The San or Bushmen of southern Africa have exerted a fascination over generations of writers and scholars, from novelists and anarchists to ethnologists and geneticists, and also occupy a special place in the popular imagination as the First People and the contemporary remnant of spiritual and natural man. The ways in which particular groups of people from southern Africa have been traditionally categorised and positioned as objects of scrutiny by a range of academic disciplines is increasingly being contested and questioned. There is a growing awareness of the cultural, economic and genetic entanglement of the peoples of the region.
This book examines how San and Khoe people are represented, by others, as well as by those who identify as San or Khoe. It interrogates the ways in which disciplines, through their methodologies and ways of authorising knowledge, not only "discover" or "reveal" knowledge but produce it in ways that involve complex and often ambiguous relationships with power structures and forms of intellectual, symbolic and cultural capital. One major trend that emerges is that the San and Khoe can no longer be seen as people of the past but have to be acknowledged as contemporary and socially situated individuals and communities who are increasingly contesting the representations which others have imposed on them.
This book was originally published as two special issues of Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies.
Table of Contents
1. San representation: an overview of the field Michael Wessels
2. To exhibit or be exhibited: the visual art of Vetkat Regopstaan Boesman Kruiper Nyasha Mboti
3. Simulacral, genealogical, auratic and representational failure: Bushman authenticity as methodological collapse William Ellis
4. Development narratives: the value of multiple voices and ontologies in Kalahari research Lauren Dyll-Myklebust
5. The music of dead sisters: a feminist comparison of two folktales about singing bones and reeds Cheryl Stobie
6. The creation of the eland: a close reading of a Drakensberg San narrative Michael Wessels
7. The damaging effects of romantic mythopoeia on Khoesan linguistics Menán du Plessis
8. The Boer and the Jackal: Satire and Resistance in Khoi Orature Hermann Wittenberg
9. ‘Di-xerreten and the lioness’: text and landscape of a |Xam narrative José Manuel de Prada-Samper
10. Who owns what? Indigenous knowledge and struggles over representation Keyan G. Tomaselli
11. Narrating Biesje Poort: negotiating absence of storyline, vagueness and multivocality in the representation of Southern Kalahari rock engravings David Morris
12. ‘Different people’ coming together: representations of alterity in |Xam Bushman (San) narrative Mark McGranaghan
13. Icons and archives: the Orpen lithograph in the context of 19th-century depictions of rock paintings Justine Wintjes
14. Truths, representationalism and disciplinarity in Khoesan researches Anne Solomon
15. Researching the San, San/ding the research Keyan G. Tomaselli
Keyan G. Tomaselli was Director of the Centre for Communication Media and Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. His books on the topic include Cultural Tourism: Rethinking Indigeneity (2012), Writing in the San/d (2007), and Where Global Contradictions are Sharpest (2005).
Michael Wessels teaches World Literature in English at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. He has written extensively about San narrative and the theory and politics of interpreting folklore and mythology. He is the author of Bushman Letters (2010).