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ERIC Number: EJ1155294
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Sep-1
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0167-8507
"My Tribe is the Hessequa. I'm Khoisan. I'm African": Language, Desire and Performance among Cape Town's Khoisan Language Activists
Brown, Justin; Deumert, Ana
Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, v36 n5 p571-594 Sep 2017
In this article we provide a discussion of present-day Khoisan activism in Cape Town, South Africa. The main actors in this movement are people whose heritage is complex: their history can be traced back to the early days of the colonial settlement, reflecting the interactions and cohabitation of the indigenous Khoisan, slaves and the European settlers. Currently, their main languages are English and Afrikaans; yet, efforts are also made by activists to learn Khoekhoegwab. In discussing the Khoisan resurgence we draw on a wide range of sources. The data include: in-depth interviews with language activists; video and audio recordings of ceremonies and other cultural events; discussions and performance of language and identity on blogs and tweets; newspapers; linguistic landscapes; and, finally, artistic performances (with particular focus on the hiphop opera "Afrikaaps"). We argue that Khoisan activism expresses a deep-seated desire for an identity--linguistic, political and cultural--that is both historically rooted and meaningfully created in the present. Khoisan activism is not only a political program but also an aesthetic-artistic as well as heteroglossic performance, and as such allows for new ways of conceptualizing language revitalization.
De Gruyter Mouton. Available from: Walter de Gruyter, Inc. 121 High Street, Third Floor, Boston, MA 02110. Tel: 857-284-7073; Fax: 857-284-7358; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa (Cape Town)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A