Ethnography from the Mission Field

The Hoffmann Collection of Cultural Knowledge

In Ethnography from the Mission Field: The Hoffmann Collection of Cultural Knowledge Joubert et al. offer a translated and annotated edition of the 24 ethnographic articles by missionary Carl Hoffmann and his local interlocutors published between the years 1913 and 1958. The edition is introduced by a historic contextualisation using a cultural historical approach to analyse the contexts in which Hoffmann’s ethnographic texts were produced. Making use of historical material and Hoffmann’s own words from personal diaries and letters, the authors convincingly draw the attention to the discursive context in which the texts annotated in this book had been compiled. In a concluding chapter the book traces the captivating developments of the orthography of Northern Sotho through Hoffmann’s texts over almost half a century.

Brill has made the documentary film “A Journey into the Life of a Mission-Ethnographer” which is interlinked with this book available online via its online channels. To access it please click here.

The digital database of the “Hoffmann Collection of Cultural Knowledge” (HC-CK) can be accessed by clicking here. It is an amalgamation of digital scans, images and video footage relating to missionary Carl Hoffmann’s work and life on various mission stations, made available by the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.
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Biographical Note

Annekie Joubert, DLitt et Phil (2002), University of South Africa, is Lecturer for African Languages at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany) and Research Affiliate in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Pretoria (South Africa). She has published numerous scholarly articles on South Africa and is the author of The Power of Performance: Linking Past and Present in Hananwa and Lobedu Oral Literature (Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2004).

Gerrie Grobler, DLitt et Phil (1990) University of South Africa, is a retired professor of African Languages from the same university. He has published numerous scholarly articles on Northern Sotho literature and folklore, and contributed to various dictionaries of the language.

Inge Kosch, DLitt et Phil (1991), University of South Africa, is Professor of African Languages at the same university. She published book chapters and articles on Northern Sotho linguistics and is the author of Topics in Morphology in the African Language Context (Pretoria: Unisa Press, 2006).

Lize Kriel, D. Phil. (2002), University of Pretoria, is Associate Professor for Visual Culture Studies in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Pretoria. She studies written, print and reading cultures in the context of colonial southern Africa and transcontinental missionary networks. She is the author of The Malaboch Books. Kgalusi in the civilization of the written word (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2009).

Contributors are: Annekie Joubert, Gerrie Grobler, Inge Kosch and Lize Kriel.

Review Quotes

The ambitious publication project under review here has the potential of creating a novel genre of presenting transcultural perspectives in mission studies, documenting fragmented archive resources and optimizing interdisciplinary research perspectives. (...) this project represent an exemplary elaboration of a multi-faceted concept to access, explore, and distribute archive sources. The project establishes links between oral and published history, and interests of present day users of the archive sources. Andreas Heuser, in Interkulturell Theologie 4/2016.

Occasionally, missionary writers have transcended the limitations of their focused calling and written deeply sympathetic, evocative treatises that permit people to speak for themselves, thus valorizing perspectives that may differ from those of the expatriates, however well intentioned most missionaries were and are. As editor Joubert (Humboldt Univ. of Berlin) and her collaborators make clear, Carl Hoffmann (1868–1962) was one such missionary. In over 1,000 pages and an accompanying film, Sotho people of the Transvaal, South Africa, present nuances of their intellect and daily lives in great detail. This trove offers introductory essays and matches Sotho texts with English translations. It will attract a few scholars but, more important, it should serve Sotho interests as the wisdom of elders contributes to contemporary heritage politics.(...) Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, faculty, specialists. - A. F. Roberts, University of California, Los Angeles, in Choice 2016.

Taken as a whole, the project is a remarkable effort to preserve and make accessible important archival materials from an understudied place and time. Thoughtfully contextualized and assembled, the book and database will no doubt serve as a valuable scholarly resource for years
to come.
- Oliver Charbonneau, Western University, in Itinerario 39.3 (2015).

For its part, the Hoffman book does not just present a body of inert texts waiting to be plundered for “facts” by the researcher; it is a book which requires the researcher to work with it, to engage with it intellectually. It opens up numbers of different avenues for active scholarly discussion. - Professor John Wright, University of Cape Town, published on the web site of Archive & Public Culture Research Initiative 2015.

Table of contents

Contents
Preface
Acknowledgements
Summarised Preview

Introduction
In and from the Field: A Journey into the Life of a ‘Mission-Ethnographer’ and his Co-Producers
Annekie Joubert

1. Introduction
2. Visual systems as an integral part of research and presentation
3. Biographical filmmaking
4. Databank

Part 1
Historic Contextualisation
Lize Kriel

1. Introduction
2. Knowledge production in a Christian missionary context
3. Becoming a missionary: Hoffmann’s inspiration and motivation
4. Missionising and Afrikanistik
5. Hoffmann in the field: government agent, ethnographer, proselytiser, guest
6. Hoffmann and anthropology: his position and his reception
7. The particular case of the missionary anthropologist
8. Hoffmann’s interlocutors
9. Genealogy of the ethnological publications
9.1. The folktales
9.2. The Woodbush articles (Articles 1–2 and 7–18)
9.3. The “Northen Transvaal” articles (Articles 19–24)
10. Conclusion

Part 2
Corpus of Hoffmann’s Ethnographic Articles
Inge Kosch, Gerrie Grobler, Annekie Joubert

1. Introduction
2. The phenomenon of co-production in Hoffmann’s corpus of ethnographic writings
3. Translating from German into English
4. Annotating the ethnographic corpus

Rites of Passage

Article 1
Engagement and Marriage among the Sotho People in the Woodbush Mountains of the Transvaal – Peeletšo le lenyalo Basothong ba Lebowa ba Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala (1913)

Article 2
The Initiation School of the Sotho People in the Woodbush Mountains of the Transvaal – Koma ya banna ya Basotho ba Lebowa ba Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala (1915)

Folklore: Stories from the Transvaal

Article 3
Folktales and Stories of the Natives in Northern Transvaal – Dinonwane le dikanegelo tša Basotho ba Lebowa (1915)

Article 4
Folktales and Stories of the Natives in Northern Transvaal – Dinonwane le dikanegelo tša Basotho ba Lebowa (1916)

Article 5
Folktales and Stories of the Natives in Northern Transvaal – Dinonwane le dikanegelo tša Basotho ba Lebowa (1916)

Article 6
Folktales and Stories of the Natives in Northern Transvaal – Dinonwane le dikanegelo tša Basotho ba Lebowa (1916)

Mother and Child

Article 7
Sotho Texts from the Woodbush Mountains in the Transvaal – Dingwalwa tša Sesotho tše di tšwago Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala (1928)

Witchcraft, Gods, Prophets, Spirits and Totems

Article 8
Sotho Texts from the Woodbush Mountains in the Transvaal – Dingwalwa tša Sesotho tše di tšwago Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala (1928/29)

Article 9
Sotho Texts from the Woodbush Mountains in the Transvaal: Totems and Prohibitions – Dingwalwa tša Sesotho tše di tšwago Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala: Meano le Dikganetšo (1920/31)

Article 10
Sotho Texts from the Woodbush Mountains in the Transvaal: Spirits That Are with Some Stones and Other Things and Witchcraft – Dingwalwa tša Sesotho tše di tšwago Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala: Moya wo o nago le maswika a mangwe le ge e le dilo tše dingwe le boloi (1931/32)

Article 11
Sotho Texts from the Woodbush Mountains in the Transvaal: The Soul in Death and after Death – Dingwalwa tša Sesotho tše di tšwago Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala: Moya wa motho mohlang wa lehu le ka morago ga lehu (1932)

Land, Laws and Punishment

Article 12
Sotho Texts from the Woodbush Mountains in the Transvaal: Legal Practices of the Northern Sotho People – Dingwalwa tša Sesotho tše di tšwago Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala: Tirišo ya melao ya Basotho ba Lebowa (1933/34)

Article 13
Sotho Texts from the Woodbush Mountains in the Transvaal: Legal Practices of the Northern Sotho People – Dingwalwa tša Sesotho tše di tšwago Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala: Tirišo ya melao ya Basotho ba Lebowa (1933/34)

Article 14
Sotho Texts from the Woodbush Mountains in the Transvaal: Legal Practices of the Northern Sotho People – Dingwalwa tša Sesotho tše di tšwago Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala: Tirišo ya melao ya Basotho ba Lebowa (1933/34)

Article 15
Sotho Texts from the Woodbush Mountains in the Transvaal: Legal Practices of the Northern Sotho People – Dingwalwa tša Sesotho tše di tšwago Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala: Tirišo ya melao ya Basotho ba Lebowa (1933/34)

People, Politics and Government

Article 16
Sotho Texts from the Woodbush Mountains in the Transvaal: Political Organisation – Dingwalwa tša Sesotho tše di tšwago Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala: Peakanyo ya borerapušo (1937/38)

Article 17
Sotho Texts from the Woodbush Mountains in the Transvaal: Political Organisation – Dingwalwa tša Sesotho tše di tšwago Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala: Peakanyo ya borerapušo (1937/38)

Article 18
Sotho Texts from the Woodbush Mountains in the Transvaal: Political Organisation – Dingwalwa tša Sesotho tše di tšwago Dithabeng tša Woodbush go la Transfala: Peakanyo ya borerapušo (1937/38)

Home, Habits and Conduct

Article 19
Customs and Traditions of the Sotho People in Northern Transvaal – Mekgwa le botlwaelo bja Basotho ba Transfala-Lebowa (1956)

Article 20
Customs and Traditions of the Sotho People in Northern Transvaal – Mekgwa le botlwaelo bja Basotho ba Transfala-Lebowa (1956)

Article 21
Customs and Traditions of the Sotho People in Northern Transvaal – Mekgwa le botlwaelo bja Basotho ba Transfala-Lebowa (1957)

Article 22
Customs and Traditions of the Sotho People in Northern Transvaal – Mekgwa le botlwaelo bja Basotho ba Transfala-Lebowa (1957)

Article 23
Customs and Traditions of the Sotho People in Northern Transvaal – Mekgwa le botlwaelo bja Basotho ba Transfala-Lebowa (1958)

Article 24
Customs and Traditions of the Sotho People in Northern Transvaal – Mekgwa le botlwaelo bja Basotho ba Transfala-Lebowa (1958)

Obituary

E. Kähler-Meyer, In Remembrance of Missionary C. Hoffmann (1963)

Part 3
Orthographic Developments and Grammatical Observations
Inge Kosch

1. Notes on orthography and spelling conventions
1.1. Background to the orthographical development of Northern Sotho
1.2. Active participation at decision-making level
1.3. Phases in the development of the orthography
1.3.1. Phase I (Articles 1–6): 1913–1916
1.3.2. Phase II (Articles 7–10): 1928–1932
1.3.3. Phase III (Articles 11–18): 1932–1938
1.3.4. Phase IV (Articles 19–24): 1956–1958
1.4. Observations regarding spelling conventions
1.4.1. Spacing
1.4.2. Capitalisation
1.4.3. Vowels
1.4.4. Hyphens
1.4.5. Diacritics
1.4.6. Rendering of Northern Sotho words for German readership
1.5. Phonological processes
2. Grammatical observations
2.1. Pronouns
2.1.1. Absolute pronouns
2.1.2. Demonstrative pronouns
2.2. Adjectival and verbal relative constructions
2.3. Verbal forms
2.3.1. Participial form
2.3.2. Consecutive form
2.3.3. Indicative form
2.4. Reflexive prefix
2.5. Locative suffix
3. Syntactic devices
4. Notes on lexical peculiarities
4.1. Non-standard spelling
4.2. Dialectical forms
4.3. Semantic bleaching

List of Contributors
References
Index

Appendix
(Maps, Drawings and Photos)

Information

Collection Information