"See them, the last wrinkled Bushmen filing in from the wilderness - lured by
the creaking farm windmill and its message of an easier life. In the past
when the droughts turned their hunting and foraging grounds into a brittle,
oven-hot desert the Bushmen trekked to permanent water - and there they sat
out the caught, watching all the time the for the distant clouds that would
restore life to their territory. But to day they find farms at the permanent
waterholes, and a supply of year round food. Sometimes they forget to look
for the clouds.
More and more of them, after 50 000 years in the wilderness are exchanging
their highly specialized ways for the badges of progress; a pair of trousers,
shirt, a shack and maybe a goat. The "wild Bushman" 'is becoming extinct. But
what is important is that they, are among the last peoples on earth to fall
for the irresistible call of the technological age which has enabled man to
suck water from rock and grow food in rows, Just as prehistoric man in the
Mediterranean lands, 10,000 years ago rapidly changed from being a
hunter-gatherer becoming an agrarian farmer so this Bushman has, only now,
opted for the same change.
The phenomenon has presented us with one of the greatest anthropological
opportunities of the 20th century.
We can now minutely study a people in the transition period between being the
innocent children of nature to joining the throng who would be its masters.
By studying the Bushman we are probably seeing for the last time into a past
we all once shared.
Perhaps we shall discover something about ourselves and the origins of our
own strange and often disastrous behaviour patterns.
The Bushman could have something important, to tell us."
"The coming decade may well provide human biologists, social anthropologists,
sociologists, demographers and nutritionists with their last opportunity on
earth for studying the mechanics and dynamics that mark the transfiguration
of a branch of the human species from hunter status to pastoralism and
agriculture, from a food-gathering to a food-producing economy."
Professor P. V.'Tobias
"They said he was a little man, not a dwarf or a pigmy, but just a little man
about five feet high, he was well built, sturdily and truly made, his
shoulders were broad and his hands and feet were extraordinarily small and
finely modeled. -One only had to see his small footprints in the sand never
to forget them. His ankles were slim like a racehorse, his legs supple, his
muscles loose and he ran like the wind, fast and long. There had never been
anyone like him who could tun over the veld and boulders. When he laughed,
which he did easily, his face broke into innumerable little folds and pleats
of a mist subtle criss-cross pattern."
Laurens van der Post
One of the groups of Bushmen that became isolated during the expansion of the
Black people and the invasion of the Whites settled at Lake Chrissie in the
Eastern Transvaal. Individuals of this group were gradually taken on as sheep
and cattle herders by the local White farmers and up until 20 years ago
(1955) more than 40 of them still dwelt on farms in the Lake Chrissie and
Lothair districts. Historically and linguistically it has been ascertained
that this group came from the south and were probably related to those
Bushmen that occupied parts of the present-day Free State, Cape, Natal and
Lesotho regions. Indeed they may well be descended from the ancient Bushman
cave artists of the Drakensberg. Through disease and inter- marriage the
remnants of these South African Bushmen have steadily dwindled and today
(1975) there are but two individuals left, Job (left) and Kwaaiman who both
still speak Bushman but due to their lack of offspring are destined to be the
last of their kind.
Een van die groepe Boesmans wat met die ekspansie van die Swartes en die
indringing van die Wittes geisoleer geraak het en hulle by Chrissiemeer in
die Oos-Transvaal gevestig het. lndividue uit hierdie groep is geleidelik as
skaap- en beeswagters deur plaaslike Wit boere in diens geneem en tot
ongeveer 20 jaar gelede het 40 of meer van hulle nog op plase in die
distrikte Chrissiemeer en Lothair gewoon. Histories-en taalkundig is
vasgestel dat hierdie groep uit die suide gekom het en waarskynlik verwant is
aan die Boesmans wat dele van die teenswoordige Vrystaat, Kaap, Natal en
Lesotho bewoon het. Hulle mag selfs- afstam van die ou Boesman-rots-
kunstenaars van die Drakensberge. Deur siekte en ondertroue het die
oorblyfsels van hierdie Suid- Afrikaanse Boesmans geleidelik weggekrimp
totdat claar vandag (1975) net twee individue oorbly. In die illustrasie
hierbo verskyn job (links) en Kwaaiman, wat albei nog Boesmantaal praat, maar
wat kinderloos is en dus gedoem is om die laaste van hulle stam te wees.
How sad is it that those two men's faces cannot be seen by you all owing to
the limitations of this technology.
At, I have a dream;-) it goes like this; two brothers are in the landscape of
the Bushman with an older man and we are playing an improvised lullaby on a
seven-string harp made from sticks, a wooden resonator and strings of gut.
Then a fourth man appears from the horizon beyond that which we can see, he
is exactly five feet tall, his eyes are deep brown, a depth not seen in any
other living thing save those of the antelope. They shone like the brown of
day on a rare dewy African morning; his eyes are unbelievably penetrating and
accurate. His hearing no less astonishing. Before he leaves us he gives us
two things. An ***apron*** and a ***cloak***. We are safe and he has gone. I
wake up sweating.
Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <Richard@Karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>
"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.