I have broken this up into sections with some of the topics overlapping others. The book was pleasant to read, I just wish I had taken the time to make notes as I read.
At the time I felt it would be easy to go back over the material for the ISC. 1. SUSTINANCE: The BaMbuti are hunter gatherers at the time of Turnbull’s writing. They had been trading with the Negroe villagers meat for plantation products, but for the most part they got what they needed from the jungle. “The forest is their world and in exchange for their affection and trust it supplies them with all they need (Turnbull, 14).” They know which roots to eat and which vines to follow to these roots. They know when the rain will provide the best mushrooms to eat. The villagers, they do not see these, they walk on past them.
They hunt for meat with nets that the mother may have given her son upon his marriage, and that he or his wife must now maintain. Some use spears, and others use a bow and arrow with a poison tip. Once the animal is chased and caught in the net the spear or a knife id used to quickly dispatch the animal.They hunt these animals in groups in which there may be several layers of family involved. This is why it is important in other areas to get along and make these socio-political marital ties so that there may be a successful hunt and enough food gathered.
When an elephant was brought down they disbanded the camp and relocated it as it was easier than moving the downed elephant. 2. LANGUAGE: Their language is thought to be all but lost as over the years they have taken on one of three dialects of the Negroe villagers. Yet their tonal pattern seems to remain (Turnbull, 19).Their pronunciation of the vowels is clear and precise and a sing-song intonation is present during speech. Certain syllables are emphasized and they are either higher or lower than the others. Lower is used if questioning, unlike the American vernacular of raising it during a question.
The “A” is a schwa sound as in father. The “E” is a long “A” sound as in make. “I” is a long “E” sound as in sweet.
“O” is a long “O” as in rose and the “U” is an “OO” as in food. The language from what I have read is somewhat clear. On page 106 Turnbull writes “Pisa me taba” which translated into “Pass me my tobacco”.
Singing and song play a large part in their language as they sing to the forest to keep it happy as they walk along, they sing while “praying”, and they sing during times of happiness and grief. 3. POLITICAL SYSTEM: The political system is rather simple and based upon respect for the camp and the forest. They do not have a chief per se, but as usual there are those that are looked upon for guidance for various reasons. Marriage intertwines into their political system as it does their hunter gathering methods. It is based upon needs.
This binds families together and encourages resolution within the family.