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Miscast archive

The Miscast archive, both digital and document, includes the documentary material collected as well as made for the exhibition Miscast: negotiating the presence of the Bushmen, held at the South African National Gallery in 1996 and curated by Pippa Skotnes.

The Miscast exhibition opened to much publicity and generated vigorous debate during its five month showing. Part of the event was the first major debate amongst representatives of San and other groups from South Africa, Namibia, Angola and Botswana, organised by the curator. While the archive includes the physical residue of the exhibition, it also, more importantly, contains the photographs and documents collected as part of the research leading up to it, as well as the comments of visitors to the exhibition and many of the publications it generated.

Currently, the archive includes a large collection of photographs assembled in two categories. One is the documentation of San objects and artefacts from collections in museums both in South Africa and London. These include skin bags, jewellery, tools and other artefacts such as divining disks, engraved walking sticks and decorated eggs. While this is not a comprehensive photographic database, it can give researchers a good idea of what is held, in South African museums in particular. The second is a collection of photographs (copies) of San subjects taken between 1858 and 1952 held in South African museums and museums in London (Pitt Rivers and British Museum) and Windhoek (the State Archives). Again, this is not a comprehensive collection, but is representative of collections held in these institutions. A selection of these have been digitised. There is also a collection of newspaper articles and archival documents on the subject of the San, collected mainly from the first three decades of the 20th century.

Miscast archive

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