We've Lost our Stories

The Kalahari bushmen were made famous in the movie The Gods Must be Crazy. Their recent history  is sad, for in the last 100 years the bushmen culture has been disappearing along with their lands. One of the saddest Bushmen settlements is Schmidtsridft in South Africa. There two bushmen peoples, the Xu and the Khwe, who clash fiercely with one another, live like many indigenous peoples whose way of life has been destroyed. They have grown dependent on government pensions  nd aalcohol and marijuana have, for many, become an anaesthetic against their dislocation and loss.

Then leader of the Xu Traditional Council at Schmidtsdrift is Mario Mahongo, a Xu bushman. He longs for his people to rediscover some of their spirit. But the problem is they’ve lost their stories. “A lot of our culture” he says “is lost in our lives – the old stories that were told by mothers and fathers who would go into the bush and then return to tell the others what they had seen The problem is that now no one goes out and does anything, so we have no stories to tell our children. We have nothing to pass on.”

We can learn from this sad tale. It is the stories we pass on that shape and define us, that show us the way forward and give us meaning, direction and values. For Christians it is the story told by the bible that becomes our ultimate defining story.

Source: Scott Higgins. Information on Kalahari Bushmen from National Geographic Feb 200