Collection, annotation, edition and publication of inaccessible texts and photos of the Northern Sotho people of South Africa as documented in the late 19th century by missionary Carl Adolf Gustav Hoffmann.

A huge collection of valuable information on the "Northern Sotho Indigenous Knowledge Systems", written down by the Berlin Missionaries since the middle of the 19th century, are stored in the Landeskirchliches Archiv in Berlin and various libraries in Germany and South Africa. The person who deserves the highest honours for collecting most of this valuable information is without doubt the Berlin missionary Carl Adolf Gustav Hoffmann, since he was responsible for building up half of the existing collection. Hoffmann, born in the town Zielenzig (Brandenburg) was not only interested in spreading the Gospel. He was an intellectual and a respected scholar in the fields of linguistics, literature, indigenous religion, ethics and culture. He created, between the years 1897 and 1943, an unrivalled and expansive archive of Northern Sotho cultural heritage. The top priority of this project is to recognise the Hoffmann Collection as a national treasure by presenting in book form and accompanying DVD, the astounding partnership between Northern Sotho speakers and Hoffmann, who dedicated his life in preserving the language and culture of the Northern Sotho people through his remarkable collection of essays, stories, interviews, notes, grammar books, monthly newsletters, church calendars, drawings and photographs. The research team will focus on the notion of intermediality, that seems to be apparent in this project. Working with material in the Hoffmann Collection that ranges from handwritten diaries and notes, oral transcriptions in an outdated orthography, printed essays, black and white analogue photographs, digital photos, as well as digital film, points at the confluence of media and intermedial spaces. The researchers will find themselves in-between and within the mixing of time, space, media as well as old and new realities - where the project itself will provide the "staging space" of intermediality. The project crosses institutional as well as international boundaries as it comprises a combined endeavour between research teams from the Seminar of African Studies (Northern Sotho section) at the Humboldt University Berlin, the University of South Africa (UNISA) and the University of Pretoria (UP) in South Africa, and the Evangelisches Landeskirchliches Archiv in Berlin.

Principal investigators
Joubert, Annekie Dr. (Details) (African Languages)

DFG: Sachbeihilfe

Duration of project
Start date: 03/2010
End date: 02/2012

Joubert, Annekie. Misjonarz Carl Adolf Gustav Hoffmann. 2011.
Nadwarcianski Rocznik Historyczno-Archiwalny 18: 275-277.

Last updated on 2022-09-09 at 01:08