Theclass documentary analyzed within my journal assignment is the storyof a Kung woman. The film setting is in the village of the KungBushmen that is situated at the northern part of Kalahari Desert inBotswana. It gives a broad overview of N!ai`s life both in the pastand present. The documentary analyses the culture change, genderroles, colonization, political economy, race and stratification amongothers (Shostak 35). N!ai narrates her story by saying that beforethe white people come they had freedom to do whatever they wantedbecause no one questioned their actions. She recalls her childhoodlife saying that she would follow her mother to the forest to picknuts and berries in different seasons of the year. N!ai was a younggirl when John Marshall filmed the story in 1950s. She makes themovie so powerful by narrating her personal experience as a younggirl and wife (Shostak 39). She recalls refusing a marriage proposalat the age of eight years and when she becomes a healer, her feelingstowards her husband changed. N!ai remembers her childhood life verywell by differentiating the various stages. Qualities such as the useof a precise language, paying attention to details and analyzingevents makes her a good story teller.
Thecommunity of Kung In North Eastern Namibia where N!ai comes fromlived in the bush meaning one of their economic activities wasgathering and hunting. The men used to hunt while women gathered wildfood (Shostak 43). Gathering was one of the women roles and thiscontributed majority of the total food consumed. N!ai narrates thatthey would gather over 100 species of wild plant foods such as roots,leafy greens, nuts, assorted vegetables and beans among others. Womenwould also collect honey and other small animals like caterpillarsand insects for their nutritional value. N!ai says that they usedostrich eggs as containers for storing water and broken eggshells tomake beads that they used as headbands and necklaces. The favoritedishes among the Kung community was the Mongongo nut that constitutedover half of vegetable diet (Shostak 47). N!ai says that women wouldtravel in groups of three to five women to an agreed area where theywould gather variety of foods and share among the families when theyreturn to their camp.
Thestory of the Kung woman, N!ai identifies womanhood as the middleevent in the woman`s life among the Kung community. The life personalchallenge that I will face in the future is the same as analyzed byN!ai. Marriage is essential and this means pregnancy, giving birthand taking care of children. This cycle is explained as the woman`slife cycle (Shostak 52). The film also demonstrates the element offoreshadowing. N!ai narrates the story by describing her personalexperiences such as refusing to get married, and watching her mothergive birth. This is an experience that I will encounter in my nursingprofession in future. As a lady, this would be encountered whenexperiencing childbirth and ready to resume the role as a mother.
Sexwas also an important element among the Kung community. N!ai saysthat they considered sex as food and the hunger for sex would makepeople die. They would also talk about sex as they carry out theirhouse chores. N!ai says that at times they gathered to recount andjoke of sexual experiences and exploits (Shostak 58). The onlyforbidden place to talk about sex was in presence of a respectedmember in the community. The jokes and insults about sex wouldattract onlookers as men pretend to grab each other`s private parts.
Kungwomen performed a variety of domestic chores including taking care ofchildren, fetching water and preparing food among others. On average,they spend four hours preparing their tools for domestic duties. TheKung men helped collect firewood, hunting and preparing meat (Shostak67). They also helped taking care of children although their role waslimited. They spent three hours on average preparing their tools fordomestic chores. The second part of the documentary portrays theintrusion of the modern world. The situation occurred around 1978where the Kung community were restricted to a government camp whichN!ai says it was smaller as compared to their original land. Theirway of living changed and they survived on maize meal and moneycollected from tourists who visited to take pictures. Hunting wasrestricted and those caught were arrested (Shostak 79). Men who wererecruited into the African army earned some cash and respected thewhite army because they gave them food and supported themfinancially.
Shostak,Marjorie. Nisa,the Life and Words of a! Kung Woman. New York: Vintage Books, 2013.Print.