The revised, updated version of this book includes an analysis of the sweeping political changes in South Africa since its original publcation in 1992. Other new material covers more theoretical issues and contemporary developments in scholarship, including a reconsideration of the film “The Gods Must Be Crazy”; a discussion of “exposé ethnography” and its attendant politiThe revised, updated version of this book includes an analysis of the sweeping political changes in South Africa since its original publcation in 1992. Other new material covers more theoretical issues and contemporary developments in scholarship, including a reconsideration of the film “The Gods Must Be Crazy”; a discussion of “exposé ethnography” and its attendant political/moral positioning; and an examination of the political situation in Namibia, with a close study of the near collapse of the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation....
|Title||:||The Bushman Myth: The Making of a Namibian Underclass|
|Number of Pages||:||368 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Bushman Myth: The Making of a Namibian Underclass Reviews
Robert Gordon delivers a poignantly pivotal work on the so-called Bushmen of Southern Africa. With the skillful investigation of archival sources, court cases, military , white settler , missionary, academic and government records, Gordon produces a penetrating account of how these people of South Africa have been decimated. Gordon has the distinct advantage of being a Namibian (southern Namibia). Having been horrified by what he saw in 1980 at Tsumkwe, Gordon tries to reconcile the myth of the Bushmen with the reality. What he saw in Tsumbwe was a place where one would literally smell death and decay. Indeed the death rate exceeded the birth rate (3). The issue of the transmogrification of the Bushmen is well presented as Gordon takes us almost on a journey through historical events in the lives of the Bushmen from their early beginnings to the mid 1980's. His illustrations are most effective in portraying the points he wants to get across. The photograph, on page eighty two, of the enforced nudity, illustrates to me just how inhumane the colonizers were to these people. In their effort to dehumanize the Bushmen, they only revealed how brutal they were. A second photograph, on page seventy five, of the starving Bushmen as a result of a famine and opposed colonial policy is another case in point. The colonial government justified this treatment because the Bushmen were not even considered to be humans, they were animals. One only had to look at the way they lived to come to this conclusion. To me, this, along with the mistreatment and exploitation of numerous other native peoples, is despicable. This book was very unnerving to me as I read about the atrocities that happened and are happening to these people. Could the colonizers come to no other solutions? I can now come to better understand a video film I saw (and had my children see) on the Bushmen of the Kalahari in the mid 1970's. The video depicts the pristine primitive as one of the popular images of the Bushmen. At the time, this video made a lasting impression on me that there are still people who live like this (the hunting, gathering society). Only now after reading and internalizing what Gordon puts across do I get a more comprehensive picture.
The Bushman Myth is a history of the 20th century struggles facing the groups of people collectively referred to as Bushmen. It is an important if not highly readable account of a sordid outcome of the Scramble for Africa.Although Bushmen had gradually been pushed to more remote areas of Sub-Saharan Africa by Bantu pastoralists over a period of 1500 years, the colonization of South-West Africa very swiftly nearly annihilated the remaining Bushmen in Botswana and Namibia. This account details the marginalization of Bushmen in the German and South African colony of South West Africa—what would become Namibia. In the early decades of the 20th century, both sets of colonial regimes had viewed the Bushmen as ignoble savages that could not be tamed. Various policies were put in place to restrict rights of Bushmen, force them into farm labor or relocate them beyond the Police Zone. Police were given a large measure of freedom to exact corporal punishment on Bushmen even suspected of crimes. Gradually, Bushmen lost their land to white settlers or reallocation of Bushman lands to other native tribes or as wild animal reserves (including Etosha National Park). The expansion of white farmers was the biggest factor, with settler farms increasing from a total of 458 farms covering 4.8m hectares in 1904 to a peak of 5,216 farms covering 39m hectares in 1960.Around that time, South Africa began to alter its treatment of Bushmen. For one, there was the publication of findings of The Commission for the Preservation of the Bushmen, which arrived at the idea of a Bushmen reserve, albeit on very marginal land. More importantly, as British and French colonies across Sub-Saharan Africa gained independence, the South African government became ever more intent in maintaining South West Africa as a buffer between independent African states and South Africa. By the time the South African film The Gods Must Be Crazy was released in 1980, Zimbabwe’s independence had already dealt a blow to the white government in South Africa, and a Namibian independence movement led by South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) had emerged. South Africa enlisted Bushmen in the fight against SWAPO, one that spilled over the border into Angola. International attention to the much-romanticized depiction of Bushmen led to a large-scale effort to preserve a way of life that had largely left the Bushmen working as farm labor or other low income roles. National independence movements, particularly in Namibia, distrusted Bushmen, and as a result the rising international focus on preserving Bushmen ways of life coincided with a fall in Bushmen fortunes domestically. This plight continues today.
This book is a balanced thesis on the idea of Bushman; addressing both what various outside groups think about them, and what they think about themselves. The politics from the German-annexed state of Namibia, Bechuanaland Protectorate (before it became the country of Botswana), and the Republic of South Africa, definitely influenced the population number, relocation of, and protection of, "traditional homeland." Something I was really surprised to find is that, even among the so-called "bushmen" themselves, they do not agree on which tribes "belong," and what they call themselves, or their language; for example, !Kung can also be called something else. I never saw the movie, "The Gods Must Be Crazy," but I do remember my grandma talking about it; she laughed, and thought the opening scene of the coke can falling was really funny, like serendipity; in reality, though, the author explains the political connotation that the filmmakers had, and how the Southern Africans viewing the film would understand it to be a subversive statement, not just something funny. A great, insightful look into the peoples most native to the Kalahari, where, for a short time, I was privileged to make my home.
A lot of solid information on the development of racial relations with native peoples and South Africa and Namibia.