Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Traveled With The Bushmen in Africa and Built a Custom wardrobe

By Chris Williams

Until recently, Africa was believed to be a continent that had very little civilization. In fact, most of the visitors coming to Africa were often amazed by the level of development that they met. The truth is that although this continent remained uncivilized for a long time, the much-anticipated wave of civilization swept through so fast, that most of the African nations moved from traditional clothing to modern clothing.

However, there are a few notable African tribes that have steadfastly held on to their customs, such as the Masai of Kenya and the San of Kalahari, that are commonly referred to as Bushmen. This tribe is found in parts of Botswana, South Africa as well as Namibia.

I am well known in Africa and I've had an experience living among the Masai, I started out to live with all the Bushmen of Namibia even though they're thought, to live inside a terrain that's extremely harsh. As is typical of Bushmen, they survive on hunting and gathering of potatoes as well as roots. Among the causes that prompted me to embark on this great journey, is that the Bushmen have so much to offer the present day society,mainly because they are the oldest known tribe, their history goes back further than most modern civilizations, their history is traced to more than a single hundred thousand years. This tribe has been affected by civilizations inside the southern Africa countries, that have consequently noticed them reside in Kalahari Desert that is definitely characterized by arid land that's mainly created of sand. Unfortunately their land which was very sought after for mineral rights and farming was legally stolen from them.

The Tribe have therefore survived all of the odds to preserve their classic San culture. Even though this traditionally wealthy tribe risks extinction, as you will discover only a few thousand of them that happen to be left and they are strict about living as per their tradition. The san reside in bands of about ten to fifteen individuals, who move with each other in search of food as well as water. They have because perfected the art of hunting as their bows are tipped with poison. Furthermore, their shelter is temporary. They are nonetheless faced with the challenge of preserving their culture, because of the land that they used for hunting and gathering activities, has been fenced and is now used for feeding cattle. Governments have also forced them to relocate to places that can be permanent using the aim of civilizing them. As such, they have gone to the extent of offering them with modern day facilities as well as water and schools. However, the greatest challenge is proving ownership of land, as they do not have proper documentation.

While visiting the Bushmen in Namibia, I took advantage of the San Cultural tours under the leadership of a San guide. During the tour, I was shown how to collect herbs, foods, track game and even dance. There are a number of accommodation options for visitors that include the Central Safari camp where I spent much of my time because while here I built a custom wardrobe, that I gave to one of the San bands that I live with for the entire week I was there. The experience was so great that I spent an extra day before finally bidding my great friends a tearful goodbye. In summary, although they are faced with many challenges, the Bushmen have done well to maintain their cultural values.

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