The Hadzabe Tribe, Part 4 – You can reach out and grab a star

Posted on: June 9th, 2011 by Amy 5 Comments

Preparing for night hunting with the bushmen is a little tense. I can feel that they are apprehensive about me going; I am slow, and I am a woman. We are dressed and have our equipment ready. Now surrounded by the African night (and please let me explain that the African night is so dark you can’t see your hand in front of you–but you can reach out and grab a star) the bushmen are excited. They have never taken anyone night hunting. They want us to see them in true action. We have now spent enough time with them that we are family. The dogs are fired up; the bushmen are seriously focused, not like in the morning. They want either an impala or a baboon. They explain to Momoya in Click- Click how they want us to follow them. “Doc” at this point wants to be back at camp drinking Konyagi. Even Tonto is a little tense. Vance is more concerned about me than the hunting.

Hadzabe Obama is dressed in a baboon skin, tail hanging off the back. He is checking his poison, ensuring it is handy. The poison they use is from the base of an orchid. They extract it, chew it like gum, and then when they boil it, it becomes deadly. The small children are not with us, only eight years old and up. They don’t use flashlights, so we start, and I can’t see a thing! Not a f**** thing. Running, they are splitting up, the young with the wooden arrows in the front, the poison arrow’s in the back. Whistling, signaling, we are running like in a bad horror movie. The dogs keep hitting my calves to keep me in line, like a goat. I can hear action but I can’t see it, focused on not tripping. For two hours we are running and trying to keep up. They stop. One of the bushmen grabs my arm, signaling to stop and be silent. Obama shoots. He hits a monkey, but because we are there, he only injures him. You can hear all the other monkeys and animals run. The place is now tainted. Disgusted with their lack of kills, the bushmen decide that it is time to dump us, so being friendly and polite, they sit us down in the middle of the night and light up bang. At this point I am relieved; I am too old for this kind of shit. Who in their right mind goes night hunting with the bushmen in the middle of Africa?

As the bang is being passed, the night is now calm, and we are talking like it’s a campfire. Hadzabe Obama’s brother asks about Vance — why is he black and can’t understand Africa? Momoya explains that Vance’s ancestors were slaves. This initiated a big discussion in Click-Click. Momoya was slow in explaining that the slaves had been taken to the Caribbean and the States. The bushmen kept asking more questions. How come you still don’t know your tribe? How is that? Why is that? Why is he so yellow? Who is she? Why does a white woman know about Africa and tribes? Then there was a discussion amongst the bushmen only–click-click, clock-clock–but they kept looking at us. We had no idea what was going on. Click-click, clock-clock. They obviously had agreed on something. I was hoping it wasn’t more late night hunting like a bad bushman rave party. Then Obama took off one of his porcupine necklaces and put it around Vance’s neck. He said in Click -Click “Welcome home.” He then placed a necklace on me, and said in Click-Click “Thank you for bringing him home.”

5 Responses

  1. Hol says:

    In a dark, adventurous, exhausting night, what a intensely heartfelt moment this must have been. Beautiful share, Thanks!

  2. Keith says:


    What an excellent event! That statement from the bushmen and acceptance of Vance shows the critical thinking of these people. As a black man who has never been to Africa or even spoke to an African in length am truly touched by Vance’s experience. Africa is the cradle of civilization. The magnitude of him being welcomed home goes deeper than most can imagine.

  3. Karen T says:

    Damn – that brought a tear to my eye.

  4. Dee says:

    Beautiful Amy/Vance – what a powerful force of energy you two are.
    Keep forging on and spreading the good work that you do.
    Love you!!

  5. Betty says:

    Amy & Vance,
    incredible work and all the things you are doing. Amy it was great talking to you again and I will be in touch. You are my hero. Can not wait to see the new videos andd comments.
    Love you guys,

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