Nisa

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Harvard University Press, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 365 pages
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This book is the story of the life of Nisa, a member of the !Kung tribe of hunter-gatherers from southern Africa's Kalahari desert. Told in her own words--earthy, emotional, vivid--to Marjorie Shostak, a Harvard anthropologist who succeeded, with Nisa's collaboration, in breaking through the immense barriers of language and culture, the story is a fascinating view of a remarkable woman.
 

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Contents

Earliest Memories
41
Family Life
59
Life in the Bush
73
Discovering Sex
95
Trial Marriages
115
Marriage
133
Wives and CoWives
151
First Birth
159
Taking Lovers
237
A Healing Ritual
259
Further Losses
273
Growing Older
287
Epilogue
309
Notes
333
Glossary
345
Acknowledgments
353

Motherhood and Loss
181
Change
193
Women and Men
213

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Popular passages

Page 1 - I got up, took a blanket and covered Tashay with it; he was still sleeping. Then I took another blanket and my smaller duiker skin covering and I left. Was I not the only one? The only other woman was Tashay's grandmother, and she was asleep in her hut.
Page 36 - I'm going to talk more about it until it does. Then, I'll go on to another. Then, my heart will be fine.
Page 36 - I'll break open the story and tell you what is there. Then, like the others that have fallen out onto the sand, I will finish with it, and the wind will take it away.
Page 20 - Among the women I interviewed, Nisa stood out. She had an exceptional ability to tell a story in a way that was generous, vibrant, and moving. Her sensitivity and skill made her stories larger and more important than the details they comprised.
Page 1 - s grandmother, and she was asleep in her hut. So, just as I was, I left. I walked a short distance from the village and sat down beside a tree. . . . After she was born, I sat there; I didn't know what to do. I had no sense. She lay there, moving her arms about, trying to suck her fingers. She started to cry. I just sat there, looking at her. I thought, "Is this my child? Who gave birth to this child?" Then I thought, "A big thing like that? How could it possibly have come out from my genitals?

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About the author (2000)

Marjorie Shostak was a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at Emory University and an award-winning photographer.

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