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!Kung Pitek, Emily
This entry focuses on one of the most widely known sub groups of the San-speaking people, the !Kung (self-referred to as (“Zhu|õasi”), specifically of the Nyae Nyae region, Namibia ca. 1950. The !Kung live in autonomous bands, which are comprised of a group of families residing together and “linked to one another and to the headman by kinship bonds” (Marshall, 1965:267). The headman is chiefly responsible for the band’s movements and regulation of the consumption of resources. While the !Kung are traditionally described as hunter-gatherers, they now also practice agriculture. There are no religious specialists among other than diviners and medicine men, who would be more accurately be characterized as ritual specialists or curers. The !Kung religious beliefs center around a greater and lesser god, spirits of the deceased, as well as occasional ceremonies. The religious group is best characterized as coterminous with the society itself.
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