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ESRC Festival of Social Science

Every Language Matters: Documenting and sustaining endangered languages

Wednesday, 7 November 2012, 6 pm

Tracks Across Sand:  N/uu language and the =Khomani San of the southern Kalahari (2012)

Film screening & discussion with director Hugh Brody

tracks across sand

Photo: Kirk Tougas 2008

In 1996, as part of land claims research with the =Khomani San  – South Africa’s last group of people who think of themselves as “Bushmen” – a very old woman revealed that she spoke N/uu, a language that had been declared extinct by experts on languages of the region some twenty years before.  This led to a search for other speakers – 22 were found.  And led to many discussions and stories about how this language had been caused almost to die, and what this loss had meant.  In this segment of  Tracks Across Sand, the new DVD that follows all the threads of twelve years of work with the =Khomani San, the language stories are edited together to take us into this example of loss, and to share the accounts elders give of what it has felt to change from the world of N/uu to that of Afrikaans.

Hugh Brody is a writer, anthropologist and filmmaker. He is Canada Research chair in Aboriginal Studies at University of the Fraser Valley, Canada and has worked with Inuit and Indian organisations, and most recently on Bushman history and land rights in the Southern Kalahari.

Organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Film Committee and SOAS Department of Linguistics, Endangered Language.

This is a free event but please reserve your place: RAI Film Officer, Susanne Hammacher, film@therai.org.uk