Stories that Float from Afar: Ancestral Folklore of the San of Southern Africa

Front Cover
J. David Lewis-Williams
New Africa Books, 2000 - Contes - Afrique du Sud - 285 pages
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In this collection of folk stories that float to us from afar, the voices of long-dead 'Bushmen', or San people, of Southern Africa speak to us about their lives and beliefs. We are given glimpses into their thought-world. We listen to them recounting their poignant myths and beliefs. We hear them speak of their tormented lives as the early colonists expanded into the semi-arid interior. All these stories have lain hidden since they were first collected more than a hundred years ago by a remarkable family in Cape Town who devoted their lives to recording the life-ways of the /Xam San before their disappearance. Today there is a need for us to listen to these voices from the past. They fill in one of the tragic blanks in South Africa's history. Suddenly a people who have spoken only through others' voices now speak out and come alive.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Life and death in Xamka
47
The Xamka lei and animals
81
The giving of names
95
Artefacts and poisons
101
Porcupines
113
TheKoranna
119
The escape ofKannan from the Koranna commando
121
Kwammanga is found by crows
161
Animal tales
163
The lion and the jackals
165
A gemsbok becomes a lion
168
The old woman who was carried off by a hyena
169
The KainKain the girls and the Mantis
171
The firstXam man brings home a young lion
174
The Early Race
207

How the approach of a commando was foretold by the mist
123
Relations with colonists
125
Sir Bartle Frere returns to Cape Town
127
Letter from Diakwain to his sister Kweitentaken and her family
129
Dreams of home and life with the magistrate
131
Guian and her mistress Trina de Klerck
133
Hunting ostriches and bartering their feathers for tobacco
135
Kaggen and his family
143
How the Ichneumon discovered what the Mantis Kaggen did with the honey
145
The Mantiss fight with the Cat and the Ichneumons rebuke
153
The Ichneumon argues with the Meerkats
158
A man put into a mouse skin turns into a lion
209
People of the Early Race hunt lions
211
About a moth called Ikum Ikum and said to pour lice upon them
215
The fox and the Koranna commando
217
Ritual relations with animals
227
The moon
245
Shamans
255
New maidens
267
References and suggested reading
281
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