Go to AfricaBib home

Go to AfricaBib home Africana Periodical Literature Go to database home

bibliographic database
Previous page New search

The free AfricaBib App for Android is available here

Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Birds and Khoesan: linking spirits and healing with day-to-day life
Author:Low, ChrisISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Southern Africa
External links:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001972011000027
Abstract:It is not surprising that animals have played a significant role in KhoeSan cosmology but identifying exactly what that role is and how it relates to different contexts of belief and action is more challenging. This article identifies a special role for birds in KhoeSan thought and practice, which is tightly bound to matters of spirit and healing, seems relatively cohesive and is distinctive and widespread, both culturally and historically. The analysis covers Khoekhoe herders and San (or Bushman) hunter-gatherers of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, and stems from fieldwork carried out primarily in 2000 and 2007. Working out from a detailed KhoeSan medical ethnography and using bird examples taken from a wide range of KhoeSan, the author argues that bird relationships are best understood by re-framing popular ideas of 'supernatural potency' within persistent habits of perception and the opportunities or challenges they present. He further highlights how KhoeSan interaction with birds must be linked to particular relationships with knowledge in order to understand why birds are so salient. He concludes by emphasizing the dangers of explaining KhoeSan bird relationships within potentially distorting categories of 'metaphor'. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]