DER Documentary

An Argument About a Marriage

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From the !Kung series
by John Marshall
color, 18 min, 1969


Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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This film is also available as part of the !Kung Short Films 2-disc set.

In 1958, with assistance from the Marshalls, a group of Ju/'hoansi returned home to Nyae Nyae after several years as unpaid, captive laborers on a farm. One woman, whose husband had escaped the farm and left her behind, had a child with another man. Upon the group's return to Nyae Nyae, an angry argument broke out over the matter.

An Argument About a Marriage raises questions about the impact of European farms on the economic and the social life of the Ju/'hoansi; about the complexities of marriage rules and bride-service in their traditional kinship system; and about the nature of conflict and its mediation among the Ju/'hoansi. Despite the interpersonal anger, we see how ≠oma's skillful intervention prevents this particular conflict from escalating to violence.

Related Resources
Study Guide

View more photos on www.flickr.com

Other films in the series:
Baobab Play
Bitter Melons
Children Throw Toy Assegais
A Curing Ceremony
Debe's Tantrum
First Film
A Group of Women
The Hunters
A Joking Relationship
A Kalahari Family
!Kung Bushmen Hunting Equipment
The !Kung San: Traditional Life
The !Kung San: Resettlement
Lion Game
The Meat Fight
N!owa T'ama: The Melon Tossing Game
Men Bathing
N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman
N/um Tchai: the Ceremonial Dance of the !Kung Bushmen
Playing with Scorpions
Pull Ourselves Up or Die Out
A Rite of Passage
To Hold Our Own Ground: A Field Report
Tug-Of-War, Bushmen
The Wasp Nest



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