Fonds BC1143 - EOJ Westphal Papers

Reference code



EOJ Westphal Papers


  • 1953-1980 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

9 archival boxes of textual material; 3 trays of vocabulary index cards; 7 trays of tapes of sound recordings and a few additional tapes

Name of creator


Biographical history

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

After Prof. Westphal's death in 1990, Mr D Gowlett, also of the African Languages Department, collected up the papers of Professor Westphal that remained there, and with Mrs Westphal’s permission donated them to UCT Libraries.

Scope and content

An incomplete set of Professor Westphal’s papers. It is a collection of lexical and grammatical evidence for the classification of the non-Bantu languages of Southern Africa.
Professor Westphal’s conference papers and notes; as well as previously published material, explore factors which affected the historic migration lines of Bantu and Bushmen peoples in Southern Africa; inter-tribal relationships; and resulting influences on language. Professor Westphal and others spent many hours interviewing “Bushmen”, in various parts of Southern Africa; recording their languages on tape recorders, and in writing, during several research trips from 1953-1971. The writings have been used to form a card index dictionary, which was originally built up in the field, starting in 1953.
‘The index has not been updated from the tapes recordings I have subsequently made”. The collection deals with around 15 different Bushmen languages, but there is most material on the !xu language. Professor Westphal noted “the lexical evidence upon which my grouping of the non-Bantu languages of Southern Africa based has never been published.” Professor Westphal’s order has been retained in the sorting of these papers.


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Conditions governing access

No restrictions apply

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

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Finding aids

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

The collection comprising both the manuscripts and the sound recordings has been fully digitised and is accessible on-line in UCT Libraries' Digital Collections website. The digital files may browsed, searched and accessed at

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  • English



Accession area