Monday, January 17, 2011

An info splash: The San

Doing some research for the Sangoma Movie. Learning about the San today~ here is a choppy salad of internet article excerpts with corresponding links to the full article.From Bushmen: National Geographic:
A few days later, as the sun thaws the icy morning, I join a foraging expedition made up of the village women, who are going to gather mangetti nuts, which are about the size of hazelnuts and are a rich source of protein. The women wrap themselves in their hartebeest-skin cloaks, embroidered with bright bead circles, sling their babies on their backs, and set off through the bush at a deceptively fast loping stride. Some wear rough sandals made of car tires, but most are barefoot. Many have intricate tattoos on their faces: blue notches radiating out from each eye. They wade through the waving seas of grass, which is soft and blond in the low morning light. Soon they are rummaging in the foliage and poking in the earth with their digging sticks. As N≠aisa fills up her burlap side bag, she explains the uses for the various flora and fauna she is collecting. The root of one tree is good for curing you if you are coughing up blood. Another cures fever or flu. "And this," she says, tugging up another weed, "is called the lucky plant. You burn it and put the ash on your face, and then every man will love you."

As I leave Schmidtsdrift, Mahongo comes over to say good-bye. "Pity us poor Bushmen," he entreats me. "Pity us who have so many problems facing us in this world down here. We Bushmen, we were the first people here, so how come we are the last in line to get anything? When people see we are a gentle people, they just walk on us. We have to find the strength to make a place for ourselves in this world. Otherwise there will soon be no more of us. We will all be gone. And so will our memories. Only our paintings will remain behind to remind you of us."

(National Geographic):By the end of the 18th century, only 150 years after the arrival of the Dutch at the Cape of Good Hope, thousands of Bushmen (San) had been shot and killed, and many more were forced to work for their colonial captors. The new British government vowed to stop the fighting. They hoped to “civilize” the Bushmen by encouraging them to adopt a more agricultural lifestyle but were unsuccessful. By the 1870s the last Bushmen of the Cape were hunted to extinction. Other Bushman groups were able to survive the European encroachment despite continued threats. The last license to hunt Bushmen was reportedly issued in Namibia by the South African government in 1936.

Wikipedia on Bushmen
: One broad study of African genetic diversity completed in 2009 found the San people were among the five populations with the highest measured genetic diversity among the 121 distinct African populations sampled.

The San in the Kalahari have no concept of land ownership nor a central governing figure, so it is difficult for them to assert their rights...

The second song playing is "Eh Hee" by Dave Matthews. It was written as an evocation of the music and culture of the San people of southern Africa. Matthews recalls hearing the music of the Khoisan and, upon asking his guide what the words to their songs were, being told that "there are no words to these songs, because these songs, we've been singing since before people had words". He goes on to describe the song as his "homage to meeting... the most advanced people on the planet". (Wikipedia)

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5 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing Shan. Wow, the actual original wordless language of our Heart! With the Love my Mother gave me... Love it all. :)

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