The Khoe and San: An Annotated Bibliography

By Gordon, Robert J. | African Studies Review, December 2004 | Go to article overview

The Khoe and San: An Annotated Bibliography


Gordon, Robert J., African Studies Review


BIBLIOGRAPHIES & DICTIONARIES Shelagh Willet, Stella Monageng, Sidsel Saugestad, and Janet Hermans. The Khoe and San: An Annotated Bibliography. 2 vols. Gaberone: Lightbooks, 2002, 2003. Distributed by Michigan State University Press and African Books Collective, (http://www.africanbookscollective.com). Vol. 1: 256 pp. $41.95. Paper. Vol. 2: 124 pp. $35.00. Paper.

Khoi (Khoe) and San studies are both a multilingual and a national undertaking, and keeping abreast with the extensive literature poses several logistic and linguistic challenges. This bibliography successfully meets these challenges. Inaugurated in 1993 with Norwegian funding, this documentation project aimed not only to be an aid to researchers, but also to serve the interests of San organizations and individuals. A year after the first volume appeared with 1021 entries, a second volume with 449 entries followed, and the arrival of a third volume is imminent.

It is always a pleasure to peruse a well-constructed annotated bibliography, and this one provides much satisfaction. For anyone with interests in the so-called Khoe and San, this bibliography is a researcher's dream. The authors are thorough and have long experience in this field. Shelagh Willet produced her first Bushman bibliography in 1965; Hermans has published on the history of Botswana government policy toward Masarwa; Saugestad, a professor of anthropology in Tromso, has a long and enviable record of research and engagement with indigenous issues especially in Botwsana; Monageng is a professional Motswana librarian. Entries are arranged alphabetically by author but then are backed up by a thorough topical index. Not only are the annotations succinct, but in cross checking those that I know, I found them to be remarkably accurate. All the items annotated are accessible at the University of Botswana. This is at once both a strength and a weakness, since the Botswana government has reportedly made it difficult for fieldworkers to work with or on Basarwa or San.

The introduction provides a useful ethnographic description of how and what criteria were used in the construction of this bibliography. It is a social history of the project as well, which is presented as a collaborative program seeking to promote San access to higher education and develop local research capacity and a San research network. …

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