Khoisan Click Tree

November 2014


Approximately 7000 languages are currently spoken worldwide. However, it is assumed that by the end of the 21st century, one third of these languages will be extinct due to globalization, causing the domination of economically powerful languages. The Khoisan click languages of the Eastern and Southern African San Bushmen are a good example of an endangered language. In countries such as Namibia Speakers of click languages in are even looked down upon. As a result, the clicks are only heard within the walls of their own homes. These extraordinary languages are best known for their vast amount click consonants, which can be articulated with many different movements of the tongue, the lips and breathing techniques.

The object of the Khoisan Click Tree is to bring the clicks back into the public domain in a natural way. The cloth represents a tree, which is an important source of shade in African countries. Classes, rituals and other meetings are held under trees. Traditional African materials inspired the pattern on the cloth. When you stroke the ‘tree’ you will hear the various clicks of the San Bushmen.

Cloth representing a tree

African inspired pattern

Copper threaded through cloth

Video of 'Khoisan Click Tree'

Root of the 'tree'