The University of Cape Town (UCT) has launched a Khoi and San Centre and plans to develop an undergraduate programme offered in the indigenous language of Khoekhoegowab in the next five years.
“The centre will foreground erased or marginalised indigenous knowledge, rituals, language and “ways of knowing” of the San and Khoi clans across the university and its communities. Many of their descendants still live in communities across the Cape Flats – and many are students, staff and graduates of the university,” the university says.
UCT’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, says that the Centre will also develop a digital archive on South African minoritised languages.
The launch of the Centre is part of the university’s Vision 2030 transformation strategy.
“Vision 2030 challenges UCT’s colonial and apartheid history by affirming UCT’s African identity, reclaiming African agency and committing to the future of the continent as a global African university,” Phakeng says.
Phakeng also acknowledged the ancestral land that the university occupies, adding that there is clear evidence that all the land the campuses are built on, were once land that belonged to the Khoi and San. She says that it is a painful truth of the architecture of the university as many indigenes who were dispossessed of their land have been forced to live in poverty.
The university says that the Khoi and San Centre will be a permanent feature and it plans to host various programmes, exhibitions and conferences to restore the lives of the ancestors who lived on the slopes of the mountains.