Bushman (San) influence on Zulu place names

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 17
  • Abstract:

    English: The study is of concern to any reader interested in the development of indigenous South African languages and peoples, academics specialising in onomastics and all related disciplines, and politicians who take decisions on name changes. It would be advisable to give the study greater publicity in, for example, the cultural societies of the Bushmen (San) and the provincial and national Place Name Committees, rather than only in academic circles. The study fills a large gap in the understanding of the role of the Bushmen in the history of South Africa. It is a pioneering work with information that threatened to disappear into archives along with the results of earlier researchers. However, this information is presented in a new manner to recognise and preserve the cultural heritage of the Bushmen. The overwhelming phonetic data are presented systematically and with care in order to explain transfer, translation and tautological patterns. The reliability of the conclusion reached at each name that is discussed rests on the recognised onomastic technique followed by tracing the original meanings of each name. This technique enables one to determine whether there was a correlation between the toponymic motive or transfer and translation. This led to various explanations by taking into account folk etymological and oral transfer in the origins of the names. The sources used were indispensable and form the basis of the arguments. The contribution is a culmination of many years’ research in the field of Bushman culture. Knowledge of the complex Bushman language (which the author has) is not essential in order to appreciate its value. The scientific and academic merits of the study are reflected in the processing and analysis of the data at each name, resulting in a meaningful and elucidating conclusion (Reviewer 1: my translation, PER).