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.
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.
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.
League of Nations mandate
South West Africa placed under League of Nations mandate to be administered by South Africa.
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.
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.
John Marshall's first film,
The Hunters, is released to wide acclaim.
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.
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.
South West Africa People's Organization
South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) is formed to advocate independence from South Africa.
Comedic feature film The Gods Must Be Crazy, by South African director Jamie Uys, is released. The film stars Ju/'hoan actor /Gao Kanna.
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.
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.
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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Ju/'hoansi establish the Ju/'hoan Bushman Farmers' Union, later known as the Nyae Nyae Farmer's Cooperative (NNFC)
South West African government begins to allow big game trophy hunting in Bushmanland; license fees are paid to the government.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.