John Brearley Botswana Collection

Naro (Nharo) women of D'Kar. Eland songs for the celebration ceremony of a girl's puberty. Part 2 of 2

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  • Type


  • Duration


  • Cultures

    Khoisan (Naro) [Nharo]

  • Shelf mark


  • Subjects

    Puberty rites; Lamellophone

  • Recording date


  • Is part of (Collection)

    John Brearley Botswana Collection

  • Performers

    unidentified (singers, female)

  • Recordist

    Brearley, John

  • Description

    San (Nharo) women of D'kar singing and dancing Eland Songs sung on the occasion of a Female Puberty Ritual to celebrate that a young girl has become a woman with the onset of her first menstruation. According to John Brearley's notes, D'kar (sometimes spelt Dekar) is a village about 35 kilometres north-east of Ghanzi. Many Naro live there, mostly involved with Kuru, a cooperative organisation which exists to help the Bushpeople towards self-determination and to feel that they can do things to help themselves. Kuru also promotes the sale of paintings and prints, crafts and leather goods. There are five different Eland Songs performed here; according to Ennie and Cgoise the name of the Eland ceremony derives from those with the name Eland (e.g. 2 and 4), both of which are very old but still sung today. 1. I am dying of hunger; this is a song which was sung when the women became hungry in the past during the dry seasons. 2. Eland or Daba; this song was sung when some of the old men (only a few) joined the dance imitating the horns of an eland with sticks which they held to their heads. Nobody at Kuru knows the meaning of the word Daba. 3. Qgari (alcohol, cp. Sets. Khadi). A song which goes on continuously, so called because it is sung while they wait for somebody to fetch qgari. This song had no connotation with alcohol in the past. The word qgari-(high tone at end) means continuous singing, a song which goes on and on for a long time without stopping. Nowadays they confused the name of the song with the word qgari (low tone) because they developed the habit of sending somebody to fetch alcohol when singing this song. They would continue to sing the same song afterwards. The two words are very similar and differ in tone only at the end of each. 4. Eland- in the middle of the night. This is a woman's dance only, and was sung and danced in the middle of the night before their fathers-in-law woke up. It is forbidden to appear naked before your father-in-law. 5. The Morning Bird -Q' uu Tsara. This is a song about a bird (like a cock) that wakes people up if they fall asleep in the veld when gathering food. 6. Qgari. 7. Eland-midnight. 8. Eland-Daba. 9. Dying of hunger. 10. Qgari. 11.Eland-midnight. 12. (Same- never really gets going).

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