) – and bodies. The latter comprised both human remains and associated grave goods, and the (in)famous body casts made by James Drury from ‘pure’ San in the 1901/1911 Prieska expeditions of which Dorothea was a participant. This collecting of husks became frantic in the early 1900s with the
PAPER ABSTRACTS belief that San were a ‘dying race’; prompting legal instruments like the 1911 Bushman Relics Protection Act, which set up museums as hermetic, preservative spaces of colonial fantasy. In thinking the role of museums in post-colonial contexts, these San specimens force us to consider why we ‘collect’ specimens at all, and how our actions become an intrinsic part of collected specimens’ lives. The object biography approach suggests specimens are sentient and even legal entities; a realisation that may go some way toward transforming museums and archives from instruments of Foucaldian control to multivocal spaces in which power relations, while never equal, may at last be allowed to shift in unpredictable ways.
Tanya Barben, University of Cape Town Gathering wisdom: re-assembling Wilhelm Bleek’s library Wilhelm Bleek not only collected languages and one of their products in the form of stories, but he also acquired printed materials, assiduously gathering together his library which, as is generally the case, reveals much about his life. Philology was his first love, but his library contains so much more: theological texts by his grandfather, the scientific work of his cousin Ernst Haeckel, and George Grey’s Australasian works (for he was an employer who shared Bleek’s philological interests) and many others. Books owned by members of his extended family such as his wife, daughters, curmudgeonly father-in-law, and his sister-in-law and working companion, Lucy, were also added to it. Many books contain textual annotations and marginalia in Bleek’s crabbed hand. This library is now housed in Rare Books & Special Collections of the University of Cape Town Libraries, and it and its re-assemblage is the subject of this paper.