Marjorie Shostak: the Life and Words of Nisa a Kung Women

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“Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman,” written by Marjorie Shostak; is a culturally shocking and extremely touching book about a woman who had gone through many struggles and horrific tragedies in her life. This book also emphasizes the perspective of most of the women in the society. There are many striking issues in this book that the people of the !Kung tribe go through. Marjorie Shostak, an anthropologist, has written this book and studied the !Kung tribe for two years. Shostak had spent her two years interviewing the women in the society. She was very eager to learn more about how women’s roles differed from our own here in the United States. She knew that the !Kung were one of the least sexist tribes ever, and was eager to see the roles of prestige during her two years of research and studies.

The !Kung are a hunting and gathering people living today mostly on the western edge of the Kalahari sand system in what is now southern Angola, Botswana, and South-West Africa. The great majority of !Kung-speaking people have abandoned their traditional hunting and gathering way of life and are now living in sedentary and semi-squatter status in or near the villages of Bantu pastoralists and European ranchers (Draper 1975). A minority of !Kung, amounting to a few thousand, are still living by traditional hunting and gathering techniques and these were the techniques that Shostak witnessed. The way these people live is much different than what one would experience as our country is much more developed and industrialized than of places such as Botswana. These people lived on primarily wild vegetables, nuts from the trees and game meat. Surprisingly !Kung women are the primary providers of vegetable food, and they contribute something on the order of sixty to eighty percent of the daily food intake by weight. These woman must carry during her gathering trip. In addition...
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