Rekindling the flame of the ancients with Ju/’hoansi master trackers in Kruger
This tracking art is a rare skill with only about a dozen masters of the intact African lineage left alive
There is a great deal of mystique surrounding the Bushman/San and their tracking prowess. Fuelled by storytellers from Laurens van der Post to latter-day mythologists, the legends live on, rendered now deeply poignant by the plight of the remaining ancients. People on the brink. The Ju/’hoansi of Nyae Nyae in Namibia are the last standard-bearers of Southern Africa’s hunter-gathers. For, uniquely and tragically, only they have the full suite, however precarious: their striking click language, access to wild land, the legal right to hunt and gather by traditional means, and a slender, unbroken knowledge bridge to millennia upon millennia of savanna-attuned living. They hold the flinted keys to surviving and thriving in a pre-agricultural, pre-industrial world. With lessons, perhaps, for a grasping post-industrial world.
I went to the remote //xa/oba settlement in north-eastern Namibia because there, Louis Liebenberg* told me, I would find three old-way geniuses, /ui-Kxunta, /ui...