"The Bushmen are one of the most primitive peoples living on earth."
"Although most of their groups own some metal objects, Bushmen do not smelt or forge metal, but get it in trade from their Bantu neighbors."
. . . most of the Bushmen had never seen a European before,
Harmless People, pp. 9 & 10
Nobody knows where the Bushmen originated, from what racial stocks they came, or when they came to Africa. . . The Bushmen, together with the Hottentot peoples, are known to have lived in South "Africa long before the Bantus came. . ., the Bushmen yielded their land to the stronger newcomers, . . . most were either killed, enslaved or driven into the most remote parts."
The Harmless People, pp. 12 & 13
Bitter Melons - Ukxone, Gwi (Gikwe), !Kung, San, Ju/wasi (Zhu)
Contrast the San as they were supposed to be in the ethnographic present with the Tasaday
What is the meaning of the title, "Bitter Melons"?
We learned two reasons for the submissiveness of Bushmen. One reason is that it is not in their nature to fight, . . . Bushmen would try not to fight because they have no mechanism in their culture for dealing with disagreements other than to remove the causes of the disagreements.
The Harmless People, pp. 21 & 22
Ukwane told us how various members of his band, once a large one, had died, reducing their number to the hardy few who lived with him now. Both his father and mother had died of thirst, and his children, his young nieces and nephews, and his grandchildren had all died in an epidemic of smallpox three years before.
The Harmless People, p. 123
A Bushmen dance is an infinitely complicated pattern of voices and rhythm, an orchestra of bodies, making music that is infinitely varied and always precise.
. . . the people learn the songs and dances when they are children and work for perfection in skill and timing all their lives.
The Harmless People, p. 131
From Bitter Melons
Groups similar to Tasaday & San
like Tasaday and most commonly used to illustrate foraging society
scientific study from the beginning
80% diet from gathering
Bushmen of the Kalahari - scenes
Study of the !Kung
Searching for the Hari People
The trek and repair of the well
Tasaday - San comparison
Theory of preagricultural societies
John Marshall returns to the Kalahari
Future of the San?
Are people being treated fairly?
Bushmen - by Dutch
San - by scholars
Ju/wasi - call themselves
!Kung, Gikwe - band names
Hari, Gautscha, //Xaru Pan - place names
Tshum!kwi - reserve
The question of San authenticity:
. . . the !Kung, and other hunting and gathering peoples, have become increasingly drawn into the World System. . . poverty, class formation, bureaucratic control, and media manipulation, not to mention militarization, anomie, and alienation, are all part of the daily lives of the !Kung in the 1990s.
Richard Lee, 1992, p 5.
Ethnographers of San-speakers assumed that these peoples were quintessential aboriginal hunters and gathers whose way of life had changed little in millennia--
The categories "Bushman," "San," "hunter-gatherer," "forager," . . . function to illuminate and legitimize Euroamerica's symbolic reconstruction of its own ontology.
Wilmsen, 1989, p. 3-4
We cannot avoid the suspicion that many of us were led to live and work among the hunters because of a feeling that the human condition was likely to be drawn more clearly here than among other kinds of societies.
Lee and DeVore 1968, p. ix
The Bushmen serve as trackers and drivers. . . they are also commandeered for hard work, to carry heavy loads, to build houses, and such.
. . . certainly among the now entirely subordinated Bushmen not only political but social organization has been lost.
Passarge 1906, p. 413
Hypotheses like those for the Tasaday:
1951 - Lawrence and Lorna Marshall with John and Elizabeth begin filming the !Kung
1974 - John Marshall returns
1978 - So. African army recruits
1991 - !Kung transformed from foragers to herders, farmers, and crafts people
1000 - Indian Ocean trade goods
1400 - Zimbabwean state
1652 - Dutch settlement of Cape Town
1806 - British control of southern Africa
1838 - Great Trek - European settlement in the high veld
1850 - European merchants in interior
1970s - Tshum!kwi, fence
920 people in a rural slum of 25 sq. mi.
1983 - N!am Tchoa
60 people with 14 head of cattle trying to become farmers
1978 - Gautcha, military jobs
30 people trying to be independent
1984 - //Xaru Pan
trying to be independent in a game reserve
1986 - mixed economy
11 communities with about 500 people living on a mixed economy
acculturation processes illustrated by the San
extinction - the culture dies out
cultural loss - the old ways are lost
colonialism & imperialism - outsiders take control
assimilation - to become like the dominant culture
In his first life, David Sheukuni was a Bushman.
In his second life, the white men taught him to be a soldier. . .
Now in his early 30s, Sheukuni has embarked on his third life, as a farmer.
Bill Keller, 1993, p. A4
Children, it turns out, make good killers. They learn fast, they work cheap, and their sense of right and wrong has not outgrown their yearning to be accepted by whatever liberation group or guerrilla army has become their surrogate family.
Keller, 1994, p. A4
An approach for making comparisons between cultures and time periods.
How can contemporary cultures help us with theories of human history?
What is the situation faced by tribal peoples in the world today?
Tourists are attracted to Kagga Kamma by the "Western romantic myths of an Edenic idyll" of the San lifestyle.
"Everything was perfect before. There were no fences there, just Bushman tracks. Then the farmers arrived, and now everything is closed to us. We have no land, no water, no meat, and nowhere to rest."
San man to White 1993:62
The Bushmen's position has consequently also depended on being recognized as authentic in the popular iconic mold.
soldier, slave, migrant worker, government worker, farm laborer, herder, bandit, artisans, performers, film stars, informants.