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The Ju/’Hoansi Living San Museum

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The Ju/’Hoansi Living Museum has been setup to preserve the culture and history of the San people, native to many regions of Namibia and Botswana. These are people that have lived on this land for thousands of years with a hunter gatherer lifestyle.

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The living museum

There is also camping here, so we setup for the evening and then are given a demonstration of a traditional medicine man ritual / dance. The ladies sing and clap while the medicine man dances as if possessed. The singing is amazing and it’s clear to see how much these people live this life – they’re not acting.

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Singing and clapping

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Medicine man dancing as if in a trance

In the morning we watch as the man lights a fire the traditional way – spinning a stick between his hands, before he gives us a demonstration and has each of fire his hand-made bow and arrow. Through a translator (the “clicking” language is fascinating) he explains the men would hunt animals as big as giraffe with these tiny bows. He shows us a plant that can be used to make a poison which each arrow is dipped into.

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The man with his bow, arrow and tools – all made by him, by hand

Amazingly, after I ask he explains that he did in fact hunt giraffe with his father when he was a boy, but now that is illegal. With no rights to their traditional land, these people now much buy frozen meat from the grocery store.

We walk through the forest as he points out countless plants and animal tracks that are used for this and that traditional purpose. It’s clear these people have no use for a store – the bush provides everything they need to live, if only they were allowed use it. These people are so peaceful and lived for thousands of years in harmony with the Earth, it breaks my heart to see “we” know better and don’t let them continue in their ways.

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Firing an arrow

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Emily doing her best with the tiny bow – we were both afraid to break it

I feel such a strong connection and am extremely moved by the story and demonstrations I am shown. This is one of the most intense experiences of my life –  a must visit for anyone in Namibia.

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The family makes crafts

-Dan

4 Responses

  1. Julian Schurman says:

    Dan really enjoying and appreciate your travels through Africa, I am looking forward to seeing a book about your African adventures. Also if a 265/85r17 E load rated tire dose appear I will take your advice and see if there is a cheaper wheel alternative ( a flat plate wheel with a .5 inch welded spacer ring would expensive).

    • Dan Grec says:

      Julian,

      Cheers! Absolutely I’d be all over a 265/85 17 sounds great, though I already have the 34×10.5r17 and love them, so no reason to change or wait for the unicorn!

      All the best,
      -Dan

  2. Peter Connan says:

    Hi Dan

    While I agree that it is tragic that the San are reduced to living a shadow existence with no access to their traditional hunting grounds, there are several sides to every story.
    When they were still allowed access to Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve, some were caught poaching (with rifles) and selling the meat. Of course, no other race is any better in this regard.
    As for them being peaceful, don’t you believe it. They avoid confrontation, but they can be murderous at times, and there are many records of them murdering entire families in their sleep…

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