San Elders Speak : Ancestral knowledge of the Kalahari San

Réalisation : 22.04.2013
Mise en ligne : 29 mars 2022
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Vignette San


In 2009, visiting the McGregor Museum in Kimberley, South Africa, Lucinda Backwell and Francesco d’Errico, two archaeologists, found that ancient organic artefacts from Border Cave looked remarkably similar to items of historical San material culture and decided to study the century-old Fourie Collection of Kalahari San material culture housed at Museum Africa in Johannesburg.

Discovering that the function or meaning of many objects identified in the catalogue of the collection was unclear or unknown, Lucinda Backwell and Francesco d’Errico had the idea of inviting San elders to the museum to discuss the items with them, and documenting their comments on film.

After solving many difficulties, they finally welcomed four San elders,  Tsamkxao ≠Oma, David Cgunta Bo, Lena Gwaxan Cgunta, Joa Cwi, at Museum Africa  on april 2013 for one week of intensive work and exchanges, with the help of a San-English translator, ≠Oma Tsamkgao.

This archive is a collection of the video recordings of these fruitful exchanges.


Intervenants et intervenantes


Kate Thompson-Gorry : images at Museum Africa in Johannesburg and subtitles 

Lucinda Backwell and Francesco d'Errico : images at the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, Namibia

Tsamkxao ≠Oma, David Cgunta Bo, Lena Gwaxan Cgunta, Joa Cwi, ≠Oma Tsamkgao, //ao ≠Oma, Diana Wall, Madimetsa David Kola, Kenneth Hlungwane, Brent Stirton, Dee Worman, Chrissie Sievers, Lyn Wadley, Gary Trower, Stéphanie Thibaut, Martine Regert, Valérie Fromentin, Catherine de Noter, Chris Henshilwood, Eysten Jansen, Clare Digby.


Oppenheimer Memorial Trust
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Institut INEE
Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour, University of Bergen
Evolutionary Studies Institute, School of Geosciences
Research Council at the University of the Witwatersrand
France/South Africa Research Cooperation Programme
National Research Foundation of South Africa
Labex LaScARBx Cluster of Excellence, IdEx Bordeaux
Grand Programme de Recherche Human Past, Bordeaux University
Programme Talents, IdEx Bordeaux
European Research Council, Advanced Grant TracSymbols
European Research Council, Synergy Grant QUANTA