Related archives

Related archives at UCT

Bleek and Lloyd

Dorothea Bleek was the fifth daughter of Dr Wilhelm Bleek, the noted philologist, who, with his sister-in-law, Lucy Lloyd, did an enormous and pioneering job of recording the language and folklore of the |Xam and the !Kung in the late 19th century. Dorothea Bleek continued the work of her father and aunt, recording and documenting the San languages of Southern Africa and publishing books and articles based both on her own work and theirs. Her most important work, published after her death, was A Bushman Dictionary. She undertook many expeditions in the course of her research on the different San groups, their languages and rock art. In 1910 she visited the area near Prieska in the northern Cape, from where some of the San informants interviewed by her father and aunt had originated. Subsequent travels included trips to other parts of the northern Cape, the eastern Transvaal, South West Africa (presently Namibia), Bechuanaland (Botswana), Angola and Tanganyika (now Tanzania)


Westphal was Professor of African Languages at UCT between 1962 and 1984, and is best known for his contributions to the studies of non-Bantu click languages, lumped together under a misleading cover term ‘Khoisan’ by other scholars. The Westphal sound files are precious because they include recordings of some languages, which are no longer spoken and of which there is no written record.

Centre for African Language Diversity Institute (CALDi), UCT

CALDi fosters the study, research and documentation of African languages, including San languages, and in doing so promotes and actively supports the sustainability of linguistic diversity on the continent.

Goodwin collection

Astley John Hilary Goodwin was born on the 27th December, 1900 in Pietermaritzburg. He studied at Cambridge and School of Oriental Studies (before it became SOAS). In 1933, he started the first course in Ethnology and Archaeology at the University. He was appointed Senior Lecturer in Ethnology and Archaeology in 1934, and Associate Professor in 1954. Amongst his photographs listed are the last San living in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Stanford collection

Sir Walter Ernest Mortimer Stanford, (1850-1933) worked in the civil service with the Xhosa speaking communities of the Eastern Cape. In April 1876 he was appointed magistrate to the Qwathi chief, Dalasile, and settled at Engcobo. In 1885 he was promoted to chief magistrate of Griqualand East at Kokstad. In later life from 1910-1929, Stanford served in the Senate, being nominated on the grounds of his thorough acquaintance with the needs of the ‘coloured’ races in South Africa. In his collection are rare images of Tsolo Bushmen, photographed in 1888. 

Kirby collection

The Kirby Collection is a unique and irreplaceable assembly of more than 600 musical instruments, most of which were used in Southern Africa before 1934, many pre-dating urbanisation. Evidencing the rich musical heritage of the region, it includes instruments made and played by all indigenous Southern African groups, including the San, as well as a smaller collection of instruments from five continents, notably Asia, and some unusual instruments from Western Europe. In addition to the instruments themselves, the collection also features paintings, sculptures and other objects relating to the field of sound.

African Studies Film Collection

Special Collections houses an extensive African Film Collection as well Archival Film. The Africa Film Collection comprises over 3,000 Africa-themed documentaries, feature films and shorts, including television series, which have either been made in Africa or have predominantly Africa-related content. There are 182 items related to the San. It is one of the major collections globally. Most films are already in digital formats, and remaining video tapes are being converted. Special Collections collects comprehensively on South and Southern Africa and is committed to strengthening and broadening film material from other regions of Africa, to create new research opportunities.

Archeology department

The Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town has strong programmes in a variety of topics.  Some are closely affiliated with the arts and humanities; others lie nearer to the natural sciences.  Located in the Western Cape of South Africa -- a region rich in archaeological heritage, with evidence of human occupation for the last half million years.   In order to understand and interpret this heritage, the faculty and students in our department interact widely with a number of other departments.  Specific research interests include issues related to human evolution, the emergence of modern humans, and the history of hunter-gatherer, pastoralist and farming communities in southern Africa, as well as the archaeology of more recent colonial settlement.  In addition, the Department is home to archaeometric and materials research, focusing on paleoanthropology, past environments, early human diets and materials analysis.  More recently, the Department of Archaeology has developed expertise in Cultural Resource Management, working with both government and private sectors to mitigate the effects of development and widen public awareness of the importance of the past. 

Schadeberg photographs

In the UCT Libraries Special Collections is a collection of images from Jurgen Schadeberg’s 1959 trip to the Kalahari when he joined an expedition with paleontologist Dr Philip Tobias. then Chairman of the Kalahari Research Committee of the University of Witwatersrand, to study the San. He photographed a trance dance. These images are part of a book called, The San of the Kalahari. Jurgen Schadeberg worked for Drum magazine in the 1950’s in South Africa and built up a formidable archive of life in South Africa. He also trained and worked with photographers like Peter Magubane, Alf Kumalo, Bob Gosani and Ernest Cole.

Weinberg photographs

This collection comprises the many trips that Paul Weinberg made over a thirty year period. He worked in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. During this time, he has produced a number of books from this archive including:- Shaken Roots, In Search of the San and Once We Were Hunters. His work on the San has been widely exhibited within South Africa and the world. He is one of the few people to have photographed San communities in different regions, witnessing major changes to their lives and culture.

Other related archives and institutions


The Institute has also become active in rock art conservation and in the development of rock art tourism in South Africa. The RARI field team funded by AngloGold offer a unique rock art '911' service. The team is on-call 24 hours a day, ready to rush to rock art wherever it is threatened in southern Africa.

Origins Centre, Wits

Opened by President Thabo Mbeki in 2006, the Origins Centre is a world-class museum dedicated to exploring and celebrating the history of modern humankind, telling the story of the emergence of human beings and humanity in southern Africa.

Duggan-Cronin Gallery - McGregor Museum

The Duggan-Cronin Gallery is a photographic museum displaying the ethnographic images of photographs Alfred Duggan-Cronin, Aubrey Elliot, Jean Morris and Alice Mertens. Their photographs of the indigenous peoples of southern Africa, including the San, were taken between 1919 and 1980, show aspects of traditional life and dress now. 

John Marshall Collection - Smithsonian

This collection of a million feet of film covers a time period between 1950-2000. It covers Marshall’s encounters with the Ju/’hoansi (San), their changes and struggles over the decades - from South African rule to independence. This collection housed at the Smithsonian was awarded UNESCO’s Memory of the World. Many of the key films are also housed at UCT Library’s African Film Library (see above).

Kalahari San (Bushmen) Music Online/British Museum

This collection housed at the British Museum contains over 1000 recordings of music recorded by John Brearley in Botswana, primarily among San or Bushmen people in the Kalahari, have been made available on the British Library Sounds website. Brearley worked with Hans Joachim Heinz who also recorded music, ceremonies. Heinz made films which are also housed at the British Museum. 

The IK Foundation Bushman Art Collection

The IK Foundation Bushman Art Collection, is a collection of !Xu and Khwe folk art from the first generation of the Schmidtsdrift camp in the northern part of the Cape Province in South Africa. The collection comprises about one hundred art works including linoleum cuts and gouache and oil paintings. The works, which are typical of this remarkable environment, have broken with tradition and are new and vibrant.


The South African San Institute of South Africa was established as an ngo to support the San in South Africa. This included information about the San of South Africa and case studies of SASI’s cultural resource work with this San communities. The ǂKhomani San are first people of the southern Kalahari Desert, located in Siyanda District, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. The !Xun and Khwe communities, former soldiers with the South African Defence Force, relocated from Namibia after its independence in 1990. They now live in Platfontein, near Kimberley.


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.