No surname, no track of time: the Kung tribe of Africa

The African Kung tribe is one of the mysterious peoples with practically no contact with civilization and lives according to its primitive laws.

Kung people do not have surnames, they do not keep track of time, and they live on average no more than 30 years, but in their short life, they comprehend the art of hunting wild animals and obtaining water in the desert. Kung Bushmen became famous for their mystical rituals.

In southern Africa, there is the Kalahari Desert. It was twenty thousand years ago that the Bushmen Kung tribes settled. They are engaged in hunting and gathering, believe in spirits, and communicate with them during ritual dances.

Kung Tribe
©Jack Somerville – Kung Tribe

Bushmen are outwardly different from other representatives of the Negroid race: they have lighter skin and thin lips. According to ancient customs, these African people roam the shroud in groups of 20 – 60 people who are related. Groups settle at great distances from each other to reach neighbors; it may take from several days to several weeks of walking.

For twenty years, scientists have observed the life of 900 Bushmen and have revealed an interesting pattern: in the Kung language, there are no words for the number more than three, and they also do not use writing.

Anthropologists decided to tie the Bushmen’s age to specific events in the tribe, but nothing came of it. The Bushmen do not have events known to civilization.

No surname, no track of time: the Kung tribe of Africa

When crops burn out and livestock dies during a severe drought, their way of life hardly changes. They can satisfy their hunger by eating wild nuts, ant larvae, and fried locusts are a real delicacy for them.

To get water during the dry season, the Bushmen do the following: dig a hole at the bottom of a dried spring, stick a pipe into it, and draw water out of it with their mouths. The container for collecting moisture is the shell of an ostrich egg.

The only event that is usually significant for the tribe is the murder among the Bushmen themselves. For twenty years, there were 3 – 4 such cases. Once, it was connected with honey’s theft since honey is considered the property of the person who found it.

Another conflict occurred over a young bachelor’s relationship with one of the two wives of an elderly relative, but it did not come to murder.

As a rule, any conflicts resolve with poison arrows. A person needs to grab the poisoned arrows, and his fate is a foregone conclusion. In this regard, there is a custom – when meeting unfamiliar men, put bows aside.

No surname, no track of time: the Kung tribe of Africa

If the murder did happen, then for the tribe, it could be a landmark event. It happens that women report that they gave birth to a child when the murder was committed. If a child was born when there was no murder, it is almost impossible to determine his age.

Over the years of observation, scientists have concluded that members of the Kung tribe live on average no more than 30 years. This figure obtains due to the vast infant mortality rate. Bushmen are calm about children’s death; he believes that this is a common occurrence; supposedly, God takes the kids.

The most venerable members of the Kung tribe are healers; as a rule, they are men in advanced (by their, of course, standards) age. To protect the entire settlement, healers perform a ritual dance during which they fall into a trance.

The action can accompany by the use of drugs and last up to 36 hours. Having reached ecstasy, the healer bends over the patient and takes the ailment from him into his body. After – “shakes out” it from itself. Often, in this case, the healer can injure himself, lowering his head to the flame of the fire and get burnt. Kung believe that this time he is half-dead, and with this sacrifice, he saves his fellow tribesmen.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button