This essay The People Of The Kalahari Desert has a total of 1463 words and 6 pages.
The People of the Kalahari Desert
Introduction, Location and Environment
The people of the Kalahari desert are extraordinary people. For centuries their hunting and food gathering
techniques have enabled them to survive in the difficult environment of the dry, hot and barren Kalahari desert.
They are known as the Bushmen. Or the Kung or the Gikwe since Bushmen is rather discriminating because the
"Bushmen" live among shrubs and trees and sand and such.
The people of Kalahari Desert live in a dry bush desert in South-West Africa and western Bechuanaland, bordered in
the North by Lake Ngami and the Okovngo River in the South by the Orange river and west by the Damera Hills.
The Kalahari is there all low with sand dunes and great plains. A hostile country of thirst and heat. A country with
scorpions, thorny bushes and of course sand as far as the eye can see and perpetual dust.
In the hot months it the temperature goes up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In the months of winter, which are June and
July, the winds from the Antarctic cold blow at night. But during the day it eventually rises up to around 80 degrees
Fahrenheit and drops down in the evening. There are only three months of winter and these begin in December and
in March the drought season starts and by August all the water holes that were made during the rainy season are
It is not dead, the desert. There are boabab trees that give pear shaped fruits, flowers, and blossoms resembling
gardenias. There are tall grasses. There are bushes flowering either red, white or violet flowers, tsama melons which
very much look like watermelons and are the size of a small cantaloupe. There are also mogongo nuts that are very
high in protein. When in season one person can eat as many as 400 nuts.
These people who inhabit the dry, barren Kalahari have a hard life, so it seems... But, really, do they?
Food Resources and Technology
Living in the hot sandy Kalahari might seem very difficult, even impossible. But if one knows the secrets of the
desert. The desert will give you a living. The people of the Kalahari know these secrets. No fancy machinery
necessary. No modern technology needed. Only simple handmade tools and weapons such as digging sticks, little
axes, bows and arrows, small traps or snares, knives. Not to mention their senses and their wits.
They poison the arrows so the game will die faster when hit. The poison is extracted from a certain grub. Great
hunters know where the best place to shoot an animal so the poison will work best. Great hunters also know how to
make the finest arrows. They also know all the habits of all the animals from the mice to the antelopes, they know
what time of day that is best for hunting, too.
There are quite a few food resources such as tsama melons, mongongo nuts, roots, berries, wildebeests, kudu,
gemsbok, antelopes, steenbok, porcupines, elands, small animals like the mongoose and the chicken fowl, birds-
even babies-, wild boars as well as honey from the bees. And of course there are a couple of temporary and
permanent water holes around.
They use digging sticks to dig up roots, they gather tsama melons, mongongo nuts, and berries. They hunt game
with bows and arrows and spears on foot.
They cook mongongo nuts in hot ashes, eat the entire animal from the hide-which they work into leather sometimes-
to the marrow inside the bones. Of course this might seem like a lot a meat since the game is plentiful but really 80
percent of their diet is vegetables. Sometimes when cooking meat they cook it in the rind of the tsama melon with
the liquid still inside and it makes a stew.
The people are smart and know their land very well. Therefore as long as they know the secrets the hot desert holds,
the desert will give them a living and they'll never go hungry.
Social System and Leisure
The size of the groups vary from 20 to 100 people or even 200 people per group. The groups have to be small or else
moving from place to place will be extremely difficult.
The roll of a man is to hunt and gather honey from the bees. The roll of the woman is to gather and dig for roots and
taste them to see if the root is sweet or sour.
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