Indigenous rights, indigenous epistemologies, and language : (re)construction of modern Khoisan identities

Van Wyk, Berte (2016)

CITATION: Van Wyk, B. 2016. Indigenous rights, indigenous epistemologies, and language : (re)construction of modern Khoisan identities. Knowledge Cultures, 4(4):33–45.

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There has been a revival of indigenous Khoisan identities in democratic South Africa, and it arises from the Afrocentric paradigm. Located within Khoisanistics, the study of indigenous Khoisan peoples, their language and culture, this article focuses on the (re)construction of modern Khoisan identities with reference to indigenous rights, indigenous Khoisan epistemologies, and their language. I argue that there is a need for a scholarly exploration of Khoisan identities from a philosophical perspective rooted within indigenous epistemologies, rather than from whitestream research perspectives, which historically ignored and/or marginalized indigenous approaches. I develop my argument, firstly, by locating myself within the research. Secondly, I explore the erosion of indigenous rights of the Khoisan people since the arrival of white settlers at the Cape in 1652, and examine contemporary attempts to restore indigenous rights. Thirdly, I reflect on indigenous Khoisan epistemologies, which are closely related to land, community and leadership, and this paper explores the Khoisan philosophy towards land: the land is not ours, we belong to the land. Finally, I explore Khoisan struggles aimed at the revival of their language

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