Centrul Astra Film



Astra Film Festival

A Kalahary Family: part 5 Death by Myth

John Marshall | USA | 2002 | 84'

By 1992, Namibian independence is attracting unprecedented levels of international aid for the Ju/'hoansi, but people complain that the development foundation no longer services theirs farms. DEATH BY MYTH documents the shift in policy from farming to wildlife management and cultural tourism. As John Marshall and the Ju/'hoansi attempt to rally support for farming, we witness the power of the "Bushman myth". This myth - a belief that Ju/'hoansi are born to hunt and uniquely capable of living in harmony with nature - denies Ju/'hoansi the humanity to change their economy and survive on their own. Ju/'hoansi endure their cattle being killed by lions and their water pumps destroyed by elephants. In 1994, Ju/'hoansi vote unanimously to dismiss the directors of the foundation, but their actions do little to stop natural resources development or the money pouring in to implement it. In 1996, with promises of great wealth, Ju/'hoansi vote to establish a nature conservancy. What did they really understand about the policy they were endorsing? The film ends in the year 2000 when the Ju/'hoansi conservancy members receive a meager 75 Namibian dollars (approximately $ 10.50 US) each - their profit from two years of trophy hunting. As more farms fail, many people are forced to return to the squalor and disease of Tsumkwe.