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Jones, Erma J.J. (2009) Nama marks and etchings: Employing movement analysis techniques to interpret the Nama Stap. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The Khoisan are the indigenous peoples of Southern Africa, whose existence can be traced back some 2000 years to the Cape area of what is today South Africa. The Nama, the people whose dancing is the subject of this study, are the descendents of these original inhabitants of South Africa. The Nama are scattered among five 'coloured-reserve' areas in the north-west area of South Africa. This study concerns the Nama who live in !Khubus in the Richtersveld region of Namaqualand near the Orange River. Like other indigenous peoples in what is today popularly referred to as the 'Rainbow Nation', the Nama have been profoundly affected by colonisation and a brutal apartheid regime. It is not too difficult, at a superficial level at least, to distinguish supposedly traditional Nama customs from those they have adopted. The most obvious of these can readily be observed in language (Afrikaans), religious practices, architecture, and dancing. These activities are fertile examples of both acculturation and survival. The activities known as The Nama Stap (Step) and The Nama Stap Dance the subject of this dissertation, are particular examples of such fusion and endurance. They at once demonstrate the Nama drive for survival through adaptation and their need for continuity. This dissertation assesses and critiques movement analysis techniques. It then applies complementary methodologies including anthropology, ethnography, dance analysis, Labanotation and Laban Movement Analysis to address the continuities to be found In what the Nama call their 'national dance', how these have survived through a process of fusion, and how this historic female puberty rite has been transformed Into a contemporary statement of the solidarity between Nama women.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:10

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