Saturday, 22 March 2014

Ancient Beliefs of the Bushmen - Compiled by Jaco De Beer

In The Beginning Part 2

Photo Credits Jaco De Beer
This was their first encounter with the “trickster” god “Kaggen” and they became very respectful of his powers and magic. “Kaggen” liked the looks of these girls and decided to come back when they were bigger. When the first daughter grew up her mother “Gagen” caught some baby tortoises, took the meat and intestines out of the shells and made small holes at the front end of the shells. Once the skin dried in the shell she filled the shells with small pebbles to make a noise when you shake them. These little shells she strung together with a thin strip (or riempie) of baboon skin and made it into a necklace for “Kou” or Mountains, the oldest daughter. The mother hung the necklace around her daughter's neck as a blessing and to make a nice shaking noise when she dances. Always remember to wear this necklace and there will never be a shortage of food where you live. 
Once “Kaun” the second daughter (called Plains in English) grew up, the mother took small calabashes (seed pods of a creeper) and emptied them out. Once they were dry she filled them with hard shelled seeds and strung them together with a piece of bark from the acacia tree. This served as a beautiful decoration and made a rhythmic shaking sound when Plains used to dance. The necklace came with a blessing that as long as she wore this there would always be plenty of food in the veld where she lived.

When “Khwa” the youngest daughter, also called Waters was old enough the mother took three pairs of springbok ears and cut the hairy skin off it. She stitched the inner cartilage of the ears into pods with the sinieue of a springbok and left it to dry. She then took some of the hard bony pieces that can be found in the eyes of a springbok and filled the ears with it. The mother strung the ears together with a string made from springbok skin and hung it around “Khwa's” neck. She received a similar blessing and the same caution never to remove the necklace or she will have a shortage of food for her family. 
When “Kaggen” saw the three young women dance and heard the lovely rhythm from their necklaces, he changed three of his sons into three strong young men and brought them to the women. They watched with big curious eyes while the girls were dancing and started to clap their hands with the rhythm of the necklaces. With their dancing and their eyes they each got the attention of the young man she fancied. The strong young men fell in love with the beautiful young maidens and asked to marry them. It was a joyous occasion with lots of food and dancing. Old “Ga” and his wife were very proud of their three daughters and very happy with the three young men that joined their family.

Each couple made their own hut to stay in and they lived very happily because there was lots of water and plenty of food just as their mother promised them. The family lived in love and harmony every day of their lives. With plenty of water and lots of food they had enough time for dancing and celebration. They were truly living in a “Bushmen utopia” - as long as the daughters kept their necklaces around their necks!

Was this wonderful lazy life of abundance too good to last?

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