Anthropologist Richard Borshay Lee took time to research the southern Tswana people. Richard Borshay Lee's "Eating Christmas in the Kalahari" introduces us to several extremely valuable social research tools. He chooses to participate in an ox Christmas celebration. It was Mr. Lee's belief that the tribe thought he was a miser because Mr. Lee had been there for a long time and never shared his food. In light of the fact that it was Christmas and that both parties celebrated the spiritual holiday, he was bound to share. In the end, his beliefs are at odds with the Kung people and we can see the power of socialising agents in action here.
Why did Lee decide to purchase an ox for the community for Christmas? What was the response of the bushmen?
It is typical for anthropologists, like Richard Borshay Lee, to thank their subjects for their time and effort by presenting them with a gift that does not insult them. There was a bit of a rift between Lee and Bushman after he mentioned that he was the sole source of tobacco in a thousand square miles, which led to the idea that he offered it to them as a gift, but they didn't have any need for it because starving was their primary concern (Lee 4).
A Christmas ritual of slaughtering an ox and eating it was the perfect way to express thank you to the Bushman. Lee had observed them for their "hunting and gathering subsistence economy" (Lee 1). As a result of his efforts, Lee was disappointed by the Bushman's response to his gift. Lee had expected the Bushmen to be overjoyed and grateful, but they seemed unimpressed, which made him lose his cool several times. Instead, they ridiculed him and scoffed at his plan to feed the entire village, deeming it inadequate.
There had been much jeering and scepticism from the Bushman when Lee showed them his ox, which they would be eating on Christmas Day. Even if someone had brought back a dish that Lee had never heard of before, it was always critiqued for being too thin in order to prevent conceit from setting in. This was the way they always did things. We are all his servants or inferiors in his eyes, according to the bushman. This instils pride in the young bushman who hunts so much meat for the community (Lee 4). It was also thought that pride would force one man to kill another, therefore the Bushman instead criticised his killing in order to make them "gentle" in their approach (Lee 4). A possible reason for this behaviour by the Bushman is that, whereas Lee saw the slaughter of this bull as his good deed of the year that made him feel good and that others would feel the same, it was standard practice among the Bushmen to share one's kill with others.
Tobacco given to the Bushman by Lee might have a significant impact on the lives of the Bushman by providing them with a source of income. Tobacco is often traded for other items in many civilizations. The Bushman Christmas feast provides a good opportunity to build up trades with neighbouring villages, which is part of Lee's economics research, by exchanging tobacco for livestock and/or food. When the Bushmen were not grateful to Lee, he may have revealed his fury, which might have had a negative impact on their life. Despite its unexpected outcome, it could have served as an opportunity to teach those who were younger.
Reactions to the article "Eating Christmas in the Kalahari," This is the storey of an anthropologist, Richard Lee, practising ethnography! Bushmen culture... Kung that regardless of what an individual performed they would put him down in order to keep his hubris in check.
As an ethnographer who had lived with and studied the southern Tswana tribe, Richard Borshay Lee was an expert on the culture... A blessing from Mr Lee was believed necessary because the ancestral network regarded him like a penny pincher due to the fact that he had been there for quite some time and never shared his sustenance.
That being so, Lee had to buy the Christmas bull to make up for his perceived lack of generosity. Among the Bushman, it is customary to slaughter and donate a bull to the network each year as an act of generosity.
Among the December 1969 issues of Characteristic History, Richard Borshay Lee's Eating Christmas in the Kalahari was published. It is one of the most often reprinted articles in the magazine.
Scavetta, Charlene (February 22, 2009). “Eating Christmas in the Kalahari”, Richard Borshay Lee. . retrieved 3/29/2022, from Anthropology 1001 Web Site: http://scavettacharlene.blogspot.com/2009/02/eating-christmas-in-kalahari-richard.html
ThatPresence ( December 2005 ). Eating Christmas in the Kalahari . retrieved 3/29/2022, from StudyMode.com Web Site: http://www.studymode.com/essays/Eating-Christmas-In-The-Kalahari-74594.html
Ontaneda, Ana (February 22, 2009). Eating Christmas in the Kalahari . retrieved 3/29/2022, from anthropology Web Site: http://unam0ur.blogspot.com/2009/02/ana-ontaneda-february-22-2009-ant-1001.html
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