Restoring African Feminist Indigenous Knowledge in the Southern African Human Languages Technologies project
An action research case study of the San tsî Khoen Digital Archive 2020-2022
Keywords:endangered languages, African Feminist Indigenous Knowledge, human languages technologies, co-design, community partnership
The United Nations declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages[i] for the promotion of language development, peace, and reconciliation. One of the stated aims of the awareness campaign is the integration of indigenous languages into standard settings, bringing about empowerment through capacity building and through the elaboration of new knowledge. The San tsî Khoen Digital Languages Application & Archive is a project based in the San & Khoi Centre at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Established in 2020 and funded by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, it is informed by a co-design digital curation process with the community. The project archives the endangered and erased languages of the indigenous San and Khoi communities of southern Africa, with an initial focus on N|uu and Khoekhoegowab. To obtain this, the project integrates decolonial scholarship within a digital environment of human languages technologies that creates a visibility of not only erased and endangered languages but also indigenous African feminist knowledges that have been lacking in scholarship. Its co-design digital curation process challenges the insular and fragmented nature of academic output, thereby allowing for a greater degree of critical analysis. This action research and digital curation processes are not without its challenges, as co-creating knowledge in an attempted decolonial framework that aims to foreground African feminist knowledge in a region of historical linguicide that was subjected to epistemic violence, as a consequence of colonialism and neo-colonialism is in itself not without its various contestations. This paper critically discusses this collaborative research and co-design knowledge production process engaged with over a process of forty research workshops [ii], over the past two years. The analysis and discussion in this paper are derived from a thematic analysis of this co-design digital curation process facilitated by the San & Khoi Centre between 2020 and 2022.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 June Bam-Hutchison, Shamila Abrahams, Eshcha Adams
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.