Traditional Life
Part of the Series: !Kung Series Collection

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A Far Country
Part of the Series: Kalahari Family Collection
In 1951, the Marshall family set out to document the life of the Bushmen of the Kalahari. After a week of hard travel in desert-adapted vehicles, they met Toma Tsamkxao and his Ju/'hoan band in Nyae Nyae. In their own words, Toma's extended family describes how they survive by gathering…
Bitter Roots - The Ends of a Kalahari Myth
Part of the Series: Anthropology 101 Collection
Bitter Roots: The Ends of a Kalahari Myth is set in Nyae-Nyae, a region of Namibia located in southern Africa's Kalahari desert, traditional home of the Ju/'hoansi. It updates the ethnographic film record begun in the 1950s by John Marshall, whose films documented 50 years of change, and who together…
First Film
Part of the Series: !Kung Series Collection
First Film was edited and narrated by Lorna Marshall and is comprised of footage shot in 1951 on the second Marshall family expedition to the Kalahari Desert. It is intimate in style, very carefully filmed, with a wealth of practical information about the material culture and structure of Ju/'hoan (!Kung…
!Kung Short Films Series
Between 1950 and 1958, John Marshall made four expeditions to film the Ju/'hoansi (a group of !Kung Bushmen) of the Nyae Nyae region of Namibia (then South West Africa). Marshall and his family, who together undertook an extensive multi-disciplinary study of Ju/'hoansi, spent the greatest amount of time with the…
N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman
This film provides a broad overview of Ju/'hoan life, both past and present, and an intimate portrait of N!ai, a Ju/'hoan woman who in 1978 was in her mid-thirties. N!ai tells her own story, and in so doing, the story of Ju/'hoan life over a thirty year period. "Before the…
Bushman's Secret
When South African filmmaker Rehad Desai travels to the Kalahari to investigate global interest in ancient Bushmen knowledge, he meets Jan van der Westhuizen, a fascinating Khomani San traditional healer. Jan's struggle to live close to nature is hampered by centuries of colonial exploitation of the San Bushmen and of…
To Hold Our Ground: A Field Report
Part of the Series: !Kung Series Collection
For thousands of years Ju/'hoansi have lived in the Nyae Nyae region in northeastern Namibia. In the 1950s, most Ju/'hoansi had been exterminated or were dispossessed by white colonists and black farmers, but in Nyae Nyae Ju/'hoansi were still the only permanent inhabitants. Waterless approaches isolated their ancient communal land…
Standing Tall
Part of the Series: Kalahari Family Collection
After twelve decades of colonial rule, South West Africa is about to become the independent nation of Namibia and people are looking forward to democratic rule. Members of the newly formed, Ju/'hoan Farmers' Co-op travel throughout white ranching districts and black ethnic homelands to find long-lost relatives. Following Namibia's first…
Real Water
Part of the Series: Kalahari Family Collection
Ju/'hoan farming communities multiply during the 1980s only to face a new threat. The Department of Nature Conservation wants to create a game reserve on Ju/'hoan territory. People will be forbidden to raise livestock or crops. Instead, Ju/'hoansi will be encouraged to act like "Bushmen" and hunt for the amusement…
Bitter Melons
Part of the Series: !Kung Series Collection
This film, shot in 1955, focuses on a small band of /Gwi San living in the arid landscape of the central Kalahari Desert in present-day Botswana. The hardships of their everyday survival are woven into the songs of a blind musician, Ukxone, who composes music on a hunting bow. His…
!Kung Series Collection
Over the course of his career, filmmaker John Marshall shot more than one million feet of film and video (722 hours) of the Ju/'hoansi (!Kung Bushmen) of Namibia's Kalahari Desert. This body of work is unrivalled as a long-term visual study of a single group of people. Contained in Marshall's…
The Hunters
Part of the Series: Anthropology 101 Collection
This re-release of an early classic in anthropological film follows the hunt of a giraffe by four men over a five-day period. The film was shot in 1952-53 on the third joint Smithsonian-Harvard Peabody sponsored Marshall family expedition to Africa to study Ju/'hoansi, one of the few surviving groups that…