Current projects


ǂXoake - Praat - Speak

A collection of traditional stories as told by ǂKhomani residents of the Kalahari

This project is led by African Tongue and funded by Worldwide Indigenous Science Network (WISN). 

The aim of the project is to collaborate with traditional ǂKhomani storytellers to assist with documenting and sharing these stories to anyone who would like to learn more about their culture. These stories are told in Nama and Afrikaans and cover a variety of themes, from creationist stories to good old comedy. 

These stories are currently being transcribed and translated - once complete they will be made available online for free.

It is hoped in the future, that a selection of these stories can be developed into a book or animation in collaboration with local artists for further enjoyment and sharing.


Maguire San Ethnobotanical Collection

Digitisation of Ethnobotanical Collection with a focus on Ju|'hoansi and !Xoo

The aim of this project is to share via open source digital means, an historical collection of San ethnobotanical data. The data was collected between 1954 and 1975 by Mr Brian Maguire and his wife Dr Judy Maguire in close collaboration with Ju|’hoan and !Xoo communities of the Kalahari.

This is a comprehensive collection, meticulously documented in various mediums available at the time (slides, photographs, field-notes, journals, manuscripts and drawings) providing detailed descriptions of plant use by our indigenous first peoples, most especially food plants in water scarce areas.

Free online access to the digitised content so far is available via Stellenbosch University at the following link: 


ǂKhomani San | Hugh Brody Collection

Digital curation of the contents of this collection housed at the University of Cape Town

This is an ongoing collaboration between African Tongue, UCT and the ǂKhomani San to digitise and preserve the history of the ǂKhomani San. This includes the development of transcript files in the highly endangered N|uu language as well as Khoekhoegowab and Kora (!Ora). 

Endangered African Languages Featured in a Digital Collection: The Case of the ǂKhomani San | Hugh Brody CollectionPresentation supporting a paper published as part of the Proceedings of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC - organised virtually) 2020 first workshop on Resources for African Indigenous Languages (RAIL) on May 16, 2020. The presentation was also updated for the 50th Colloquium of African Languages and Linguistics on Wednesday September 2, 2020 (updated with more discussion curating place names).The ǂKhomani San | Hugh Brody Collection features the voices and history of indigenous hunter gatherer descendants in three endangered languages namely, Nǀuu, Kora and Khoekhoe as well as a regional dialect of Afrikaans. A large component of this collection is audio-visual (legacy media) recordings of interviews conducted with members of the community by Hugh Brody and his colleagues between 1997 and 2012, referring as far back as the 1800s. The Digital Library Services team at the University of Cape Town aim to showcase the collection digitally on the UCT-wide Digital Collections platform, Ibali which runs on Omeka S. In this presentation we highlight the importance of such a collection in the context of South Africa, and the steps that were taken to prepare the transcripts which were generated from the audiovisual material for publication. We outline our development process in preparing the collection for a linked data online showcase website, from digitisation to repository publishing as well as present some of the challenges in data clean-up, the curation of legacy media, multi-lingual support, and site organisation.TOC:00:00 | Welcome and Intro05:30 | Overview of Collection and Transcription Process09:38 | Digital Curation18:13 | Conclusion19:12 | ReferencesAs both conferences were held online the presentation was pre-recorded in each case.