14 Sep 2016 206 views
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photoblog image !Xoon woman
!Xoon woman|

!Xoon woman


This old woman is from the !Xoon Basarwa tribe and she speaks !Xóõ. We were camping in the Kalahari, near their village. One day just after breakfast, she came wandering in, very persistent demanding food. We gave her some food left over. This she consumed fast enough and when I took a picture with her permission, she demanded money, which I gave her (the equivalent of a day's labour wage) - but she wanted more. So, we asked her to take a hike, which she eventually complied with. She was too busy demanding, for me to get her (approximate) age. My guess would be 80+. What I found amazing, is how easy she can assume that position and get up again.



comments (17)

  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 14 Sep 2016, 02:53
Wow! Fantastic character!

Thai folks can assume the full squat...stay that way for 30minutes...just stand up and a walk off!

I am practicing it, too, but if I stay in that position for more than a minute I need to hold on th something or I won't get up!
Louis: These people squat all their lives, when they are not walking or sleeping. They also have a silly jog, which they can keep up for the better part of a day, but I think this woman can't do that anymore.
  • Martine
  • France
  • 14 Sep 2016, 04:09
Quelle beau visage pour cette vieille dame.
Louis: Une véritable beauté naturelle, Martine.
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 14 Sep 2016, 04:57
I think reaching this age you can get away with everything. Man alive.... what a character LOVE your story with it and yes it is difficult to be in this full squat and don't 'freeze'. In that regard 'we' are clumsy...
Louis: Apparently the squat leads to a very supple physique. They always squat, when they are not walking or sleeping - so they get a lot of suppleness exercise.
An amazing image, Louis - an amazing person!
Louis: It was a strange meeting, Elizabeth.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 14 Sep 2016, 05:25
Your description is very interesting, but also a bit saddening. Can the tribe survive?
Louis: They will not survive as a tribe, Philine. The world is not put together in that way. To survive, they have to participate as equal partners in the economy. Which requires proper education. For education, we have to start with their language, spoken by few and only recently developed as a written language, which they can't read. Nobody is going to develop school books in their language, etc - since they are too few. The official language of Botswana is Tswana, so they go to school, using Tswana. With Tswana, they can participate in the Botswana economy and understand what someone wants to contract with them. Language is just one of a number of enormous hurdles, that will take ages to overcome. By then, the world is so many years further. The other sad part is that there are many tribes in Southern Africa in a similar situation.

I have seen this happen in Holland. My wife is from the town of Opperdoes in Northern Holland. In the greater area, they speak West Friesian, which is totally different from Friesian. In Opperdoes, they spoke a dialect of West Friesian. I first visited them in 1977 and their home dialect was alive and well. Today it is extinct, except for a few older people still using it among themselves. So what happened? The generation of my wife is a bridge generation. Before her generation, you grew up, went to school and spoke mostly in the home dialect. After primary school, girls started working or did a year of 'huishoudschool'. Boys only went further if they were not going to farm vegetables and tulips. They normally qualified in a trade. So, in general the mix stayed in Opperdoes, most of their lives. The bridge generation, started to grow wings. They studied further and got the taste of other careers. The next generation (my wife's nephews and nieces) started with speaking the dialect, but went for tertiary education and grew out of the language. The development of ABN (Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands) also contributed. ABN became the medium of study and they were too many to work in Opperdoes, so they just had to go out and participate in the economy. Are they happy? In general they are. I haven't heard one of them lamenting the disappearance of the Opperdoes dialect.

And I am certain the same thing happened in Germany and other European countries.
She has clearly learned how to survive...and at her age, whatever it is, to get her own way, Louis. I see that the sun has wreaked havoc on her because she looks like she could be 110, at least!
Louis: I am not sure that her own tribe let her get away, with that attitude. Although I have indicated that she may be 80+, I wouldn't be surprised if she was nearer 100, but I have no proof.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 14 Sep 2016, 06:40
Blimey - what an image!
Louis: Blimey, yes, Chris smile
What a character Louis! I like that she is eating in plastic.
Louis: She is, yes Richard. The plastic, was the only clean containers that we had at that moment.
Getting down is easy....getting up is a whole different ball game.

This is a great picture but a sad story
Louis: It is very interesting to see how easy she does it. It is easier for her than walking.
  • blackdog
  • United Kingdom
  • 14 Sep 2016, 09:19
My knees wouldn't stand up to it that's for sure. A lifetime of hard experience in that face.
Louis: She must have known a few droughts, blackdog.
Makes me feel a little inadequate in the squatting department but a bit better in the wrinkle department.
Louis: Take one, give one smile Love that approach, Mary.
Some heavy duty knee caps are involved here, Louis. a terrific shot of this woman. i think you have an unforgettable image here.
Louis: Heavy duty, indeed, Ayush.
A great picture, Louis, what a character.
Louis: She is that, Frank.
All those wrinkles...
Louis: Everywhere ...
That's a lived in facde!
Louis: That's for sure!
A viewer could never guess your story from the photo. That's why I like context in some images.
Louis: Thank you Jacquelyn. That's always a point that gets argued. Some purists say a good picture requires no explanation. That may be so, but I believe that in many cases that will be shortsighted. Anyway, this is photo blogging. Some make a journal out of it, some just put up one excellent picture after the other, some make good friends and some get married. I try to add context, when I believe I'll get asked many questions smile
She's certainly got what we refer to over here as a 'lived in face'.

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