Among the Kalahari Bushmen as elsewhere, a girl may long to join the active life that is restricted to men and boys. And any...

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THE OSTRICH CHASE

Among the Kalahari Bushmen as elsewhere, a girl may long to join the active life that is restricted to men and boys. And any suspicion that this common frustration is merely the occasion for another thinly fictionalized ethnology lesson is dispelled when Khuana accidentally wounds her grandmother while secretly learning to prepare poison arrows. The grandmother Gaushe is willing to follow the tribal custom and stay behind to die when the community moves on in search of a new water hole, but, knowing she is responsible, Khuana returns to her grandmother and soon -- as the pair attempt to cross the waterless desert -- the man's knowledge she has quietly gained and the ostrich hunt which was once merely a cherished dream become necessities for survival. Moses L. Howard, formerly Musa Nagenda of Uganda, combines a starkly realistic view of the Bushmen's harsh, primitive way of life with universally recognizable character types; Khuana and Gaushe accept the privations of their desert trek -- the ant-infested game, the maggoty wound, the dizziness caused by lack of water -- with such stoical courage that we never doubt their eventual victory or lose the modest sense of kinship Howard establishes from the beginning.

Pub Date: April 18, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1974