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The story-telling project

In 1911, an extraordinary book was published by George Allen and Company, London. It was edited by Lucy Lloyd and contained a small selection of the many thousands of pages of |xam and !kun texts that she and Wilhelm Bleek recorded in the 1870s and 1880s in Cape Town, South Africa. The book was titled Specimens of Bushman folklore and was dedicated to ‘all faithful workers’. In many ways it owes its existence to the courage of ||kabbo, a prisoner released from the Breakwater Convict Station, who sacrificed the freedom of his final years to teach Bleek and Lloyd his language and tell them his stories. In the lead-up to a conference in August 2011 and in honour of this book and all those who participated in its making, the story-telling project was launched. The aim of the project was to create a digital archive of stories that honours ||kabbo’s legacy. We were particularly interested in stories that have never been published and those that are long out of print. Stories needed not belong exclusively to the |xam, the San or even southern African story tellers. Indeed, people like ||kabbo have told their stories in many different contexts and in many different places in the world.

Contributors to the project included:

  • Alan James
  • José Manuel de Prada-Samper
  • Marlene Winberg
  • Pippa Skotnes
  • Neil Rusch
  • David Donald
  • Melissa Heckler
  • Kapilolo Mario Mahongo
  • Joao Wenne Dikuanga
  • Andry Kashivi
  • Emelia Kuvangu Mahinda
  • ||kabbo