From the book: Kora: A Lost Khoisan Language of the early Cape and the Gariep by Menán du Plessis

This project has been beset throughout by many difficulties, so that it has taken far longer to bring it to fruition than initially expected. This makes me all the more grateful for the tolerance that has come my way from members of the Koranna and Griqua community in Bloemfontein in whose midst the book was first conceived; and for the patience and loyal support I have been blessed to receive from my dear husband Renfrew, and our two adored daughters, Camilla and Aurora. Apart from the members of my own small family, my staunchest supporters were my mother Frerna and my beloved brother Marius; and I know how proud they would have been to see this work finished.

I have been fortunate to find a warmly supportive academic home as a Research Associate in the Department of General Linguistics at Stellenbosch University since 2013, and for their gracious collegiality I am deeply grateful to Christine Anthonissen, Johan Oosthuizen and Frenette Southwood.

The project could not have been completed without financial support, and for this I am most thankful to the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, who in 2011 awarded us a small grant for the purpose of carrying out the critically urgent fieldwork component of the project. Greatly needed additional support came from Mark Kornbluh, the Dean of Arts and Science at the University of Kentucky, in the form of an invitation to spend a semester there in the Department of Linguistics as a Visiting Professor in 2015.

In the absence of any other practical support, I have largely been sustained by the unflagging kindness and encouragement of good friends and colleagues. I believe they know who they are, but the list certainly includes Roger Lass, Anne Solomon, the members of the Qing-Orpen Project (John Wright, Jill Weintroub, José-Manuel de Prada Samper, Jeremy Hollmann and Justine Wintjes), Erin Pretorius, Kate Huddlestone, Alex Andrason, Erica George, Bonny Sands, and Kerry Jones; as well as Horst Kleinschmidt and Christine Crowley, Geoff Budlender and Aninka Claassens, Stephen Laufer, Barbara Nurse, Colin and Agnes Darch, and Sheila Barsel. Hospitable friends who made our stay in Kentucky a thoroughly enjoyable experience include Mark Kornbluh and Mimi Behar, Andrew Hippisley, Mel Coffee, Carol Wilcher, Kathi Kern, Kate Black, Sue Roberts and her family, Lisa Cligget and her family, Steve and Joanna Davis, and Stan Brunn. Of course there are a great many others, and I hope none will be offended if I have omitted a name through the poorness of my own memory.

I am most grateful also to Hetta Pieterse and Sharon Boshoff at Unisa Press for their enthusiastic interest in the project, and to my old comrade Omar Badsha at SA History Online, whose offer to assist with the electronic aspects of the publication came at a time when my spirits were once again at a low ebb.


The publishers and I are indebted to the representatives of institutions and publishing houses who have most graciously granted permission for the reproduction of texts and other material from various previous publications, as follows:

  • Lee-Ann Anderson, Permissions & Licensing Administrator (Journals) at the Taylor and Francis Group, on behalf of the University of the Witwatersrand, for permission to use texts collected by Louis F. Maingard, which appeared in two separate numbers of African Studies, as follows:

From Maingard, “Studies in Korana History, Customs and Language”, Bantu Studies 6, no 2 (1932): 103–161.

“An historical incident: conflict with the Briqua and San,” (Matiti and Teteb).
“The doro, or young men’s initiation school,” (Tabab, with Matiti, two versions).
“The !gam ||’aeb ceremony,” (Tabab, with Matiti, Teteb).
“The |habab, the young woman’s coming of age ceremony,” (Iis and Meis).
“From the story of Iis,” (Iis).
“Funeral of a chief (Teteb and Iis).
“Stone artefacts,” (Tatab, Teteb and Iis).
“Bows and arrows,” (D?uli, Matiti and Kheis).
“The making of the !goa !xarib (honey beer),” (Tabab).

From Maingard, “Korana texts from Bloemhof”, African Studies 26, no. 1 (1967): 43–46.

“The Soregos, or Sun-child,” (Kwalakwala and Tabab).
“The baboon and the quaggas,” (Meis and Kwalakwala).
“Courtship,”(Contributors not identified).
Soregus, or the mutual pact of friendship,” (Kheis and Saul van Neck).
“Peace will come (praise song),” (Mulukab).

  • Carol Kat on behalf of Stellenbosch University, for permission to draw on the wordlist compiled by Jan A. Engelbrecht and included by him in:

Engelbrecht,  “Studies oor Korannataal,” Annale van die Universiteit van Stellenbosch 6, ser. B, no. 2 (1928): 14–45.

  • Sally MacRoberts at the Brenthurst Library for permission to reproduce pages from the manuscript notebooks of Robert Gordon.
  • David Robinson, Manager of Heffers in Cambridge, for permission to use selected photographs, and the text “Aesop's Fable of the Wind and the Sun, retold in Kora” from:

Douglas Beach, The Phonetics of the Hottentot Language (Cambridge: Heffer, 1938), 191–192.

  • Anri van der Westhuizen, Manager Archives and Special Collections at the Unisa Library, for permission in principle to draw on the Lucy Lloyd notebooks that are physically housed in the L. F. Maingard Collection, within the Unisa Archives Manuscript Collection. This material was accessed online via the Digital Bleek and Lloyd website, which is maintained by the Lucy Lloyd Archive, Resource and Exhibition Centre, at the Centre for Curating the Archive, University of Cape Town. (
  • Thanks also to Renate Meyer and Clive Kirkwood of the University of Cape Town Libraries’ Special Collections for advice and assistance concerning the use of the Lloyd notebooks.
  • For advice concerning various copyright issues, I am also most grateful to Colin Darch, Janetta van der Merwe (Project Director, Publishing Liaison Office, Cape Higher Education Consortium), and Carol Kat (Head, Copyright and Short Courses, Stellenbosch University).