The Gathering Bag

The Gathering Bag brings together ten traditional narratives originally told in the ancient !xun language, passed on by word of mouth for generations. These dramatic stories feature courageous, powerful women and smart, quick-witted girl children, set in the pre-colonial wilderness around the Okavango River and Namib Desert areas in southern Africa. Since then, many of the San people’s wild places have been destroyed. The people have been hunted and pushed to the margins of society, but the stories survive while new narratives are woven from the changing patterns in society.

The Gathering Bag tells the story of how the group of !xun San storytellers, refugees from war- torn Angola, told their traditional stories to Marlene Sullivan Winberg over a period of three decades and what happened when Sue Hollingsworth released the stories to women storytellers from around the world during the Covid 19 pandemic.

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!Nanni's Sketchbook

!nanni’s Sketchbook - annotations of loss and abundance celebrates a 19th century collection of children’s narratives, drawings and paintings made by the Namibian !kun child, !nanni and his three friends, Tamme, |uma and Da. This book illuminates their history and reconstructs the story of where they came from, how they were abducted, sold to various masters and ended up in the Cape colonial home of linguist Lucy Lloyd - where they made the collection with her. The author explores the children's visual and verbal trauma narratives and demonstrates how the telling of their stories, their paintings and drawings facilitated their healing.

The !kun children’s archive is part of the larger Bleek and Lloyd Collection – entered in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

Manyeka Books

Kapilolo's Kulimatji

In this remarkable book, Kapilolo’s Kulimatji – a !xun San storyteller’s memoir, Kapilolo Mario Mahongo recounts for the first time from an indigenous perspective, the heart-rending results for his family and San compatriots of their involvement in the independence wars against Portugal and South Africa in Angola and Namibia. Mahongo is one of the unsung heroes amongst indigenous San in southern Africa as they continue the struggle to survive and retain their identity, culture and languages far from the place of their birth.

Kapilolo’s Kulimatji – a !xun San storyteller’s memoir, told to narrative therapy practitioner and editor, Dr Marlene Sullivan Winberg, between 1994 and 2017 and accompanied by her own account of the circumstances that led to her 23-year friendship with Mahongo, is an emotionally charged book and a welcome new genre for southern African indigenous literature (Dr Janette Deacon).

Manyeka Books

Children's Books

A series of 6 children's books with indigenous San stories and illustrations by !xun artists and storytellers themselves.

You can find these as free ebooks on the African Story Book website and order hard copies from the Manyeka Arts Trust.

Manyeka Books

Back To The Land

Text by Marlene Winberg

Photographs by Paul Weinberg

With an introductory essay by Achmat Dangor

In 1994, people began to return to land in rural South Africa they had lost under apartheid. This book chronicles that process and other related aspects of the South African government’s land reform programme between 1994 and 1996. It allows the voices of the marginalised people to be heard beyond their own communities.

The Storyteller

The Storyteller is a collection of traditional narratives from the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango River villages in Botswana. It was made when groups of young storytellers gathered in D’Kar and Shakawe to perform and record their family stories. Twenty-three tales were written in Naro, Khwedam, ||Anikhwedam, Ju|’hoansi, Thimbukushu, Otjiherero, ShiYei and English.

This collection is a reflection of a changing oral tradition where cultures meet and integrate; where computer technology exists alongside traditional healing, where people work in their small offices and libraries in the desert, quietly creating their own educational futures. It testifies to a younger generation’s capacity to record, write and translate their elders’ oral traditions.

This little book, enhanced by the work of the San artists at the Kuru Art Project in the Kalahari, honours the Botswana tradition of storytelling and the diversity of its language heritage.

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