This is the full collection of numbered tweets I published on Sunday 26 September, discussing the genocide of the Khoe-San in the South African [western] Cape. I published the series in response to a number of history-related conversations on Twitter – earlier threads challenging the existence of a ‘coloured’ identity in South Africa; and, later, responses questioning my deliberate use of the word ‘genocide’ when referring to the Khoe-San. There is a connection between these two histories.
These histories form integral parts of the history book I have spend the last few years writing (The Cape Town Book; Struik Travel & Heritage), and which will be released in October 2015. As I note in my introductory tweets, as I researched the story of Cape Town – which starts long, long before 1652 – I had to unlearn and re-learn many of my own supposedly educated assumptions. I also learned of many histories that were not, as far as I could establish, being discussed outside of certain academic circles.
I want to emphasis again that this thread is one of many histories that feed in to the question (which I believe history helps us at least discuss, if not answer) of ‘how did we get here?’. It is impossible to discuss or tell the history of Cape Town (or South Africa) without engaging with myriad thorny, brutal pasts.
The publication of my posts has provoked a lot of discomfort. Not only because of the content, but also because of my authorship. I welcome all of these discussions, whether the readers choose to engage with me or not.
[Author’s note: the term ‘Khoe-San’ is used in my tweets, and in my book, when referring to a common genetic people, sharing common language groups. This is as per the recommendation by WIMSA and based on the naming forms applied in papers authored by Himla Soodyall et al.]