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The Bushmen of the South Kalahari

tim wege | South Africa

Petrus Vaalbooi, the leader of the Khomani San Bushmen

The Khomani San Bushmen, some of South Africa’s last remaining “first people”, were forcibly removed from their land in the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in 1931. In 1995, after a land claim, the group were awarded land outside and inside the park.

In the years since the land claim, little social development has occurred, with growing social disintegration and decay. They are being left behind by a modernising society. Much of their traditional knowledge of medicine, herbs, as well as the N/uu language itself, is under threat.

Petrus Vaalbooi, the leader of the Khomani San told me, “I remember learning how to hunt mice around a fire at night with a bow and arrow. You had to shoot him through the skin, so the arrow sticks in the ground, otherwise he runs off and you lose your arrow!”. “Its terrible seeing your language disappearing in front of you. You cannot advance or retreat in the struggle. That is the biggest pain.”

N/uu is the most endangered language in Southern Africa, only 2 original speakers are still alive.

Tim Wege works internationally as a filmmaker and photographer. He has a passion for documentary, telling engaging, personal stories.

He has worked in extreme environments from
diving with great white sharks to flying with white rhinos, from icebergs to deserts. As cameraman and editor, he has worked withleading international news and entertainment networks, including National
Geographic, BBC, RTL, CNN. He has a Degree in Journalism, and frequently works independently in challenging areas throughout Africa.



South Africa

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