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The story describes a traditional life lived in Kung South Africa in the early 90s. Generally, this is the history of the community before the arrival of the white man in Africa. Marshall employs the original Kung’s language which is translated into English for the viewers. It is impressive that the narrator is also part of the story and thus explains her side of the story. There are a lot of traditional facts depicted in the film that explains the original South African culture specifically the Kung community before they interacted with the white men.
Firstly off, the community is portrayed as hunters and gatherers. They depend on animals such as giraffe’s meat for their daily bread. The men are to go hunting and then to present their catch for sharing with other family members. Marshall presents the community as dry such that they have no other gardens to get an alternative source of food apart from meat. On the other hand, the women are presented as cooks and the careers of the little ones. Only the sharp hunters are sent to hunt for the meat.
The Kung community is portrayed as typical Africans who never wore clothes before the arrival of the white men. They neither went to school and therefore the level of illiteracy was too high. Men are wearing animal skin around their waists while the women wrapped some piece of clothes around their private parts. They were too shameful to play near men. According to Lemelson & Tucker (2017), one evident culture is a forceful marriage. Young ladies at their eight years old like Nail is forced to marry a man who is aged 13 whom she never loved. There is no room for choosing from the many available men on whom to take as a husband.
The film occurs in a desert area, and most of the scenes are captured during the day. Before the arrival of the white man, fire is the only source of heat and healing is spiritual. The sick are treated by traditional men who believe that God has given them some powers to heal.
Before 1978, the community is shown to exist in small groups that never had any military force. Worst of all, the community did not even have any form of currency they called money. Most of the products they needed such as oil to apply on the skin were derived from fruit or crop products that they acquired locally.
Civilization would then arrive with the coming of the white man. A community that never appreciated their wild animals are being encouraged to stop killing giraffes for meat as that is deemed to be against the wildlife protection laws. Moreover, the military begins the process of recruiting men into the force and therefore demanding more arrows to shoot against their enemies. Women and men started wearing clothes to replace the animal skins that they used previously. Knowledge increased rapidly, and the idea of media cropped into the community after the white man came in with their vehicles, cameras, and radio to facilitate communication (Singer, 2005).
Marshall exposes the viewers into the traditional life of Kung’s community and allows them to relate with the experiences therein. Nail represents the transformed segment of the community who could not read and write but after some period of civilization changes their culture to adopt the white’s culture (Singer, 2005). As per the community culture, the marriage took place in a hut where the bride met the bridegroom, and this was not questionable. Human back was the primary method of transportation, and this changed after the arrival of the white men. Also, with the advent of education, all these cultures transformed and everybody else viewed life from a different perspective. Even hunting went digital since hunters are portrayed using horses to go after the animals. People no longer use spiritual hearing methods but instead visit hospitals for various diagnosis and treatments.
Towards the end of the film, Marshall demonstrates new technologies like medical diagnosis tools which engage the audience just like the introduction that is full of traditional stories. Moreover, there are some elements of traditional dances that takes the viewers back to the central theme which is a culture of the Kung’ community and their transition story (Singer, 2005). However, characters reveal themselves to the viewers through narration and pictures since there is no twist in the film production.
In conclusion, the film appears to be successful as it engages viewers through a transitional story that takes only fifty-eight minutes. Regarding clarity, the film ought to have used some more digital camera to reveal clear images of various scenes such as the spiritual healings that were typically blurred.
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