THE HEALING LAND: A Kalahari Journey

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9780007291793: THE HEALING LAND: A Kalahari Journey

A brilliantly written exploration - part travel writing, part personal quest - of Africa's oldest and most famous population The Bushmen have long been mythologised and are firmly entrenched in the Western mind. But what is it about hunter-gatherers that is so attractive us, and why do we need these myths? Fascinated by this disappearing population, Rupert Isaacson has been venturing into the Kalahari since he was a child and his book is a search for this truth about the Bushmen through Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. Part travel writing, part history of the Bushmen, part personal quest, it will record what he finds there, the landscapes he travels through, the wildlife he hunted and ate, the characters, corruption and confusion of a people who have wrenched themselves out of the Stone Age (it wasn't until 1948 that it became illegal to kill Bushmen) into a cash economy over the past ten years.

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Review:

• ‘The story is a familiar one, but it has never been told quite this way, by a narrator so open-hearted, optimistic and vulnerable to enchantment… This is a very sweet book, full of mystery, magic and strange coincidence, and it even has a happy ending, unusual in Africa. Highly recommended.’
Rian Malan

From the Back Cover:

Brought up on family stories about the bushmen of the Kalahari, Rupert Isaacson journeys to this dry vast grassland – which stretches across South Africa, Botswana and Namibia – to find out the truth behind these childhood myths. Deep in the arid heartland, Isaacson meets the last groups of Bushmen still living the traditional way, caught between their ancient culture and the growing need to protect and reclaim their dwindling hunting grounds. Little by little he is drawn into the fascinating web of ritual and prophecy that make up the Bushman reality, until at last he is sent in search of Besa, a powerful healer and shape-shifter. what follows is an adventure of an intensity he could never have predicted.

Part travel writing, part history of the Bushmen, part personal quest, The Healing Land records what Isaacson finds these silent, empty spaces: the trance dance he attends, the wildlife he hunts, the wild plants he helps gather, the characters, corruption, kindness and confusion of a people who have wrenched themselves from the Stone Age into the new millennium.

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Isaacson, Rupert
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