88-year-old Chief Ouma Katrina Esau is alleged to be the last remaining South African who can speak the ancient Khoisan San language, N|uu.
According to a post by an account name ‘African Achieves’ on micro-blogging site Twitter, Chief Ouma Katrina Esau is the last of the ‘dying breed’ of speakers that actually speaks the ancient Khoisan San language, N|uu in South Africa.
Chief Ouma Katrina Esau is said to have been part of a group of four people who took it upon themselves to teach the next generation about the language. The rest of the three died a couple of years ago leaving Chief Ouma Katrina Esau as the ‘last man standing’.
She completed a long-run project of writing a book about the N|uu language titled Skilpad en Volstruis Tortoise and Ostrich in May 2021 by faced a lot of criticisms as many believe the title of the book is in Afrikaan.
The ancient Khoisan San language, N|uu is said to be about 25,000 years old and is believed to be one of the oldest languages on earth.
Of course, the post was met with a lot of controversies as many social media users seem to doubt the authenticity of the story and the age of the language. Check out some of the comments;
SᗯᗩᕼIᒪI~ᑭᑌᑎᗪ[email protected]·Replying to @Africa_ArchivesWe may be less than 10 people alive who can speak the ancient form of Kingozi Kiswahili, learnt from few of our grandparents who knew it via interactions, stories (ngano) and poems (tenzi). I am trying so hard to teach my daughter.
LovelyAnna [email protected]·The three others died a few years ago. Read her book you will see that they really did the hard work of archiving there language for future generations. UCT has started teaching the language