Ju Hoansi Essay

1004 words - 4 pages

The Ju’Hoansi (Zhun-twasi) meaning ourselves, are a native group of people inhabiting much of the southern parts of Africa. This San society (aboriginal people of Southern Africa) of about 15,000 is one of the oldest native peoples of their region. A peaceful egalitarian society has lived in and around the Kalahari Desert for over 45,000 years (Biesele 1993). Collectively they are known as Bushmen, with many other “tribes� scattered about the region, totaling over 88,000 people and 55 click languages (Yakscorner.com). The Ju’Hoansi have endured much over the course of their continued existence in Africa, from political change and forced labor, to over grazing of Herrero farmers on native !Kung land. However, these people are resilient, to one day live harmoniously with the earth, and the land they cherish is often a theme very present amongst the Ju’Hoansi. Their culture depends very much and is visibly connected to the activities of sustenance and survival (Biesele 1993).           The Ju’Hoansi population is located primarily in the area(s) of Botswana, Angola, and Namibia. Almost all Ju’Hoansi “tribes� are located in the dry, and harsh environment of the Kalahari Desert. The temperatures are arid and hot reaching well above 100F, because of this the Ju’Hoansi are naturally adaptive to their environment. For instance, wild berries are foraged along with roots, fruits, and nuts. Both men and women possess an uncanny intuition about what is poisonous, healthy, medicinal, or toxic about many different native species, thus allowing for survival amongst such harsh conditions. The region is mostly grassland and shrubbery, few trees, and flat. The wet season is typically short with rainfall usually only amounting to 40 inches at the most. The winters are usually cold and dry with temperatures below freezing with spacious if any moisture at all (Shostak, 1981). Due to variant environmental conditions and constant demand for water the Ju’ Hoansi are forced to be a nomadic people constantly setting up and breaking down camps dependant on new sources of food and water.Most Ju’Hoansi villages consist of 10-30 people depending on children etc. The group structure is set up around two elders one man and one woman, whom the “tribe� turns to for decision-making and other authoritative roles much like a king and queen, however the elders to not have to be wed (Biesele 1993). Beyond this primary structure their society is very survival based. Each group has an internal function of the family unit as well as providing an essential role in village life. The men in traditional Ju’Hoansi...

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