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Ostrich Shell Beads

Page history last edited by Barbara Allen 15 years, 3 months ago

 

 

Ostrich Shell Beads


 

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   The San are genetically the oldest people in the world and have genetic markers that the rest of us in the world don't have.

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Bushmen are good craftsmen of beadwork. Hatched ostrich egg shells are broken into smaller pieces by using fingers, stones and sometimes teeth. Holes are drilled in the centre of the bead by turning the drill between the palms of hands. The beads are put on string made of twisted sinew. Each bead is patiently chipped until it becomes round by using a springbok horn and a stone. To keep the beads together, while being polished, a paper like fibre made from a plant root is placed between each bead. A grindstone is moved up and down until the beads are even, round and smooth.

(http://www.womensworkbw.com/osb.htm)

http://www.cst.cmich.edu/users/dietr1rv/zoogems/eggshells.html

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Ostrich shell beads have been made in Africa for over 30,000 years.

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Botswana

The San originated in East Africa and migrated to South Africa 25,000 years ago. The Khoikhoi only appeared in San areas about 2000 years ago. Before advances in genetics, it was postulated that the Khoikhoi were from outside Africa. However, Khoikhoi and San are very closely related both genetically and linguistically.

Most San and Khoisan work for low wages on the farms of Blacks or whites, a few still hunt and forage at least part-time. A continual problem is that hunter-gatherers don't need (or want) to own land, they only want land-use rights. The San who want a traditional lifestyle have had mixed success gaining land use rights from governments intent on land ownership.

The San in Namibia and Botswana have a lower AIDS rate than the general population (3%-6% HIV positive as compared to Botswana's 38% and Namibia's 22.5%) This has been partly attributed to the San people mostly living in small out of the way villages. However, part is also attributed to the higher status of women in the egalitarian San culture.

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