South Africa, 1985

IsiBheqe Sohlamvu and the Quagga

Destruction can breed new life – life in the form of language, animals, and symbols – and can reshape a sense of cultural identity and aesthetic values. In South Africa, whether it is the adoption of Latin script for local languages such as isiXhosa or the extinction of the Quagga, there remains the hope of revival. The development of the isiBheqe Sohlamvu script as a more appropriate form of writing for Nguni languages and the selective breeding and reintroduction of the Quagga into their natural habitat illustrates how design choices can encourage understanding and appreciation not only within a South African context but with a broader perspective too.