Reshaping Remembrance ~ The Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal

For the average language user, a dictionary is something that you do not argue with, that you rely on with varying levels of success to regain lost knowledge, for help with crossword puzzles and that you sometimes, very successfully, use to press flowers or as a doorstop. But despite the nature of the use of a dictionary – whether it is in fulfilling its genuine purpose or not – the typical user sees the dictionary as an authoritative container of grammatical and other information that provides the holy truth. That’s why in spoken language people do not refer to ‘a dictionary’ but to ‘the dictionary’ – almost like The Bible. Not everybody is aware of the existence of a variety of dictionary types, each having to comply with its own typological criteria and help a specific target user group in a particular way to meet their specific needs in accordance with their research skills. One particular dictionary can’t be everything for everybody – that is something that dictionary users often have to be reminded of. The fact that each specific dictionary has a distinct role in the recording and reproduction of language is also seldom emphasised. Moreover, the fact that between the wealth of dictionaries there is one which can be seen as the crown jewel of the dictionary family is also not always recognised. This jewel is the comprehensive explanatory dictionary, and in Afrikaans this typological place is occupied by the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (Dictionary of the Afrikaans Language), commonly known as the WAT.

The WAT as comprehensive dictionary is a source of information – as supplement, as affirmation and often also as reminder. But as Afrikaans source of reminding it is not only the content of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal that is relevant, but the history of this dictionary as well that calls one’s attention to numerous places of remembrance. As far as the content of the WAT is concerned, one must take note of the fact that a comprehensive dictionary typically consists of multiple volumes compiled over decades – for example, it took 148 years to complete the comprehensive Het Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal (The Dictionary of the Dutch Language). The comprehensiveness of such a dictionary lies in its choice of items included for treatment, in the variety of data types that are treated in the dictionary as well as the nature and the extent of their treatment. The comprehensiveness with regard to the choice of words brings about the fact that such a dictionary includes a lot of words and phrases for treatment and in that way makes the user aware of various old and lesserknown language forms. The dictionary becomes a recollection of bygone and less ordinary language use; this is what the WAT is par excellence. In his reaction to a very negative discussion of his Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of 1961 in Life magazine, a discussion which, like many others, condemned this dictionary for not being prescriptive enough, the American lexicographer Philip Gove said the following:
The responsibility of a dictionary is to record language, not set its style. For us to attempt to prescribe language would be like Life reporting the news as its editors would prefer it to happen.
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Colonial Film Database ~ Moving Images of the British Empire

Welcome to Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire. This website holds detailed information on over 6000 films showing images of life in the British colonies. Over 150 films are available for viewing online. You can search or browse for films by country, date, topic, or keyword. Over 350 of the most important films in the catalogue are presented with extensive critical notes written by our academic research team.

The Colonial Film project united universities (Birkbeck and University College London) and archives (British Film Institute, Imperial War Museum and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum) to create a new catalogue of films relating to the British Empire. The ambition of this website is to allow both colonizers and colonized to understand better the truths of Empire.

Take a look:


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The Nigerian-Biafran War

May 30 2017 marks the 50th birthday of the declaration of independence of the republic of Biafra, leading up to a 30-month civil war between federal Nigerian troops and the (Igbo) secessionists. On the occasion of this anniversary, the Library, Documentation and Information Department at the African Studies Centre in Leiden (ASCL) has compiled a web dossier on the Nigerian Civil War (1967–1970), also known as the Biafran War.

Far from being an exhaustive or even representative overview of the record of scholarship that has appeared on this topic, this dossier is an attempt to highlight different discourses reflected in the ASCL Library’s collection. After the introduction, section 2 presents a selection of publications on the war, ranging from a 1967 propaganda leaflet by the Nigerian government of information (Unity in Diversity) to a 2016 article on ‘the tensions in Nigeria-Biafra war discourses’.  A highlight of this section is a collection of student essays on the civil war written in 1971 at the Toro teacher’s college. The cahiers were donated by their teacher, Aart Rietveld. Noteworthy is also the civil war chapters in the textbook series on civics and history for primary schools.

The third section deals with fictional accounts, personal narratives and poetry on the Biafran conflict, illustrating how much more literature there is than the (rightly famous) writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa, Adichie and Achebe.

Sections 4,5 and 6 capture the conflict through the biographical lenses of key actors. Writings by and about the two political protagonists, General Gowon (Nigerian head of state 1966–1975) and General Ojukwu (president of Biafra 1967–1971), give an insight into the federal and Igbo perspectives of the conflict. The third person chosen for this biographical section is the Yoruba nationalist Obafemi Awolowo, who was active as Federal Commissioner for  Finance in Gowon’s cabinet during the war. Chinua Achebe portrays Awolowo as the architect of the starvation policy meant to crush the Igbo defence: “It is my impression that Chief Obafemi Awolowo was driven by an overriding ambition for power, for himself in particular and for the advancement of his Yoruba people in general. […] In the Biafran case it meant hatching up a diabolical policy to reduce the numbers of his enemies significantly through starvation […].”(There was a country, p. 233). This view contrasts strongly with the almost hagiographic accounts of “the man of courage , wisdom, reason and vision” (according to Moses Makinde).

The dossier is concluded with a selection of  web resources and is introduced by former LeidenASA fellow Jays Julius-Adeoye, who recently published ‘The Nigeria-Biafra war, popular culture and agitation for sovereignty of Biafra nation’ in the ASCL working paper series.

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Omrop Fryslân ~ Niet geknecht ~ It ferhaal fan it Friesch Dagblad yn de Twadde Wrâldoarloch

Wat soesto as nijsmedium dwaan yn tiden fan oarloch? Hoe hâldst dy steande en hoe fier giest mei yn wat de besetter wol, sûnder datst dyn prinsipen los litst? It is wêr’t it Friesch Dagblad yn de Twadde Wrâldoarloch mei wraksele, lykas alle kranten yn Nederlân yn dy tiid. As iennige deiblêd hie it Friesch Dagblad de moed om de krante stop te setten yn 1941.

Ien fan de ferslachjouwers en plakferfangend haadredakteur by it Friesch Dagblad út dy tiid, Jan de Haan, hat as in deiboekferslach de ûntwikkelingen stap foar stap beskreaun. Hoe’t de krante hieltyd mear ûnder druk fan de Dútsers setten wurdt en hoe’t de meiwurkers dêr nachts wekker fan lizze. De dilemma’s dêr’t se mei te krijen hawwe en hoe’t dêr oer diskusjearre wurdt. Hoe’t der drige wurdt mei in ferbod op it útbringen fan de krante en it gefaar dat se op in stuit rinne om arrestearre te wurden. En dan hoe’t de krante him ‘niet geknecht’ wurde lit en de ear oan himsels hâldt troch de krante stop te setten.

De oantekeningen waarden nei de oarloch oardene en as brosjuere útbrocht: ‘Niet geknecht’. It Friesch Dagblad en Omrop Fryslân hawwe yn oparbeidzjen mei-inoar in film makke fan it ferhaal. De taal en wurden dy’t De Haan brûkt hat yn syn ferhaal, binne tekenjend foar de tiid en it grifformearde karakter fan it Friesch Dagblad fan doe, en hawwe liedend west foar it meitsjen fan de film. De orizjinele tekst is ynsprutsen troch Thijs Feenstra, dy’t we noch kenne as feedokter yn Baas Boppe Baas. De sênen binne tekene troch yllustrator Laurens Bontes fan Ljouwert. Dêrneist is der in nije útjefte makke fan de brosjuere, mei tekeningen út de film en in neiwurd fan Lútsen Kooistra, útsprutsen op syn ôfskied as haadredakteur fan it Friesch Dagblad op freed 21 april.

Sjoch ek:

Het verhaal van het Friesch Dagblad in de Tweede Wereldoorlog

Wat zou jij als nieuwsmedium doen in tijden van oorlog? Hoe houd je je staande en hoe ver ga je mee in wat de bezetter wil, zonder dat je je principes loslaat? Daarmee worstelde het Friesch Dagblad in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, net als alle kranten in Nederland in die tijd. Als enige dagblad had het Friesch Dagblad de moed om de krant stop te zetten in 1941. Omrop Fryslân maakte een film bij het verhaal, die zaterdag 22 april is uitgezonden.

Een van de verslaggevers en plaatsvervangend hoofdredacteur van het Friesch Dagblad uit die tijd, Jan de Haan, heeft als een dagboekverslag de ontwikkelingen stap voor stap beschreven. Hoe de krant steeds meer onder druk van de Duitsers wordt gezet en hoe de medewerkers daar ’s nachts wakker van liggen. De dilemma’s waar ze mee te maken hebben en hoe daar over gediscussieerd wordt. Hoe er gedreigd wordt met een verbod op het uitbrengen van de krant en het gevaar dat ze op een gegeven moment lopen om gearresteerd te worden. En dan hoe de krant zich ‘niet geknecht’ laat worden en de eer aan zichzelf houdt door de krant stop te zetten.

De aantekeningen werden na de oorlog geordend en als brochure uitgegeven: ‘Niet geknecht’. Het Friesch Dagblad en Omrop Fryslân hebben samen een film gemaakt van het verhaal. De taal en woorden die De Haan gebruikt heeft in zijn verhaal, zijn tekenend voor de tijd en het gereformeerde karakter van het Friesch Dagblad van toen, en zijn leidend geweest voor het maken van de film. De originele tekst is ingesproken door Thijs Feenstra, die we nog kennen als veearts in Baas Boppe Baas. De scènes zijn getekend door illustrator Laurens Bontes uit Leeuwarden. Tevens is er een heruitgave gemaakt van de brochure, met tekeningen uit de film en een nawoord van Lútsen Kooistra, dat ook wordt uitgesproken tijdens zijn afscheid als hoofdredacteur van het Friesch Dagblad op vrijdag 21 april.

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The Vrije Universiteit And South Africa, From 1880 To The Present And Towards The Future: Images, Practice And Policies ~ Contents

SAVUSA POEM Proceedings, Volume 1 – Rozenberg Publishers 2005 – ISBN 90 5170 587 5 – Soon complete online


Part I: – The history of the relationship between the Vrije Universiteit and South Africa
* Introduction – Gerrit Schutte & Harry Wels
* The Vrije Universiteit & South Africa: 125 years of sentiments and good faith – Gerrit Schutte
* The Vrije Universiteit and South Africa since 1972: Political and organisational developments – Harry Brinkman
* Can ‘new’ meet ‘old’? VU-South Africa, 1976-present: Development cooperation in Southern Africa – Kees van Dongen & Leo de Feiter

Part II: A ‘new’ science for a ‘new’ South Africa: four current academic projects
* A ‘new’ history for a ‘new’ South Africa – Gerrit Schutte
* ANNA and a ‘new’ lexicography for South Africa – Willy Martin
* A ‘new’ literature – Ena Jansen
* A new size of theology for a new South Africa – Bram van de Beek

Part III: A ‘new’ science for a ‘new’ South Africa: Reflections
* South Africa-VU: The meaning of traditions for future VU-policy in South Africa? – Carools Reineke
* Some trends in South African academic history: Changing contexts and challenges – Albert Grundlingh
* Political studies in South Africa. A personal perspective – Tom Lodge
* Stimulating research futures – Tessa Marcus
* International R&D cooperation with South Africa – Selected policy perspectives – Hendrik C. Marais’
* ‘New’ scientific practice in South Africa with special reference to land reform – Flip Smit
* The changing Higher Education landscape in South Africa – Daniel Ncayiyana
* Good neighbours and far friends; The Netherlands, Europe and South Africa – Peter Nijkamp

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Marijke Gijswijt‐Hofstra (Ed.& transl.) ~ Among The Mende In Sierra Leone: The Letters From Sjoerd Hofstra (1934-36)

This book offers a unique look behind the scenes of anthropological fieldwork amongst the Mende in Sierra Leone in the mid-1930s. The Dutch anthropologist and sociologist Sjoerd Hofstra (1898-1983), Rockefeller research fellow of the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures and one of Bronislaw Malinowski’s three ‘Mandarins’ (as were also Meyer Fortes and S. Frederick Nadel), reports in long, bi-weekly letters to his adoptive mother about his experiences with the Mende. During his first stay in Sierra Leone (January 1934 – March 1935), Hofstra got blackwater fever, a complication of malaria tropica. His second stay (May – September 1936) came to an untimely end because he again developed symptoms of blackwater fever and was advised to return to Europe. Because of this his fieldwork remained unfinished, and Hofstra never got round to publishing the planned book on the Mende. However, Hofstra published four articles on the Mende in English, photocopies of which are included in this book. Next to these articles Hofstra’s letters to his adoptive mother contain valuable first-hand information about his fieldwork. His daughter, cultural and social historian Marijke Gijswijt-Hofstra, has edited and translated these letters, while also including contextual information.

ASC Occasional Publication 19 – ISBN: 978‐90‐5448‐138‐6 – 2014

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