Research

It's a double exposure for Unisa Press

The 2018 Hiddingh-Currie Award will be presented at the Research and Innovation awards ceremony on 6 March 2020 to Kora: A lost Khoisan language of the early Cape and the Gariep, by Dr Menán du Plessis, and Tiyo Soga: A literary history, by Joanne Ruth Davis.

This prestigious prize is an annual award to recognise Unisa Press books deemed to be of the highest academic merit and original scholarship.

Celebrating a linguistic heritage

Kora: A lost Khoisan language of the early Cape and the Gariep, by Dr Menán du Plessis, is described as a linguist’s paradise of an obscure language and it is for this reason that it created much interest among different communities soon after it was published. Du Plessis received many accolades for the publication after the initial book launch, as well as several offers to discuss her research relating to the book.

In one of her presentations she said that the language was assumed to be lost until a fellow researcher stumbled upon a few elderly people who were still fluent. Only two brief audio recordings were ever made (in the 1930s). The language was assumed to have disappeared by about the mid to late 1960s.

Late last year, the Department of Arts and Culture invited the author to present a paper relating to her research on Kora. This event was an important expression for all indigenous cultures and culture enthusiasts. In 2020, the author will be part of a panel with Denver van Breda and Deirdre Jantjies on 11 March at the 2020 Wordfest, in Makhanda.

Unisa Press co-published Kora: A lost Khoisan language of the early Cape and the Gariep with South African History Online and the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. As part of a cultural restitution project and of heritage importance, Unisa Press is proud to be associated with research work that holds such importance to the discipline.

Follow the link for more information on the book.

* By Innocentia Swanepoel, Marketing Officer, Unisa Press

Reshaping SA literary history

Tiyo "Zisani" Soga was a prominent yet little-studied 19th-century African intellectual. Born in 1831 in free Xhosa lands, the son of a counsellor to the Xhosa chief Ngqika, Soga completed his degree at the Andersonian Institute in Glasgow in 1854 and was ordained as a minister in the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1856. He returned to the Eastern Cape with his Scots bride, Janet, née Burnside, as an active minister, prolific writer and translator.

Tiyo Soga: A literary history, by Joanne Ruth Davis, offers a comprehensive study of Soga’s literary significance and his lasting relevance to African intellectualism, diaspora and theological studies. Davis presents fresh scholarship on Soga’s literary works. Her meticulous research has unearthed previously lost writings including speeches, letters and two grammatical treatises on the use of Xhosa in the translation of the Bible into Xhosa. In combination, these discoveries will contribute to reshaping South African literary history.

Davis explores the different representations of Soga in works by other scholars. She explains Soga’s pivotal role in the Xhosa Bible translation and offers innovative ways to read his writings. The volume incorporates a detailed list of appendices to facilitate further scholarship on Soga. Among these are facsimile copies of original documents, including university and baptism records, and the Soga family register.

Follow the link for more information on the book.

* By Dimakatso Malema, Marketing Officer, Unisa Press

Unisa’s Hiddingh-Currie award is a prestigious annual research prize for authors of published works within Unisa Press. The aim of the award is primarily to encourage and nourish specialised skills in academic research and scholarly publishing.

Named after Dr Willem Hiddingh, one of the first advocates in the Cape Colony, and Sir Donald Currie, an early benefactor of higher education in South Africa and the United Kingdom, the award specifies that the recipient must be an academic or artistic work of the highest quality. It should also contribute to the understanding or development of a discipline or work that addresses a specific need or problem in society. Contenders are drawn from the books published by Unisa Press in the previous year.

Worth R20 000, the Hiddingh-Currie Award encourages and nourishes specialised skills in academic research and scholarly publishing.

* Compiled by Sharon Farrell, Editor: Internal Communication, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2020/03/06