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Claim to the country

All these narratives were faithfully recorded and translated by Bleek and Lloyd, creating an archive of over 13 000 pages that includes drawings, notebooks, maps and photographs. Now residing in three main institutions - the University of Cape Town, Iziko: The South African Museum and the National Library of South Africa - this archive is all that remains of the |xam language and the world it described.

In Claim to the country Pippa Skotnes presents, for the first time, all the notebook pages and drawings that comprise the bulk of the archive. Also included is a searchable, annotated index for all the narratives and contributors and several contextualising essays by well-known scholars. The book reveals both the beauty of the archive and the loss that it represents. Skotnes celebrates the enormous achievement of Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd as well as the lives of the men and women and their children who struggled against unimaginable odds to survive, yet who filled the landscape with the poetry of their ideas and set their stories adrift on the wind. This book shows that more than a record of the memories of a few |xam and !kun individuals and the dispossession of their descendants, the archive is their claim to the country.

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