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Genesis

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Allure

Allure


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African Found Objects

African Found Objects


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Poseidon

Poseidon


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African Romance

African Romance


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ZSISKA

ZSISKA


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On Sale

ON SALE

Genesis

The Bushmen, also known as the San, are the oldest inhabitants of Africa.  Even today some of them have a lifestyle similar to that of a thousand years ago.  However, due to progress and the establishment of farmland, they are no longer able to continue their nomadic existence and are settled in the harsh semi-desert areas of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.

Today, many maintain their traditional existence by hunting and gathering.  They have an incredible knowledge of ecology and their environment.  The men are excellent trackers and skilled hunters, still using their ancient hunting methods using bow and arrow.  A lethal poison, made from the larvae of a beetle with no known antidote, is known only to the Bushman.  This is used on their arrow tips, making certain that once the animal is hit dinner is guaranteed.

The Bushmen believe in two gods.  A good god, X!u (the ! denotes a click of the tongue), who is very far away.  X!u supplies the good things like rain, sufficient food and good health.  The other god is Gawa.  He is the bad god, who is close to them.  Gawa is responsible for bad things like thunder storms (living in the bush without shelter, makes you understand), droughts and sickness.

Unfortunately, the effects of war, drought and indiscriminate hunting, as well as competition from elephants and other natural predators, has caused the Bushman to suffer from famine.  Few of the Bushmen have a job or income.  Their way is to live in the present without planning for the future.  They have no concept of monetary value (since they have few possessions, and there are no shops nearby, nor any transportation).

About the jewelry:

San women love to adorn themselves, including young girls and even babies.   One of the oldest forms of adornment comes in the form of ostrich egg shell necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

Each bead is made by hand using the ancient methods.  The egg shell is broken into small pieces, which are made then tapped with an object to make it slightly rounded.  A hole is drilled, using a metal point attached with string to a reed like stick, through the center of the piece.

The pieces are then strung onto nylon (traditionally sinew was used but it dries out and breaks) so that they fit tightly against each other, then the string of shells is rubbed against a stone to create the smooth rounded shape.  The necklace is then intricately beaded into differentdesigns.  The sizes of the beads on each string will differ, so typically one necklace or bracelet will need to be made from the same original string.  Off-white is the natural coloring of the shell, but brown or black beads are made by roasting the shells or rubbing it in the ashes of the fire.

About the project

We work with a Dutch Reformed Reverend and his wife, whose mission is to work with the San in Namibia, ensuring they have sufficient food and to be a voice for them where possible.  They trade food for products using a simple system:  on a daily basis, the Reverend drives out to different villages with a pickup loaded with basic foodstuff.  The villagers bring their products and a price is set for each piece.  They then use the “credit” for their products to exchange for the equal cost of the food.   The money from jewelry sales is used to pay for the food.

A Message from our San Craftsmen:

  “Mi Wi A” ~ (I thank you),  ” A Wi Mi” ~ (You help me)

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