Khoekhoegowab (Khoikhoi language) Revitalization Progress

Sat 10 May 2014

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Venue: Castle of Good Hope

Braving the early 2014 Winter cold and rain, a group of dedicated participants showed up for the Khoekhoegowab Learnership Programme. The good thing of have a dedicated venue/space is to accommodate late-comers, new recruits and walk-ins.

The lesson plan as set-out by the facilitator included singing, counting and sound exercises, and most importantly getting each participant involved.  The younger attendees showed the greatest proficiency during the early acquisition phases, although the older participants showed a broader understanding of the linguistics links with Afrikaans and Khoekhoegowab.

Priscilla De Wet who is a teacher by profession at the Morgenson Primary school in Hanover Park, brought along eager young learners anxious to master the basics of Khoekhoegowab.

Topics covered: Clicks, Alphabet, Vowels, Essentials and Greetings

Sat 17 May 2014

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Venue: Castle of Good Hope

A steady flow of people attended the Week 3 of the programme. Some of the participants informed the group that because of other commitments it will be difficult for them to attend every session.  Needless to say a dedicated inner-core group started emerging amongst the participants; very inquisitive and always asking questions.

Initial focus centred on learning a few songs, which included; Sada ge ra tsoatsoa (We beginning), Gangans Tsi (Thank You), /Gui-/Gam-!Nona (1,2,3…). It also became very clear that continues repetition would greatly help the participants to master the basics of the language. The beginning part of the Session was always set-out for revision.

Topics: Counting, Greetings and Hospitality

Sat 24 May 2014


Venue: Castle of Good Hope

The eager participation of especially the youths was by far the highlight of the Sessions. Gaining more confidence the participants were all too willing to practice their Khoekhoegowab proficiency when it came to greeting each other and making use of essentials like “thank you” and “please”. Some understandable areas of concern started coming to the fore including transport and attendance dilemmas, but a strong and reliable inner-core of participants started taking shape. Songs proofed to be the best way of getting everyone involved in a language exercises. The Management of the Castle of Good Hope informed me that due to previous venue bookings, the Allemans Barracks won’t be available for the language sessions for the following weeks. The first Assessment was also handed out as a means of home-work, making sure those participants spends some time with their books at home.

The structure of the Workshops was taking more shape, because the well-constructed methodology set in place by Mr. Pedro Dâusab’s material, Teach-yourself-Nama (Aitsama Namagowaba //khā//khāsen).

Topics: The Weather and Introducing-Yourself

Sat 31 May 2014

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Venue: Library

Due to the unavailability of the Castle of Good Hope, the Language sessions were moved to the Discussion Room in the Cape Town Central Library. The venue being located in the Library had obvious advantages like the easy accessibility of photo-copy machines, although it must be added that the small room without air-conditioning and limited space made learning somewhat difficult. Participants were cramped into a small room and some had to even sit on the ground due to limited seating.

Topic: Cultural nuances when greeting, Nouns, Singularity, duality and plurality

Sat 7 June 2014

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Venue: Garden in-front of the Castle

Unfortunately the Allemans Barracks in the Castle were booked for another event, which meant we had to make some other venue arrangements yet again. On pure impulse, the group collectively decided the make ourselves comfortable outside the Castle walls in the garden section in front of the entrance. The weather worked in our favour as the sun backed down on the participants’ young and old alike.

This session were primarily centered on revision making sure participants pronounce the words correctly. The jovial atmosphere amounted in the group learning the “Aba te” (Carry me) song to the delight of the children who took turns to carry one another on their backs while singing it. The real strength of the group is embedded in their ability to adapt to changing circumstances and the willingness to learn and also teach others. This was phenomenally displayed when Priscilla a teacher brought kids from Morgenster Primary school who over-heard the active young participants from the school during interval and was so moved that they attended the Language Session.


Sat 14 June 2014

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Venue: Library

This was the third week that the Castle Of Good Hope was unavailable for the Khoekhoegowab Sessions. The advantage of having a dedicated place for classes became more and more the key fundamental aspects around this Language Initiative. Besides for the obvious logistical benefits, it also affects the morale amongst the group.

Due to the Libraries policy of Silence Needless to say, as mentioned before the inner-core of the group really showed their steel by pushing through considering that Cape Town (//Hui !Gaeb) received a fare measure of rain on the day. The Silence Policy also restricted the group in term of not being able to sing and express themselves as freely that they did before at the Castle.

Topics: Classroom & Polite Phrases

Sat 21 June 2014

Venue: Library

Unfortunately, a minor misunderstanding around the situation with the keys of the Allemans Barracks made our return to the Castle of Good Hope impossible on the day. In addition the Discussion Rooms at the Central Library were also full booked and unavailable resulting in the group occupying a space in the study area of the Library. It became more and more clear that the dilemma with the venue has to some extend influenced the success and outcome of the Language Sessions.

Topics: Polite Phrases


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