There are about 1 000 photographs in this archive that identify individuals, families, and historic and culturally specific sites. These images were taken on various field trips with members of the community, when they returned to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The collection is also a record of how the scattered community throughout the Northern Cape, came together. There are also historical images of the ǂKhomani San community that date back to the 1930s, which depict how the community lived then. There are also more recent photographs are of the ǂKhomani San over the past 20 years leading up to their historical land claim and how they live today.


Historical photographs of the San

These images were included in Alfred Martin Duggan Cronin's The Bantu Tribes of South Africa: Reproductions of Photographic Studies, the outcome of his major ethnographic research study of the San of Southern African. 

Duggan-Cronin, A. M. (Alfred Martin), 1874-1982


Discoveries at the archaeological site of the ǂKhomani San's former living area

Karel "Vet Piet" Kleinman and an unknown individual show artifacts found at the archaeological site of the ǂKhomani San's former living area near Mbiwe.

Images from this trip document the first excursions into the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and were a central part of the work on oral history and mapping in the first years of research.  


First excursions into the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

These images from the first excursion into the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park show (left to right); Research team stands near an acacia tree in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the tree marks the site of a former living area for the ǂKhomani San and is now an archaeological site, Jakob Malgas collecting tsamma melons between Kij Kij and Tierkop, and the medicinal plant: Grapple is a dry plant, gray in colour, it is also extracted for traditional medicine related to arthritis pain. The ǂKhomani San use the roots in order to cure severe problems of digestion, especially stomach pain.


Trees are our heritage

Trees are a natural and cultural heritage for the San people of the region. Trees offer protection from the extreme summer heat of the Kalahari, fuel for the fires needed to cook or dance by, and they are an integral part of the ecological system so essential to San survival. The events surrounding the use of certain trees by the San are woven into the history and memories that were passed from generation to generation, until settlers arrived. 


ǂKhomani San win land battle

Khomani San win their land claim

Khomani San win their land claim

Anna Swarts and Ou Jan Boesman

Dawid Kruiper


In 1999 the ǂKhomani San won the rights to their ancestral land in the Northern Cape. Although it wasn't all the ancestral land of the past, it was both a historic and significant victory for the community who had endured dispossession and oppression during colonialism and apartheid.

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.