Recapturing Space

Production of Intersubjectivity among the Central Kalahari San

in Journeys
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The |Gui and ||Gana, two groups of San, have made extensive use of the central part of the Kalahari Desert, though they were recently resettled outside their previous living area. Since relocation, their rich ecological knowledge has not served them well. Even in this situation, they still show a keen perception regarding the ground conditions: for avoiding obstacles as well as for assessing animal signs in the bushveld. This study explores how they deployed these kinds of knowledge by cleverly using various resources in the environment. My analysis shows that the skills required to find a path between hurdles on the land are closely associated with those used to perceive animal signs. I have documented, in detail, interactions among my informants; and shown how they arrive at a mutual understanding about the land and its signs, and that the presence of outsiders within these interactions encourages the |Gui and ||Gana to formulate their knowledge more explicitly. In these ways, folk knowledge becomes “known” to various participants. Their prediction becomes inseparable from their memory; their selves become involved with the land.


The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing