The Storyteller. Folktales from the Kalahari Desert and Okavango River in Botswana

The Storyteller is a collection of traditional tales from villages around the Kalahari Desert and Okavango River in Botswana. It was made when groups of young storytellers gathered in D’Kar and Shakawe to perform and record their family stories. Twenty three tales were written in Naro, Khwedam, ||Anikhwedam, Ju|’uansi, Thimbukushu. Otjiherero, ShiYei and English.

This collection reflects the changing oral traditions of cultures who meet and integrate, use computer technology alongside traditional practices, work in their small offices and libraries in the desert, quietly creating their own educational futures.It testifies to a younger generation’s capacity to record, write and translate their elders’ oral traditions.

This beautifully designed little book, enhanced by the work of the artists at the Kuru Art Project in the Kalahari, honors the Botswana tradition of storytelling and the diversity of its language heritage.


San Stories

!Xun and Khwe San Folk tales

San Stories is a collection of popular tales from the oral literature of the !Xun and Khwe elders. Lion’s Fire Sticks is an old origin myth; The Eland Man is an initiation tale that speaks of the spirit bond between hunter, animal and families. Hare and Tortoise, Pam-pam Bird and Tiewhe and the King are traditionally told for entertainment and social learning. Re-told for generations, this collection celebrates a handful of richly illustrated treasures from southern Africa’s indigenous San storytellers.


Dima and Owl Man

Dima and Owl Man is a myth that has been passed on from mouth to mouth for generations of San families. This version was translated by Kapilolo Mario Mahango and Katunga Carimbwe. It is illustrated by the late  !Xun artist, |Thaalu Bernardo Rumao (1955 – 2008), whose legacy lives on in his descriptive paintings and the lino prints that depict his hunter-gatherer past.


Healing Hands

Interview with !Xun San Healer Meneputo Manunga

The narrative in Healing Hands is the result of several interviews and memory workshops between 2000 and 2004. Meneputo Manunga is the last in a long line of southern African tradition !Xun healers who practiced an indigenous system of healing based on the synergies between ritual, communal trance dance, story, music and song, medicinal plants and ancestral communication. Her community originates from Angola, where their ancient hunter-gatherer lifestyle were severely interrupted by colonization, wars and relocations. This book documents aspects of her memory and tells the story of her childhood initiation into the healing tradition of her people.


My Elands Heart

A collection of stories and art

Cape Town: David Phillip

My Eland’s Heart brings together the art and stories of seventeen !Xun and Khwe artists who lived and worked in Angola, Namibia and South Africa. Members of two communities who were displaced by decades of war in southern Africa and resettled in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa in the 1990s, these men and women belonged to the !Xun and Khwe Art and Culture Project. Their work has become well-known and is now among highly valued art collections all over the world.

My Eland’s Heart showcases their astonishing art and sets it in the context of the lives, oral traditions and history of the communities. The vibrant painting and craft is a revelation for many, suggesting as they do, the power of imagination to transform and transcend even the harshest of circumstances. Most of these hunter-gatherer artists have passed away since this book was published.


Annotations of Loss and Abundance

An examination of the !kun children’s material in the Bleek and Lloyd Collection (1879 – 1881)

The Bleek and Lloyd Collection is an archive of interviews and stories, drawings, paintings and photographs of and by |xam and !kun individuals, collected by Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd between 1870 and 1881 in Cape Town. 
This limited edition, artist’s book  focuses on the !kun children’s material in the archive, created by Lucy Lloyd and the four !kun boys, !nanni, Tamme, |uma and Da, who lived in her home in Cape Town between 1879 and 1881. Until very recently, their collection of 17 notebooks and more than 570 paintings and drawings had been largely ignored and remained a silent partner to the larger, |xam, part of the collection. Indeed, in a major publication it was declared that nothing was known about the boys and stated that “there is no information on their families of origin, the conditions they had previously lived under, or the reasons why they ended up in custody” (Szalay 2002: 21).”

This book shows what happens when we pay attention to children as historical actors and deem them worthy to be placed centre stage. It reveals the story behind the children’s contribution to this collection and reconstructs their hunter-gatherer childhoods in southern Angola and northern Namibia before these borders were drawn in the 19th century.