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Thu May 28 08:03:11 SAST 2015

Only two speakers of South Africa's oldest San language left

Sapa | 18 January, 2013 08:18
A Khomani San woman, Ouma Quna Rooi, reminisces about walking across the Hankskeenpan, in the Kalahari, Northern Cape, South Africa, as a young girl. Katherine Muick. File picture.
Image by: Katherine Muick.

Only two people are left who can speak the oldest surviving San language of South Africa.

The Cape Times reported that Aenki Kassie, 71, who was one of only three people who spoke the N/uu language, died in Upington on January 7.

Her son said she died in hospital of chicken pox.

She was part of the Khomani people of the Kalahari desert, whose language became known to researchers in 1998 through a land claim which helped form the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Last March, Una Katriena Kassie Rooi, one of the four N/uu speakers died at the age of 81.

The Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee told the newspaper that Aenki Kassie was a great storyteller.

"She and her daughter co-operated with Unesco in conserving and promoting the oral heritage of the Khomani people of the Kalahari desert. May she rest in peace," the committee said.

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