About the archive



In April 2014, all the original materials generated by the many projects in the southern Kalahari were handed over to UCT Special Collections. In collaboration with the San of the southern Kalahari, UCT agreed to safely house and store the materials, at the same time making them accessible and available. The decision was taken that a digital archive be developed, and an online website created. In this way, an invisible history would be made visible. This collection and the many voices that built and shape these materials are thus available to the ǂKhomani San themselves, to other communities in Africa where loss of land, heritage and language are burning issues, and across the world. At the same time, this treasure house of cultural, historical and linguistic materials is accessible to both scholars and human rights activists.




Community engagement



The archive can be seen as one realisation of the original vision and dream of the San of the southern Kalahari. From the very beginning of their land claim, elders expressed their wish that the ǂKhomani San be known, understood, and thus given their rights to their lands and heritage. In this online archive are the stories they told, the films they helped to make, the maps they created from their knowledge, and the languages they have wished to defend and celebrate. Alive despite the history, and alive for everyone to see, understand and take pride in.

But we are still seeking information. Those who visit this site are urged to help us complete and correct the history as it is presented here. Sometimes we are not sure about the name of a person in an old photograph, or there is more information that we do not know about; there may be stories that have been forgotten or left out of this archive.

Behind the archive

Besides the support of community elders and many individuals, the project’s success is owed to the South African San Institute (SASI), which represented the ǂKhomani San of the southern Kalahari through this period, in partnership with Open Channels, the UK charity that raised funds and provided some expertise, and Strata 360, the map-making NGO in Canada. Roger Chennells, as legal counsel for the ǂKhomani San, gave support and advice whenever this was needed and finally University of Cape Town Special Collections and the University of Cape Town for building and making accessible this invaluable resource.


Jamma International

Robert Gavron Charitable Trust

Sigrid Rausing

The Cairns Charitable Trust – No 2 Settlement

The David & Elaine Potter Foundation

Open Channels



Khomani San Hugh Brody Archive

Enchance our collection

The ǂKhomani San were scattered over the Northern Cape over a long period of dispossession. In the documentation process undertaken by SASI and the Brody team, not all the information was recorded. The ǂKhomani community is invited to submit information that is missing or needs improvement. Please submit your enhancements to the collection.