The Digital Bleek & Lloyd



Lucy Catherine Lloyd
Lucy Catherine Lloyd Lucy Catherine Lloyd was born in Norbury in England on 7 November 1834. Her father, William Henry Cynric Lloyd, was the rector of Norbury and vicar of Ranton, two villages in western England in Staffordshire. He was also chaplain to the Earl of Litchfield, to whom he was related through his mother. Lucy Lloyd's mother was Lucy Anne Jeffreys, also a minister's daughter, who died in 1842 when Lucy was eight. Lucy Lloyd was the second of four daughters. Her father remarried in 1844 and had 13 additional children with his new wife. After her mother's death, Lucy and her sisters lived with their maternal uncle and his wife, Sir John and Caroline Dundas, from whom they received a private and apparently liberal education.

In 1847 Robert Gray was consecrated Bishop of Cape Town and he established a diocese that included Natal, where clergymen were needed. William Lloyd was sent to Durban along with his family in April 1849, when Lucy was 14, as Colonial and Military Chaplain to the colony's British forces. He later became Archdeacon of Durban. An independent Anglican diocese was established in 1853, with the consecration of J H Colenso as bishop. Colenso established a residence in Pietermaritzburg and a party of 45 accompanied him, including the young Wilhelm Bleek who was to assist Colenso as anthropologist and philologist.

The Lloyd family had limited financial means in Durban even though the four older girls had inherited some money from their mother. Lucy and her sisters are said to have had liberal and unorthodox views and Lucy had trained as a teacher. Lucy and Jemima (who was to marry Wilhelm Bleek) were very close, and both detested their father whom they thought to be a hypocrite. After Lucy had refused to allow him to spend her inheritance he threw her out the house and she went to stay on a farm owned by people called the Middletons. In 1858 Lucy became engaged to the sweet and widely travelled man George Wolley, the son of a minister. According to Lucy's sister Jemima the Middletons were wretched people who sowed distrust and pain between the couple. Lucy broke off the engagement, but she regretted this all her life, blaming herself for George's early miserable death. In a letter she wrote much later to her niece, Helma, on the occasion of the latter's engagement  she said: 'May yours (with your dear Mother beside you), have a very different ending. I missed my dear Mother so sorely then, and the loving counsel and advice, which she could have given me. I had only my own theories and inexperience to go upon.'

Lucy's sister, Jemima, married Wilhelm Bleek on 22 November 1862 and they had seven children, five of whom survived to adulthood. In the same year as his marriage, Bleek was appointed curator of the Grey Collection at the South African Library in Cape Town.

Lucy travelled to Cape Town from Durban aboard the Natal mail steamer, the SS Waldensian, in October 1862, for the wedding of her sister. The ship ran aground on a reef near Cape Agulhas and, although the passengers and crew were rescued, Lucy lost most of her possessions and wedding gifts, managing to retrieve only a pair of vases for her sister (which she carried on her lap in the lifeboat) and a set of Sir Walter Scott's novels that had washed ashore in good condition as they were wrapped in waterproof packaging.

Lucy settled with her sister and Wilhelm after their marriage. After living at first in New Street, the Bleek family moved to The Hill in Mowbray. Lucy started her work with oral histories on the arrival of the first |xam speaker at Mowbray in 1870, after which she was responsible for two-thirds of the texts recorded until Bleek's death and the publication of their second report to the Cape Parliament in 1875. After Bleek's death, and true to the desire expressed in a codicil to his will written in 1871, Lucy continued working on their joint Bushman studies with the support of her sister, Bleek’s widow, Jemima. While Lucy would undoubtedly have done this anyway, his request must surely have bestowed on her work the credibility that, in those days, was usually reserved for male scholars and researchers.

Fanny and Julia Lloyd joined the Bleek and Lloyd household (now at Charlton House, also in Mowbray). Lucy was appointed curator of the Grey Collection as successor to Bleek after his death in 1875, at half his salary, a position she accepted reluctantly. During this time she worked with the Grey Collection and at editing various manuscripts collected by Bleek, as well as continuing with her |xam research in her own time. She began corresponding with GW Stow in 1875 about his copies of Bushman art, and in 1876 he proposed a book that would eventually be published (with Lucy's support) in an incomplete form as The Native Races of Southern Africa. Lucy also played an important role in the founding of the SA Folklore Society, for which she acted as secretary for a while, and in the Folklore Journal in 1879.

Lucy's services at the South African Library were terminated in 1880 when Dr Theophilus Hahn was appointed, after a long and painful saga, in her place. Her relationship with the library had been fraught, and particularly with the Cape Colony’s Secretary-General for Education Langham Dale who made the new appointment. She thought Hahn to be a fool and his appointment a disaster. Lloyd and the trustees of the Grey Collection, who supported her, took the case to the Supreme Court for judgment. The appointment, however, went ahead. Hahn resigned two years later, after which no custodian of the collection was appointed.

After Stow's death in 1882, Lloyd purchased his tracings and copies of Bushman paintings as well as the manuscript of Native Races from his wife, Fanny Stow. Lucy then engaged the services of the historian George M Theal to work with her on the manuscript and edit it. It was published in London in 1905 along with some photographic images taken from Lucy's own collection.

Lucy Lloyd and her sister Fanny went to England for a time in 1883, for financial and health-related reasons. Lucy's letters show her to have been ill at the time. Indeed, she described herself as having endured ‘years of overwork and many of ill-health'. After the loss of her position at the South African Library, the family had found themselves in a precarious financial position with too many mouths to feed – at times, whole families, numbers of adults as well as children, often in poor health, lived in their home – and Lucy's last recorded work with the Bushmen appears to have been in 1884. All in all, at least 17 people had lived in the Mowbray household between 1870 and 1884, some for extended periods. Expenses included food, clothing and tobacco (according to Bleek's list of expenses for 1871 he also budgeted for the arrival of the informants' wives). After Bleek's death in 1875, followed by the loss of Lloyd’s job, Jemima Bleek and Lucy Lloyd were responsible for the upkeep of their various guests and their families, as well as their own sisters and young children.

As a result of these financial constraints, Jemima Bleek moved her family to Germany in 1884 to stay with relatives and receive schooling there, and it appears that the other Lloyd sisters joined them. Lucy Lloyd is believed to have gone to Europe in 1887 – around this time she trained her niece Dorothea in Bushman research – and she moved between Germany, Switzerland, England and Wales, with occasional trips to the Cape around 1905 and 1907. She returned permanently to South Africa in 1912. The Bleek family remained in Germany for the following 21 years.

Lucy Lloyd submitted a third report to the Cape Government concerning ‘Bushman Researches’, dated London 8 May 1889, in which she added 4,534 half-pages or columns to the collection. In 1911 a selection of texts from Bleek and Lloyd's extraordinary project – and a considerable achievement given Lloyd's personal circumstances at the time – was edited by her and published as Specimens of Bushman Folklore.

In 1913 Lloyd received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Cape of Good Hope in recognition of her contribution to research. In the words of the time, the citation read: '…an original production worthy of the highest praise. It is not only a masterly exposition of the folklore of a vanishing race that has remained primitive, but the philological value of the work is greater still, and the work will remain an authority on the language of the “Bushman and kindred races".' She was the first woman to receive this degree in South Africa.

Lucy Lloyd died at Charlton House on 31 August 1914 at the age of 79, and is buried in the Wynberg cemetery in Cape Town near her nieces and nephew and Wilhelm Bleek himself.

Dorothea Francis Bleek
Dorothea Francis Bleek Dorothea Bleek was born in Mowbray, Cape Town, on 26 March 1873. She was the sixth and second-youngest child of Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek and Jemima Lloyd. Dorothea attended school in Switzerland and Germany during the 1880s when her mother took the family to live in Europe in 1883.

Dorothea Bleek (known as Doris) trained as a teacher at Berlin University and studied at the School of Oriental Languages in London, where she developed her interest in African languages. She became a recognised figure in anthropological and linguistic fields in Europe in her own right, but was also trained by her aunt, Lucy Lloyd, and taught to read and write |xam and !kun.

She returned to South Africa in 1904 and worked as a teacher at Rockland's Girl's High School in Cradock until 1907. Dorothea went on field trips with a colleague, Helen Tongue, with whom she made copies of rock paintings. She went to London when the paintings were exhibited there in 1908. In 1909, some of the paintings were published with notes by Dorothea Bleek and her sister Edith.

On her return from London in 1908, Dorothea Bleek devoted the rest of her life to studying the Bushmen. She had been trained in translation and methods of research by Lucy Lloyd (presumably during the periods Lucy stayed with her sister Jemima Bleek in Europe and after Lucy's return to Cape Town). Dorothea visited the northern Cape in 1910 and 1911, going to Prieska and Kenhardt in an attempt to locate the descendants of those interviewed by Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd years earlier. She was accompanied on this trip by staff of the South African Museum who took photographs and made plaster casts of |xam descendants for display in the museum.

Dorothea assisted Lucy Lloyd in preparing Specimens of Bushman Folklore for publication. She edited and published a considerable amount of her father's and aunt's research on the |xam after Lucy Lloyd's death, in the journal Bantu Studies. She went on numerous expeditions to study Bushman art and language, to places such as the Kalahari, Tanzania and Angola. Apart from recording genealogies, vocabulary, narratives and rock art, she also took photographs illustrating the way of life of her subjects, including their dress, artefacts and shelter, and also their anatomy. Dorothea kept a series of 32 notebooks between 1910 and 1930, documenting her travels and notes on Bushman dialects, vocabularies, genealogies and related information, as well as recording Bushman speech and music on wax phonograph cylinders.

In 1920, 1921 and 1922, Dorothea Bleek and staff from the South African Museum travelled to what is now Botswana, to study the Naron (Nharo) and their language. (She later went on her own, accompanied by an interpreter.) This study was published in 1928. In 1929 she arranged for the publication of the GW Stow drawings and paintings purchased by Lucy Lloyd, entitled Rock Paintings in South Africa. She also employed artists to copy rock paintings throughout the 1930s. Some were published in More Rock Paintings in South Africa. Dorothea also published a more popular version of some Mantis stories entitled The Mantis and his Friends, in 1924. Between 1931 and 1936 she prepared |xam texts selected by Lucy Lloyd for publication. These appeared as nine papers in Bantu Studies, with titles including 'Special speech of animals and moon used by |Xam Bushmen', as well as a written piece concerning photographs taken during her 1910-11 trip to the northern Cape. The Bushman Dictionary  was published posthumously in 1956, incorporating the lexicon worked on by Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd.

Dorothea Bleek was made Honorary Reader in Bushman Languages at the University of Cape Town from 1923-1948, and in 1936 she was offered an Honorary Doctorate by the University of the Witwatersrand , but declined, saying her father should be the only Dr Bleek. She died in Plumstead, Cape Town, on 27 June 1948.

Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek
Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek was born in Berlin on 8 March 1827. He was the eldest son of Friedrich Bleek, Professor of Theology at Berlin University and then at the University of Bonn, and Augusta Charlotte Marianne Henriette Sethe. He graduated from the University of Bonn in 1851 with a doctorate in linguistics, after a period in Berlin where he went to study Hebrew and where he first became interested in African languages. Bleek's thesis featured an attempt to link North African and Khoikhoi (or what were then called Hottentot) languages – the thinking at the time being that all African languages were connected. After graduating in Bonn, Bleek returned to Berlin and worked with a zoologist, Dr Wilhelm K H Peters, editing vocabularies of East African languages. His interest in African languages was further developed during 1852 and 1853 by learning Egyptian from Professor K R Lepsius, whom he met in Berlin in 1852.

Bleek was appointed official linguist to Dr W D Baikie's Niger Tshadda Expedition in 1854. Ill-health (a tropical fever) forced his return to England where he met George Grey and John William Colenso, the Anglican Bishop of Natal, who invited Bleek to join him in Natal in 1855 to help compile a Zulu grammar. After completing Colenso's project, Bleek travelled to Cape Town in 1856 to become Sir George Grey's official interpreter as well as to catalogue his private library. Grey had philological interests and was Bleek's patron during his time as Governor of the Cape. The two had a good professional and personal relationship based on an admiration that appears to have been mutual. Bleek was widely respected as a philologist, particularly in the Cape. While working for Grey he continued with his philological research and contributed to various publications during the late 1850s. Bleek requested examples of African literature from missionaries and travellers, such as the Revd W Kronlein who provided Bleek with Namaqua texts in 1861.

In 1859 Bleek briefly returned to Europe in an effort to improve his poor health but returned to the Cape and his research soon after. In 1861 Bleek met his future wife, Jemima Lloyd, at the boarding house where he lived in Cape Town (run by a Mrs Roesch), while she was waiting for a passage to England, and they developed a relationship through correspondence. She returned to Cape Town from England the following year.

Bleek married Jemima Lloyd on 22 November 1862. The Bleek’s first lived at The Hill in Mowbray but moved in 1875 to Charlton House. Jemima's sister, Lucy Lloyd, joined the household after the couple's wedding in 1862.

When Grey was appointed Governor of New Zealand, he presented his collection to the South African Public Library on condition that Bleek be its curator, a position he occupied from 1862 until his death in 1875. In addition to this work, Bleek supported himself and his family by writing regularly for Het Volksblad throughout the 1860s and publishing the first part of his A Comparative Grammar of South African Languages in London in 1862. The second part was published in London in 1869 and the first chapter appeared in manuscript form in Cape Town in 1865. Unfortunately, much of Bleek's working life in the Cape, like Lucy Lloyd's after him, was characterised by extreme financial hardship which made his research even more difficult to continue with.

Bleek's first contact with Bushmen was with prisoners at Robben Island and the Cape Town Gaol and House of Correction, in 1857. He conducted interviews with a few of these prisoners, which he used in later publications. These people all came from the Burgersdorp and Colesberg regions and spoke variations of one similar-sounding 'Bushman' language. Bleek was particularly keen to learn more about this Bushman language and compare it to examples of Bushman vocabulary and language earlier noted by Lichtenstein and obtained from missionaries at the turn of the 19th century.

In 1863 Resident Magistrate Louis Anthing introduced the first |xam-speakers to Bleek. He brought three men to Cape Town from the Kenhardt district to stand trial for attacks on farmers (the prosecution was eventually waived by the Attorney General). In 1866 two Bushman prisoners from the Achterveldt near Calvinia were transferred from the Breakwater prison to the Cape Town prison, making it easier for Bleek to meet them. With their help, Bleek compiled a list of words and sentences and an alphabetical vocabulary. Most of these words and sentences were provided by Adam Kleinhardt (see Bleek I-1, UCT A1.4.1).

In 1870 Bleek and Lloyd, by now working together on the project to learn Bushman language and record personal narratives and folklore, became aware of the presence of a group of 28 |xam prisoners (Bushmen from the central interior of southern Africa) at the Breakwater Convict Station and received permission to relocate one prisoner to their home in Mowbray so as to learn his language. The prison chaplain, Revd Fisk, was in charge of the selection of this individual – a young man named |a!kunta. But because of his youth, |a!kunta was unfamiliar with much of his people's folklore and an older man named ||kabbo was then permitted to accompany him. ||kabbo became Bleek and Lloyd's first real teacher, a title by which he later regarded himself. Over time, members of ||kabbo's family and other families lived with Bleek and Lloyd in Mowbray, and were interviewed by them. Many of the |xam-speakers interviewed by Bleek and Lloyd were related to one another. Bleek and Lloyd learned and wrote down their language, first as lists of words and phrases and then as stories and narratives about their lives, history, folklore and remembered beliefs and customs.

Bleek, along with Lloyd, made an effort to record as much anthropological and ethnographic information as possible. This included genealogies, places of origin, and the customs and daily life of the informants. Photographs and measurements (some as specified by Thomas Huxley's global ethnographic project, see Godby 1996) were also taken of all their informants in accordance with the norms of scientific research of the time in those fields. More intimate and personal painted portraits were also commissioned of some of the |xam teachers.

Although Bleek and Lloyd interviewed other individuals during 1875 and 1876 (Lloyd doing this alone after Bleek's death), most of their time was spent interviewing only six individual |xam contributors . Bleek wrote a series of reports on the language and the literature and folklore of the |xam-speakers he interviewed, which he sent to the Cape Secretary for Native Affairs. This was first in an attempt to gain funding to continue with his studies and then also to make Her Majesty's Colonial Government aware of the need to preserve Bushman folklore as an important part of the nation's heritage and traditions. In this endeavour Bleek must surely have been influenced by Louis Anthing (see Anthing's letter to parliament, 1863).

Bleek died in Mowbray on 17 August 1875, aged 48, and was buried in Wynberg Anglican cemetery in Cape Town along with his two infant children, who had died before him. His all-important work recording the |xam language and literature was continued and expanded by Lucy Lloyd, fully supported by his wife Jemima. In his obituary in the South African Mail of 25 August 1875, he was lauded in the following terms: 'As a comparative philologist he stood in the foremost rank, and as an investigator and authority on the South African languages, he was without peer.