God als vijand: de genezingsdansen van de !Kung | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 49, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268



In the 1950s and 1960, only a few !Kung San, of Bushmen, continued to follow the traditional way of life of nomadic foodgathering in the Kalahari semi-desert of Southern Africa. Their religion is discussed in this article. Its central ceremonial was the curing dance. It is an all-night ritual, which they often practised. It served as their major means for maintaining solidarity in their nomadic bands and for removing conflict from it - an other means being the sharing of the food they gathered and meat they hunted. They maintained solidarity through the curing cance, for one reason because the dance was itself a process of sharing, of , ‘curing power’; and for another because it was a ritual of exclusion. God and the deceased were blamed for all the evil present in the group, declared and refused admission as unwelcome aliens, the !Kung waging a continual ritual war upon them as their sole enemies. The special interest of this religion and this ritual for the comparative study of religions is highlighted by an examination of the link between the anthropological study of the !Kung curing dances and recent archaeological research on the San rock paintings, of which thousands have been found all over Southern Africa. They are interpreted now as reflecting a tradition of San curing dances which dates back many millennia.


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