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Listen to a podcast of the event


The 2013 Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture will set out the history of the drastic and often violent dispossession of the peoples of the southern Kalahari. This is an area reached by the 1908 German wars of extermination against indigenous peoples, and where all the forces of colonial occupation have been brought to bear.

For the San living within South Africa, the apartheid regime meant a final eviction from their last remaining lands. This meant that the ‡Khomani became a diaspora of people without rights to land, work or even a place to live; refugees in what was supposed to be their own country. In 1999, a small group of ‡Khomani San succeeded in winning a land claim, as a result of which many were deemed to have rights to land and places to live in new security.

The lecture follows the events and aftermath of this land claim, looking at how a settlement might achieve justice but may not necessarily bring well-being. The short film included as part of the lecture follows the people as they launch and then celebrate their claim.

About the speaker

Hugh Brody is an anthropologist, film-maker and writer. He worked in the High Arctic in the 1970s, where he immersed himself in the daily life of Inuit who lived in government settlements yet spent much of their time on the land. He has been involved in land rights and aboriginal research in the USA, India, Australia and Southern Africa, as well as across Canada.

His books include Maps And Dreams and Living Arctic and The Other Side of Eden. His films include Nineteen Nineteen, Time Immemorial, The Washing of Tears, Hunters and Bombers, Inside Australia and The Meaning of Life.

His most recent research and filming has been in the southern Kalahari in South Africa and is centred on the land claim, heritage and languages of the ‡Khomani San.

Hugh Brody is an Associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, and holds the Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada.