Eating Christmas in the Kalahari by Richard Borshay Lee
Eating Christmas in the Kalahari
The purpose of this essay is to talk about the early nineteenth century, when the London Missionary Society brought Christmas to southern Tswana. The idea of Christmas was spread Through all of the Kalahari Desert .Richard , who went by the Bushmen name given to him Ontah bought an ox for Christmas to share with the Bushmen so they can celebrate the bushmen way. When he bought the ox, few of the Bushmen came to Ontah and starts to mock his decision on purchasing the ox. Ontah was upset, wanted to end his research and worried Christmas was ruined because he purchased the ox. He was later told that it is the custom of the Bushmen to talk as such to keep everyone humble. Bibliography:
Natural History, December 1969. © 1969 by the American Collins Dictionary of Sociology, p405-6. Collins Dictionary of Sociology, p406 adapted from S. Lukes, Emile Durkheim: His life and Work (1973) London:Allen Lane Museum of Natural History
Eating Christmas in the Kalahari
To see life through the humble eyes of the !Kung Bushmen while appreciating the research of the Anthropologist on American Culture.
Anthropologists work hard to show culturally relative methods to their research, and have made good ways in the understanding of foreign cultures and societies. If we look at the writing “Eating Christmas in the Kalahari”, we can see just how two different cultures have different views and values. It was said that the! Kung Bushmen knowledge of Christmas was third hand. Which to me means that they got the idea of Christmas from someone else and added their culture to it. In the writing the Anthropologist who went by the Bushmen given name Ontah talked about how he had studied the !Kung Bushmen culture and how the only thing about Christmas that they slaughtered an ox. In our culture we were excited about cutting and decorating a tree or shopping for gifts. When they find a ox to kill and cook they make sure the ox is full of fat and meat for great eating and dancing.
When we think about the Agents of Socialization the first one that always comes to mind is family. The bushmen are one big family of people and in their culture they joke with one another and sometime belittle each other. Ontah didn’t know this and took it to hurt. They made him feel like the ox he bought was a bad choice and laughed at him. It wasn’t until Hakekgose said to him, “It really did bother you,” said Hakekgose. “Well, that’s the way they always talk. When I take my rifle and go hunting with them, if I miss, they laugh at me for the rest of the day. But even if I hit and bring one down, it’s no better.To them, the kill is always too small or too old or too thin; and as we sit down on the kill site to cook and eat the liver, they keep grumbling, even with their mouths full of meat. They say things like, ‘Oh this is awful! What a worthless animal! Whatever made me think that this Tswana rascal could hunt!’” “Is this the way outsiders are treated?” I asked.“No, it is their custom” (Lee pg.1 1969). The made each and every member in their tribe feel the same way because that was their way of life. It was what tey were taught from generations on down. When it came to Christmas they took what was given to them by mass media and added what they wanted to make out of it. If we look at status, status means merit. When it came to the !Kung Bushmen status to them was whoever could hunt the best and slaughter the fattest animal with being arrogant about it. Ontah learned that the bushmen made sure that all stayed at the same status. No man was better than the other. They felt if one got too arrogant that it could cause death to one another. In the term Mechanical and Organic Solidarity, In simpler societies (e.g.,...
References: Natural History, December 1969. © 1969 by the American Collins Dictionary of Sociology, p405-6.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, p406 adapted from S. Lukes, Emile Durkheim: His life and Work (1973) London:Allen Lane Museum of Natural History
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