“A nation without language is voice-less and useless… Other people have their own languages. Why must my language be allowed to die? It must go on. As long as there are people, the language must go on.” – Ouma Katrina
The KhoiSan people of South Africa are calling for our help with a project that aims to preserve their language and culture. They need us. Their story is one of many examples of the atrocities Earth’s indigenous peoples have been made to suffer; they were the victims of a horrific genocide at the hands of colonists who also robbed them of their culture, traditions, language, and way of life. They’ve also suffered from corporate takeover, losing access to their own lands and then watching helplessly as they were destroyed. Since the Apartheid ended in 1994, the KhoiSan people have been demanding that their rights of culture, language, way of life, and lands be returned to them.
Today, after suffering through all of these atrocities and the heartbreaking loss of identity and culture through the process of globalization, there remain only three fluent speakers of the KhoiSan language in existence today. One of them is Ouma Katrina Esau.
Language is the foremost vessel of culture and tradition as is evident when attempting to translate idiomatic phases. Without the under pinning traditions, culture, and knowledge an idiom has no tether to context and therefore no meaning. “Language is the medium used to paint the history of a people through perpetuation of tradition and learned sensibilities.” (source)
Ouma Katrina Esau
As mentioned above, Ouma Katrina Esau is one of only three fluent speakers of the KhoiSan NU language alive today. Her people are directly descended from the first branching of the genealogical tree of man as we know it, and as such, their language may very well be the oldest on the planet. Researchers at Uppsala University published these findings in the journal Science Today in 2012.
“Our study shows that most people who self-identify as Khoe or San are descendants of the earliest diversification of the human genealogical tree.” – Lead author Carina Schlebusch from South Africa, a postdoctoral fellow at Uppsala University (source)
Miriam Delicado (founder of the Great Gathering Organization) has teamed up with the KhoiSan people to help preserve their language and culture; they are raising funds to enable the Khoisan to build a dedicated structure and buy needed supplies to teach their ancestral language.
“It is important to remember that the Khoi-San people were the most brutalized by colonists who tried to make them extinct, and undermined their language and identity. As a free and democratic South Africa today, we cannot ignore to correct the past For example, the mere use of their language was a crime and was punishable by death.” (source)
How You Can Help
The efforts by Ouma Katrina Esau have not gone unnoticed. For example, she received the UNUNTU award from the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Sello Hatang. The UBUNTU award is given in recognition of service to others and the community.
She also received the National Order of South Africa in April 2014.
We at Collective Evolution are happy to support, in any way we can, the KhoiSan and Ouma Katrina in their efforts to document, preserve, and teach the NU language, which will “lead to the preservation of their culture, ancestral identity, and traditional knowledge.
By supporting this project, we/you are supporting the preservation of the world’s oldest living language.
If you’d like to help out financially, you can GO HERE TO DONATE.
Learn more about Omau Katrina, the KhoiSan people, and NU language school HERE.
Anyone looking for more information about this project can contact Miriam Delicado at firstname.lastname@example.org