Friday, November 5, 2010

Bushman Tribe Pre-View

I am weeks into editing my most recent trip to Africa. We saw so much amazing wildlife! I can't wait to begin editing the images of the animals, but I HAD to begin my editing with the last 2 days of our trip during which time we spent time with a Bushman tribe. What an incredible, life changing and humbling experience!
The bushman people are hunter gatherers and were among the first humans to inhabit southern Africa. Also referred to as San people, they inhabit the remote areas of the east of Namibia and in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana.
We had the pleasure of spending 2 days at Nhoma Camp near the Bushman village of //Nhoq'ma. During our stay, we were welcomed by the villagers and spent most of our time with them observing their traditional culture and way of life. Nhoma Camp and village is within Bushmanland adjoining the Nyae Nyae Conservancy.  Established in 1998, this conservancy allows the Bushman people to hunt for food using their traditional methods and hand made tools. An interpreter from the camp accompanied us to explain the things we observed.
Not only did we see the women prepare the evening meal, but we also witnessed them creating beautiful articles made of beads. 
Our first evening in the village, we were invited to watch a traditional trance dance.
The dance occurs after dark around a fire and lasts for hours. It is one of the oldest religious rituals known to mankind, going back some 20,000 years.

 Participants are known to fall into a trance during which they believe they are being spoken to by their ancestors. The chanting was mesmerizing and the dance was fascinating to watch!
Day two included a hunt through the tall grasses of Bushmanland with four hunters from the village. During the hunt, we were shown various plants used by the tribe to survive and those used for medicinal purposes. Afterward we were shown how rope was made from leaf fibers, and how traditional animal traps and poison hunting arrows are made.
Following the demonstration, were asked to join in some of the simple and entertaining games played by the villagers, including the porcupine game and monkey orange game.
The bushman people are beautiful, open, friendly, and happy people. The tribes that remain still hold on to their native culture and roots. However, sadly, as the 21st century progresses, the traditions of the tribe are being lost as current and future generations adapt to many modern ways of life.
I feel so fortunate to have visited and witnessed the traditional Bushman way of life before it disappears into history.  Our two days spent with the Bushman tribe will forever be with me and is one example of many experiences during my visit that proves the saying "Africa changes you."
A gallery of images will soon be posted to my website, but I couldn't wait to share a few teasers with you.

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