eating christmas in the kalahari an analysis of kung bushmen

            Richard Borshay Lee is a professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto. He has done extensive field work among the Kung Bushmen tribe in Africa. Eating Christmas in the Kalahari is one account of his interactions with the African people and provides startling details about social differences between their culture and the culture of America. The values of the Kung Bushman tribe are discussed with regards to social behavior. A comparison with American values is also offered.

            The Kung Bushmen tribe values humility above all else (Lee, 4). The tribe was somewhat put off by Lee when he arrived at their home but refused to share his food with them. The Kung Bushmen observed the author keeping up to two months of food in reserve for himself while they struggled to find enough food to eat everyday (Lee, 1). The author had a purpose in doing so because he was studying the hunting habits of the tribe. Despite his educational goals, the Kung Bushmen viewed him as stingy and selfish (Lee, 1). Humility is an important characteristic that the Kung Bushmen strive to create in all members of the tribe. They do this through their hunting practices.

            When a hunter has come home with a hunt the others set about ridiculing his “pile of bones” or “the tiny one” (Lee, 3). When the author buys the fattest cow that he can find he thinks he is doing something incredibly generous for the Kung Bushmen so he doesn’t understand why everyone is making fun of his choice of cow. He later finds out that the Kung Bushmen ridicule each other as one way of keeping the hunters humble. One tribesman explains that remaining humble is essential because it keeps any one hunter from thinking he is better than anyone else. He goes on to state the danger in allowing one hunter to be superior over everyone else is that it can lead to the killing of human beings (Lee, 3). Therefore, the Kung Bushmen make fun of each other when a kill is brought home as a way of reminding one another that everyone is responsible for taking care of each other and thinking one is better than anyone else defeats this purpose of cooperation.

            The author pointed out that this ridicule is the opposite of the feelings of brotherhood and goodwill that Americans spread around during the Christmas season (Lee, 2). American people are quicker to judge one as better than another. There often isn’t a spirit of cooperation as part of the American Dream is getting the best and the most before anyone else does. However, the author quickly learned that the Kung Bushmen do have a spirit of brotherhood and goodwill but it is evident all year long. They don’t regard any member of the tribe as being better than anyone else but instead they work together to feed the tribe. Their social behavior is proof of this – they humiliate one another and tease each other to keep everyone humble.

            The author goes on to state that perhaps this very attitude is what enables the Kung Bushmen tribe to continue to prosper in a harsh environment. Their generosity in sharing their kills with the entire tribe allows everyone to eat. However, one person isn’t always responsible for the hunt. Everyone takes turns being the hero of the day and bringing home enough food for everyone. The teasing shows everyone that each member of the tribe is valuable since all contribute on different occasions. This is in contrast to the American value of only looking out for oneself. Americans don’t too often see others buying enough food at the grocery store to share with the entire neighborhood. Instead, Americans tend to look out for number one and the ones that do the best job of this are seen as having more power. This isn’t so in the Kung Bushmen tribe. It is rather refreshing to know that a group of people can coexist with one another without constantly competing to be the best. Instead, the Kung Bushmen tribe realize that every member is valuable and they should work together for the good of the entire tribe instead of only worrying about their own individual interests.

Lee, Richard Borshay. “Eating Christmas in the Kalahari.” Natural History 1969. 6 Nov 2008

            <http://www.wcc.hawaii.edu/facstaff/dagrossa-p/articles/EatingChristmas.pdf>.

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Order now and Get a Discount!

Allassignments.net
Calculate your paper price
Pages (550 words)
Approximate price: -

Why Work with Us

Top Quality and Well-Researched Papers

We always make sure that writers follow all your instructions precisely. You can choose your academic level: high school, college/university or professional, and we will assign a writer who has a respective degree.

Professional and Experienced Academic Writers

We have a team of professional writers with experience in academic and business writing. Many are native speakers and able to perform any task for which you need help.

Free Unlimited Revisions

If you think we missed something, send your order for a free revision. You have 10 days to submit the order for review after you have received the final document. You can do this yourself after logging into your personal account or by contacting our support.

Prompt Delivery and 100% Money-Back-Guarantee

All papers are always delivered on time. In case we need more time to master your paper, we may contact you regarding the deadline extension. In case you cannot provide us with more time, a 100% refund is guaranteed.

Original & Confidential

We use several writing tools checks to ensure that all documents you receive are free from plagiarism. Our editors carefully review all quotations in the text. We also promise maximum confidentiality in all of our services.

24/7 Customer Support

Our support agents are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and committed to providing you with the best customer experience. Get in touch whenever you need any assistance.

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

Total price:
$0.00

How it works?

Follow these simple steps to get your paper done

Place your order

Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.

Proceed with the payment

Choose the payment system that suits you most.

Receive the final file

Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Services

No need to work on your paper at night. Sleep tight, we will cover your back. We offer all kinds of writing services.

Essays

Essay Writing Service

No matter what kind of academic paper you need and how urgent you need it, you are welcome to choose your academic level and the type of your paper at an affordable price. We take care of all your paper needs and give a 24/7 customer care support system.

Admissions

Admission Essays & Business Writing Help

An admission essay is an essay or other written statement by a candidate, often a potential student enrolling in a college, university, or graduate school. You can be rest assurred that through our service we will write the best admission essay for you.

Reviews

Editing Support

Our academic writers and editors make the necessary changes to your paper so that it is polished. We also format your document by correctly quoting the sources and creating reference lists in the formats APA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago / Turabian.

Reviews

Revision Support

If you think your paper could be improved, you can request a review. In this case, your paper will be checked by the writer or assigned to an editor. You can use this option as many times as you see fit. This is free because we want you to be completely satisfied with the service offered.

Get better grades effortlesslyIt’s cheaper than you might think

Effortlessly get the essays and grades you need. You can now get any essay, on any subject and at ANY deadline with just 10 minutes of your time (or less). Your professor will love you for it!