Katrina Esau, 88, fighting to keep N|uu (ancient Khoisan San language) alive

Katrina Esau is a woman on a mission to preserve the endangered culture of the San people, an indigenous tribe mostly concentrated on the outskirts of the Northern Cape.

This daughter of the soil has chosen to face up to the mammoth task of teaching a largely oral language and the unique traditions of the San people. She has decided to remain anchored to the culture but moving with modern times of technology to preserve her near extinct indigenous language of Nlu.

Katrina Esau teaching N/uu to her pupils (Photo: Matthias Brenzinger)

Her plans are to create educational CDs and DVDs so that anyone anywhere can learn the Nlu language.

On any given day, her house is abuzz with activity as she teaches and transfers valuable knowledge to the youth with the hope that the San people’s language and cultural ways would prevail.

Esau’s passion for identity and preservation of the ancient language is indefatigable. She teaches at a small school located at the front of her house in Rosedale, outside Upington in the Northern Cape.

She started teaching the San language after it was thought to have died out. [S: Gvt. of South Africa]

S.A PRESIDENT AWARD: For her excellent contribution to the preservation of a language that is facing a threat of extinction. Her determination to make the project successful has inspired young generations to learn.

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