All societies have a system that
teaches its people a moral code, a religious belief.
It is however difficult for some societies to
understand the lessons of other cultures. This
may be because the same value system may not apply,
or the context of which the story relates is unknown.
An example could be the story of
the ugly duckling. In most societies it could
be easily understood to be a parable about changing
from youth into adulthood. However in the Central
Kalahari, where swans are unknown to the Bushmen,
the understanding will be totally different.
The Bushmen are master storytellers
and great mimics of people and animals. These
stories are told around a camp fire at night and
are sometimes very repetitive. But when listening
to them first hand and seeing the actions of the
storyteller, it seems to form an exciting tale.
There are sometimes long pauses which allow the
listener time to think about the meaning. Stories
that sometimes seem strange and make little sense,
can be of use to have an insight into their lives,
culture, beliefs and character. In a way, just
like viewing the Bushmen rock art.
The hope of this section is that, by reading
these stories, a better understanding and appreciation
of the Bushmen will develop. Better still; a deep
respect for the knowledge of the first people
in southern Africa will be fostered.