South Africa Report:
Focusing on the International Conference in Cederberg


Takada Akira
Associate Professor
Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies
Kyoto University


From March 23 to 29, 2017, I attended the international conference “KBA phonological typology meeting and Riezlern symposium 6” in Cederberg, South Africa. I also had a research meeting regarding the reorganization of African area studies paradigms accompanying globalization with Matthias Brenzinger, director of the Centre for African Language Diversity (CALDi), which is the counterpart at University of Cape Town (UCT) for this research project, and others.


Cederberg is a mountainous area on the outskirts of Cape Town (Image 1). Here, there are many rock paintings thought to have been created by the ancestors of those who speak the Khosain languages (Image 2). Cederberg is also known as one of South African’s leading wine- and orange-producing areas. Linguists, anthropologists, and African area studies scholars carrying out research on Khosain languages and their societies gathered from around the world for this international conference.


Image 1: Cederberg’s gorgeous scenery.


Image 2: A rock painting in Cederberg’s mountainous area.


At this international conference, experts presented their latest research findings on phonetics, morphosyntax, pragmatics, communication theory, and developmental project related to the Khosain languages. This was a precious opportunity for Khosain languages scholars, who normally carry out their research separately around the world, to meet and engage in intensive discussions, including focused ones regarding the accumulated data on the Khosain languages. My presentation was titled “Reconsidering Regional Structural ComparisonW.” Maruyama Junko, who was sent to the conference as a young scholar from this project, delivered a presentation titled “Changes of Personal Names Among Gǀui and G‖ana San and Their Socio-historical Contact with Neighboring Nharo San.”


The exchange of information and arrangements regarding the joint research being carried out between Kyoto University and UCT, as well as the future activities to be conducted, was held with director Matthias Brenzinger and Sheena Shah (formerly a CALDi postdoctoral researcher, currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of London’s SOAS) (Image 3).


Image 3: CALDI Director Matthias Brenzinger.


The knowledge acquired from these discussions—particularly regarding the comparison between the regions of the Khosain languages and how they can be applied to social development—will be extremely useful for this project’s further growth. I would like to pursue such possibilities at this project’s December 2017 international symposium as well as in subsequent joint research efforts with UCT. Another significant outcome of this trip was the prospect of constructing networks with the scholars that I met for the first time at this international conference.