Email

Claim to the Country

SKU: ZCLA
In the 1870s, facing cultural extinction and the death of their language, several |xam men and women told their stories to two pioneering colonial scholars at the Cape, Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd.

In the 1870s, facing cultural extinction and the death of their language, several |xam men and women told their stories to two pioneering colonial scholars at the Cape, Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd. The narratives of these San (or Bushmen) were of the land, the rain, the history of the first people, the origin of the moon and stars. They told stories of their beliefs and their individual lives; how stories floated on the wind, and how they had come to Cape Town as prisoners of the British Crown. All these narratives were faithfully recorded and translated by Bleek and Lloyd, creating an archive of over 13 000 pages which includes drawings, notebooks, maps and photographs. Now residing in three main institutions — the University of Cape Town, the South African Museum and the National Library of South Africa — this archive has recently been entered into UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.

Claim to the Country, created, compiled and introduced by Pippa Skotnes, publishes for the first time, in book form and on an accompanying DVD, all the notebook pages and drawings, which comprise the bulk of the archive. It also includes several contextualising essays by well-known scholars and a searchable index for all the narratives and contributors. The work sets out to present the reader with something of the experience of being in the archive: the archive is reflected and evoked in both the layout and the design of what is also a beautiful artbook.

Through this book we can better understand what it means for us all that the |xam no longer survive. Only their stories and recorded interviews remain, as text. The Bleek-Lloyd archive is the |xam’s claim to the country.

About the Author
Pippa Skotnes
was educated at the University of Cape Town, where she is now Professor of Fine Art and director of the Lucy Lloyd Archive, Resource and Exhibition Centre (LLAREC). She studied both fine art and archaeology and has published essays on the rock art of the San. She is the author and editor of several books, including Sound from the Thinking Strings (1991), Miscast: Negotiating the Presence of the Bushmen (1996), which accompanied a major exhibition on the colonial history of the San at the South African National Gallery, and Heaven’s Things (1999). She has also published a number of artist’s books including Lamb of God, which is, in part, a narrative inscribed on the bones of horses. Her work has been exhibited in many different parts of the world.

Parameters of Book: Book
Sub-title: The Archive of Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd
Author: Pippa Skotnes
ISBN: 9781770093379
d-PDF ISBN: 9781431400089
Size (mm): 276x235mm incl DVD
Pages: 392pp
format: Hardcover
Colour: Black & White
Rights: World
Language: English
Publication Date: 2007-01-01