Reflections on The First Bushman’s Path: Stories, Songs and Testimonies of the /Xam of the Northern Cape: Interview with Alan James.
Current Writing, 14(2),
Alan James is a South African writer who lives in Western Australia. He has had several collections of poetry published, and has founded and edited a poetry magazine. His most recent publication is a collection of annotated versions of the /Xam narations entitled The First Bushman's Path: Stories, Songs and Testimonies of the /Xam of the Northern Cape (2001).
Between 1870 and 1884, the German linguist, W H I Bleek, and his sister-in-law, Lucy Lloyd, conducted a remarkable linguistic and ethnographic project, in collaboration with several /Xam Bushman people, some of whom were, or had been, prisoners working on the construction of the breakwater in Table Bay. The /Xam informants taught Bleek and Lloyd to speak their language, for which the linguists developed an orthography, and then narrated an extensive series of stories and songs, which Bleek and Lloyd transcribed and translated. The Bleek and Lloyd archives, comprising about 12 000 pages, and housed in the Jagger library at the University of Cape Town, are probably the most important record of early Bushman expression on the subcontinent. In this interview, Alan James talks to Duncan Brown about his project of making sections of the archive accessible to a wider audience, through the publication of a book of annotated poetic 'versions'.
||Literary studies; cultural studies; translation; ethnography; oral studies; anthropology.
||23 May 2007
||02 Dec 2010 19:59
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