Traditional South African veganism

In an interview by Johnny Clegg, South African musician who is less known as an anthropologist, the tribesmen who live on Hoerikwaggo (aka Table mountain, //Hui !Gaeb) stated that they get everything they need from the flora and that they take nothing from the animals, birds and so on (“no, not even the occasional egg”, they responded to a confused Clegg); to better explain their views, they referred to the animals as their brothers and sisters. One man from the tribe and Clegg spoke in a local language (or two, which I don’t understand; sometimes two people can make sense to each other speaking different regional languages – my housemates used to converse this way anyhow), the subtitles gave a clear enough indication of their values and they no doubt have a biocentric perspective on life and see animals as their equals.

From A Country Imagined, I gathered these men weave their clothes from a coarse plant fibre, also from local vegetation and they said they follow local ancestral tradition. I’ve been interested to know more and so far found nothing else and nothing written about them, unlike the Khoi‘s (who were the indigenous to //Hui !Gaeb). There was a newspaper article one of two friends who knew of this tribe had read. I have many questions about their traditions but that I’d like to ask someone who both knows them first-hand and holds an anti-speciesist worldview. Since I became disabled 10 years ago my plans of trekking through that magnificent mountain got postponed, then eventually abandoned, and I was unlikely to ever run into them or well, hike up. 

My //Hui !Gaebian mountaineer friends seem to not know about the tribe, one expressed disbelief and one reminded me it was a conservation area where no one is allowed to stay overnight alledgedly (I doubt this applies to ancestral relationship with the mountain, it shouldn’t ever). I’m not from here and I have never heard about them in Anthropology 101 or from anthropologists who lived here, one was vegan but white, tokenistic, etc. Then again, I haven’t heard of any African vegetarian traditions in anthropology classes or from anthropologists anywhere. I have noted, so far, a dire lack of interest in finding out more about them from local (predominantly white) vegans.

This tribe lives only on the plants on the mountain, even through y/our harsh (it’s doesn’t snow, rarely does at the top but it gets very cold) rainy winter and it raises the question for those of us under the same climate or potentially comparable conditions: are we too disconnected from nature to innately have morality in our cluttered, allegedly progressive world?

Borrowed from and cropped.

Rant on technology, capitalism and the hindering of equality: Rather than Robocop box office hits, we need affordable ‘robocop suits’ HAL-3s now that I could use! All links on the “robocop suit” are from 2010 news or re-publications and the HAL-3 reports are even older. Note how the focus is on wealth and the military; disabled folks matter not, what matters is to disable them perhaps.


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