SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Hewitt, Roger Louis (1976) An Examination of the Bleek and Lloyd Collection of /Xam Bushman Narratives, With Special Reference to the Trickster, Ikaggen. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00033971

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Download (87MB)

Abstract

During the 1870's a large collection of /Xam Bushman narratives was made by the linguist W.H.I. Bleek and his sister-in-law, Miss L.C. Lloyd, Parts of this collection have been published but the bulk of the narratives remains in manuscript only. The /Xam Bushmen, now extinct, lived as hunter-gatherers occupying much of the Republic of South Africa west of Port Elizabeth and south of the Orange River. On the basis of content, the narratives may be classified into legends concerning human characters; narratives relating to girls' puberty observances and to the supernatural being, IKhwa; sidereal narratives in which personifications of celestial bodies appear as characters; animal narratives, concerning the deeds of an early race of people, most of whom bear the names of the animals they were said to have later become; and narratives relating to the trickster /Kaggen. These texts display, to varying degrees, a range of features extending from conceptual templates traceable in other areas of /Xam culture, through social values and norms, and traditional fictive elements, to the narrative techniques of individual performers. The largest group of narratives concerned with a single character or group of characters is that concerned with the trickster, /Kaggen. Not only was /Kaggen a popular figure in /Xam narrative tradition, he was also believed in as a supernatural being who actively intervened in the lives of the /Xam. The beliefs and ritualistic practices relating to /Kaggen were situated in a complex of beliefs and practices surrounding the relationship between hunters and game animals. As a supernatural being /Kaggen had a dual personality. He was at once an incidental benefactor of mankind and a being who actively worked against the interests of hunters. In several ways his behaviour in the narratives represents a transformation into social terms of his position in the relationship between hunters and game animals. At the same time the duality of his supernatural role is also reflected in the structure and content of the narratives. While the stories concerning him are frequently light-hearted. They were also open to interpretations by individual narrators which could situate them deeply within a meaning system of utmost importance to the /Xam.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00033971
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:26
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/33971

Altmetric Data

Statistics

Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads since deposit
12Downloads
35Hits
Accesses by country - last 12 months
Accesses by referrer - last 12 months

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item