Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

 

Still frame, The Hunters, HSFA, SI, 2005_11_27c The John Marshall Ju/'hoan Bushman Film and Video Collection spans 1950-2000; during this time Ju/'hoansi's lives were transformed by significant changes in Nyae Nyae, in Namibia, and in the world at large. Of course, Ju/'hoan history stretches back much farther than 1950 and has been influenced by innumerable forces and events. Life in Nyae Nyae has also changed since John Marshall's last video shoot in 2000.
The following timeline marks some events that affected or were affected by the Ju/'hoansi of Nyae Nyae during the 20th century and provides some context for John Marshall's documentary record.
   
Date Event    
      South West Africa, 1909. Detail from General Map of Africa, The Map of Africa by Treaty, by Sir Edward Hertslet
1884-1915 German Colonial Period The territory then known as Deutsch Sudwestafrika (German Southwest Africa) is under German Colonial rule. Ethnic groups including San (Bushmen), Herero, and Nama suffer forced labor and genocide.
     
1915 Beginning of South African Rule South African troops invade South West Africa at request of British government; Germany surrenders the territory, which comes under the protection of Great Britian.
     
1919 League of Nations mandate South West Africa placed under League of Nations mandate to be administered by South Africa.
       
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    John Marshall as a child, c 1936
1920 Vagrancy Proclamation Vagrancy Proclamation and Stock-Theft Proclamation allow for widespread arrests of Bushmen, followed by sentences of hard labor on white-owned farms. (Gordon 1992, "The Bushman Myth" p102-103)
     
1932 John Marshall born in United States John and his elder sister, Elizabeth, are the children of Lorna, a graduate of Radcliffe, and Laurence, the founding president of the Raytheon Corporation.
     
1945 End of WWII, United Nations established South Africa does not recognize the United Nations as the successor to the League of Nations and refuses to hand over the mandate for South West Africa to UN trusteeship in 1946


     
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1950 John Marshall and his father, Laurence, make their first trip to South West Africa. (Video clip is silent.)

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1951 First Marshall Family expedition The Marshall family embarks on the first of seven expeditions sponsored by the Peabody Museum of Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution. Lorna Marshall begins her ethnographic studies of Ju/'hoansi at /Gautcha. Lorna Marshall and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas interview !U Debe and others, 1955
     
1955 "Blackbirding" Several Ju/'hoan families are "blackbirded" (abducted for labor) and taken to farms south of Nyae Nyae. ≠Oma and his family escape the following year. The Marshalls assist in the release of the other Ju/'hoansi in 1957.
       
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1957 The Hunters John Marshall's first film,
The Hunters
, is released to wide acclaim.
Still frame, The Hunters, HSFA, SI, 2005_11_27a
1958 John Marshall leaves Nyae Nyae The South West African government declines to renew John Marshall's visa after it expires. He is denied entry to the country for twenty years.  
       
1959 Tsumkwe administrative post established Claude McIntyre, first Bushman Affairs Commissioner, establishes administrative post at Tsumke in Nyae Nyae. McIntyre invites ≠Oma to work with him; the /Gautcha band moves to Tsumkwe in 1960 and begins some agricultural work. ≠Oma Tsamko, 1959
1960 South West Africa People's Organization South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) is formed to advocate independence from South Africa.  
       
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1962 A Joking Relationship-
John Marshall and Timothy Asch pioneer short "sequence" film and subtitles in ethnographic film

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1966 SWAPO begins armed struggle for independence. South West African People's Organization (SWAPO) begins armed struggle for independence against South Africa.  
1976 Bushmanland established as homeland Under South West Africa's ethnic homeland policy, Bushmanland is declared as the homeland for all Bushman peoples. Ju/'hoansi lose approximately 70% of their traditional territory. namibia_homelands
       
1978 Army begins recruiting Ju/'hoansi Bushman Battalion 36 of the South African Defence Force (SADF) is established at Tsumke. Ju/'hoansi are recruited to fight against SWAPO. Still frame, N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman
       
1978 Marshall returns to Nyae Nyae Marshall is finally granted a permit to visit Nyae Nyae. He shoots footage for N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman, which shows the destitution of Ju/'hoan life in Tsumkwe. John Marshall interviews ≠Oma Tsamko, Tsumkwe, Namibia, 1978
       
       
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1980 The Gods Must be Crazy Comedic feature film The Gods Must Be Crazy, by South African director Jamie Uys, is released. The film stars Ju/'hoan actor /Gao Kanna.  
1982 Ju/'hoansi establish farms Several Ju/'hoan families leave Tsumkwe, returning to their traditional lands (n!ores) and establishing subsistence farms there. Marshall and Claire Ritchie establish The Cattle Fund (later the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation) to assist Ju/'hoansi. Tending garden, Nyae Nyae, 1990
1983 Film deposited at HSFA John Marshall deposits the 16mm film he shot from 1950-1958 and in 1978 at the Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution so that it can be used for research.  
       
1984 Game reserve proposed South West African government supports creation of a game reserve in Bushmanland, which would dispossess Ju/'hoansi of all their land. Marshall and Ritchie launch a media campaign opposing the plan.  
       
       
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1986 Ju/'hoansi establish the Ju/'hoan Bushman Farmers' Union, later known as the Nyae Nyae Farmer's Cooperative (NNFC)

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1988 Trophy Hunting in Bushmanland South West African government begins to allow big game trophy hunting in Bushmanland; license fees are paid to the government.  
1989 First democratic elections in Namibia

United Nations Task Force Group (UNTAG) oversees first democratic elections for Republic of Namibia; Ju/'hoansi vote in Nyae Nyae. Political rally, Tsumkwe, 1989
       
1990-1992 Influx of foreign aid follows Namibian independence and abolition of apartheid laws Many foreign donors and aid agencies would not fund projects due to apartheid laws in South West Africa. After independence, large amounts of money were given to development organizations in Namibia, including the NNDFN. Payday, Baraka, c1993
       
1991 Namibian Lands Conference Ju/'hoan rights to control their land in what remains of Nyae Nyae are recognized at the Namibian Lands Conference. 35 Ju/'hoan farming communities exist by the end of the year. Click on image to view larger version of map. Map of n!ores (traditional lands), Nyae Nyae, c 1989
       
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1991-1994 Across southern Africa, San groups - including the Ju/'hoansi of Nyae Nyae - become more politically active, lobbying for their rights to land, education, and self-determination. Many groups of San come together for the First Regional Conference on Development Programs for Africa's San Populations in 1992. Ju/hoansi advocate for themselves on a national level at the 1991 Namibian Lands Conference (see video).

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1996 Nyae Nyae Conservancy voted in Ju/'hoansi vote to establish a Conservancy in Nyae Nyae; the Conservancy model will give them communal control of and financial benefit from wildlife management and tourism. tsumke_road
       
1998 Traditional Authorities Act Namibian Traditional Authorities Act recognizes Traditional chiefs, including Tsamko "Bobo" ≠Oma of Nyae Nyae Poster, A Kalahari Family, 2002
2001 A Kalahari Family



John Marshall's 6-hour series, A Kalahari Family is released. The series incorporates footage shot from 1950-2000.

       
2001 Kxao Royale /O/oo elected to Parliament Kxao Royale /O/oo is the first Ju/'hoan elected to the Namibian Parliament Still frame, The Hunters, HSFA, SI, 2005_11_27b
     
2003 National Film Registry
The Hunters is added to the National Film Registry
     
       
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2005 Marshall dies; rest of collection deposited at HSFA After Marshall's death in April 2005, the remainder of his film and video collection, papers, and maps are deposited at the HSFA. John Marshall editing film, 1954
     
2005 Community library opens in Tsumkwe The Captain Kxao Kxami Community Learning and Development Centre is established in Tsumkwe to serve as a resource for the local community.
     
2009 The Memory of the World In August 2009, the complete John Marshall Ju/'hoan Bushman Film and Video Collection, 1950-2000 was added to UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.
       
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This timeline has been prepared as a starting point for research. Information about John Marshall and the John Marshall Ju/'hoan Bushman Collection is based on the collection itself and the authors' first-hand knowledge of certain events. References for some events have been noted above; the News and Events section of this website contains additional resources for further research.

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