Hans-Joachim Heinz: Social Organization of the !Kõ Bushmen [PDF]


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Edited by Klaus Keuthmann
QKF Research in Khoisan Studies Volume 10

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225 pp.
2 maps, 8 b/w photos, 3 genealogical charts

Text language: English

The book presents a general survey of all aspects of social organization of a Khoisan-speaking hunter-gatherer society living in the Southern Kalahari (Botswana). In international ‘Bushman’ studies, this is the only monographic attempt at such a subject published to date. Apart from a general ethnographic outline, it gives a full description of the social features that constituted !Kõ band society during the time of the field researches in the early 1960s.

Main emphasis is put on ‘primary’ (family, extended family, band and band nexus) and ‘secondary groups’ (age groups, sex groups, economic groups), on ‘kinship’ (including naming and terminology), and on ‘marriage’. In addition, the author reports in detail on the male initiation. Since he was initiated himself, this description based on his own experiences is the most authentic and elaborated one ever recorded on ‘Bushman’ initiations.

The systematic presentation of data and the intimate knowledge which the author gained during 10 years of life with the !Kõ give a particular insight into the society of these Kalahari hunter-gatherers and almost turn this study into a textbook on the social anthropology of Southern African foraging societies.

Under these links you will find descriptions of further kinship systems and terminologies in African languages and cultures:

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