The !Kung San of the Kalahari Desert Essay

The !Kung San of the Kalahari Desert Essay

Length: 967 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The !Kung San of the Kalahari Desert are one of the most highly researched groups by anthropologists. They refer to themselves as the Zhun/twasi, which means, “the real people”. The !Kung San people inhabit Southern Africa, and are commonly referred to as Bushmen. Being that the !Kung San are a nomadic people; their bands are usually only seen as being fairly low in population. These people, who also inhabit parts of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, Swaziland, and Mozambique, have a fascinating lifestyle due to the hostile environment that the Kalahari offers (Bushmen, 2011).
The !Kung people’s lifestyle brings one word in mind to me; flexible. They rely on hunting and gathering for their subsistence. As a people they are very appreciative of what the land has to offer, as they are completely dependent on it. They must remain flexible because the land may not always provide. The land they occupy is a very harsh environment. During the wet season it averages about five to forty inches of rain. Temperatures are also extreme. During winter months the temperature is often below zero, while summer months are over 100F. Because of their basic system of food acquirement, it helps mold the other aspects of the !Kung San life (Lee, 1979).
The subsistence retrieval methods are very different between the men and the women. Women do the gathering, and men do the hunting. The men are physically more adapted to be able to protect themselves while away from camp then women. It is also the women’s role to take care of the children, which requires her to be close to or at camp. Men set off to go hunting often for days at a time. Game is often not plentiful, so traveling long distances to make a kill is often necessary. W...


... middle of paper ...


...d. At one point in time the San people were able to hunt and prosper from the mass amounts of land available because there wasn’t a want from anyone else to inhabit them. However, now their land is being taken by intensive-agriculturalists, and without that land they cannot live as they once did. Many bands are now becoming tainted by the ways of Westerners and no longer live the peaceful and simplistic lifestyle the long to.



Works Cited

Bushmen. (2011). Retrieved November 6, 2011, from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushmen
Lee, Richard B. (1979) The !Kung San : men, women, and work in a foraging society. Cambridge,
New York : Cambridge University Press, 1979
Mongongo. (2011). Retrieved November 6, 2011 from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongongo
Shostak, M. (1981). Nisa: The life and words of a !Kung woman. New York: Random House.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

A Reassessment of the !Kung San Essay

- A Reassessment of the Kung San The !Kung San are a group of hunter-gathers that make their home in the northern Kalahari desert. Although many ecological and cultural changes have occurred within this group throughout the past thirty years, this article examines the gathering and subsistence patterns that characterize these people. Bentley examines the total fertility rate of the !Kung San and hypothesizes that the pattern of female energetics in their subsistence routine has a direct effect upon their fecundity (1984: 79)....   [tags: Geography Geographical Papers]

Better Essays
1070 words (3.1 pages)

The San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert Essay

- The San Bushmen’s way of life is very difficult to identify with for almost anyone but the Bushmen themselves. The Bushmen are a peaceful people who are believed, by some, to have been the ancestors of the world. They now live in the Kalahari Desert, which is a rough terrain with almost no water and very little animal game. The water is so scarce because there is very little rainfall. The water and animals have become gods to the Bushmen because they are so rare. Their environment affects how they eat and how their bodies deal with temperature variations....   [tags: Sociology ]

Better Essays
1927 words (5.5 pages)

The San Bushmen of Kalahari Essay

- A man walks through the desert with nothing but the shirt on his back in search of water so he and his family do not die from dehydration. As he’s walking with the sun beating down on him relentlessly, he spots a clearing with bushes and moist ground. Digging through the sand with nothing but his hands, he finally finds water. He is extremely thirsty and he is not surprised that his tribe is going through another drought. With no modern tools to use, he is forced to use a straw and an ostrich egg to transport the water back to his tiny hut....   [tags: World Civilization ]

Better Essays
1647 words (4.7 pages)

Essay on The Culture Of The Kalahari Desert Of Northwest Botswana

- The !Kung is a small population of people who are hunters and gathers. They travel in small groups that consist of 20-60 people because they are always migrating to different locations. The !Kung live in the Kalahari Desert of northwest Botswana, the Cuando-Cubango Province in southeast Angola and NE Namibia. The Angola!Kung tribe live in the tropical open woodlands. One-third of the Kung. The Tribe continues their traditional nomadic lifestyles. These few people are divided into separate groups who cannot understand each other 's languages....   [tags: Marriage, Family, Kinship, Sibling]

Better Essays
790 words (2.3 pages)

Essay A Report On The Kalahari Desert

- 1. Africa is the second largest continent in the world. Africa is north and south of the equator and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Indian Ocean to the east, the continent is about 5,000 miles north to south and about 4,600 miles from east to west. Africa is formed by a series of plateaus. The continent has extremely high plateaus in the east region located around Kenya and Ethiopia and south in South Africa that are about 3,000 feet above sea level. The highlands in Ethiopia, which is the highest plateau in Africa, its heights, may reach up to about 12,000 feet above sea level....   [tags: Africa, Ethiopia, Nile, Sudan]

Better Essays
986 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on kung san

- kung san Among the many cultures in Africa, one of the most well known cultures would be the Kung San. The Kung San are a very unique culture and are the most studied foraging society in the world. As with numerous other cultures around the world, the Kung San are faced with many problems. But one problem the Kung San don't face is that of being a nonentity, partially because of the popularized view of the Kung San shown in the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy. The Kung San are a hunting and gathering people living in southern Africa....   [tags: essays papers]

Free Essays
771 words (2.2 pages)

Egalitarianism and the Cash Economy among the Central Kalahari San Essay

- Egalitarianism and the Cash Economy among the Central Kalahari San Jiro Tanaka’s research on the Central Kalahari San explored the changes in the San society and determined the overall effects on the culture. Tanaka looked at a group of people who had recently switched from a hunting and gathering existence to a more sedentary way of life. She found that though there were differences in the everyday lives of the San, they were able to preserve their language, cultural identity, and egalitarian ideals....   [tags: Cultural Anthropology Essays]

Better Essays
888 words (2.5 pages)

The Deserts of Africa: The Sahara Desert Essay

- Imagine living in a land thriving with life with all sorts of trees and vegetation, along with different types of animals that called this land home. Throughout the world, we have deserts of also sorts. Life as we know it is always different in different in places. However for the sake of learning we will be taking a look at some of the world most secluded places on this earth which will lead us across one of the world's largest ocean, the Atlantic, making our way to the continent of Africa....   [tags: largest hot desert, egypcians, greek]

Better Essays
1112 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about Kung Life: An Ethnography by Majorie Shostak

- The many ethnographies produced from the fieldwork of anthropologist, account for much of our knowledge of cultures we may consider foreign of our own. Ethnographies are often written to provide an understanding of the practices of the studied culture, thus bridging the gap between separate ways of life. Majorie Shostak is one of the well known anthropologist who attempts to do just this in her writings. During her stay in the Dobe regions of Botswana, she studied the life of !Kung women to find out if they share similar ideas to women of her own culture....   [tags: kung, geography, anthropology, ethnographies, Majo]

Better Essays
1014 words (2.9 pages)

Learning How to Live in the Desert with the San Culture Essay example

- The San culture is one that follows the rules of a Hunter/Gatherer society. Some of the important cultural elements that were vital to the survival of the San culture is learning how to adapt to living in the desert. They know their environment well and know how to gather water and hunt for their food with minimal resources. The women have a vast knowledge about plants, an additional food source, and the men are superb at tracking animals from great distances away for food. The San culture has been able to sustain their life from the earth and what it provides for many, many years....   [tags: survival, culture, modernization]

Better Essays
665 words (1.9 pages)