Yellow Skin

Posted on Wed March 31, 2021.

She had the liveliest eyes and brightest smile irrespective of harsh living conditions of the scorching sun and wind.  A yellowish skin that glows everyday.  Have you ever wondered how the San people get by, to manage a smile in such depressing times? I've come to conclude that simplicity is the answer, being content and satisfied.  Nomnom was indeed satisfied.  She lived a simple life.  She collected veldkos (berries, bush onions, roots), walked miles in search of wood, just to provide the next meal for all her five siblings, her being the eldest.  Around the fire is where bonding took place.  Unique click sounds only they can do, telling each other stories about ancient times.  Each one would have a chance to either sing a song, tell a story or do dances by stamping feet tot he beat of their chosen traditional songs.  Nomnoms stories intriqued them all.  She had a way with words leaving everyone in awe.  They never knew if her stories were true or not but they believed her anyway.  That's how powerful and convincing her words were.  San women are treated equal to men and are greatly respected, but Nomnom was quite special.  Even the little ones admired her.  There was something in the way she moved and how she carried herself.  When she spoke, the universe listened.

Eventhough the San has excellent sight to hunt for survival, no man in their tribe could use the bow and arrow as accurately as Nomnom could.  Hunting by women was seen as a taboo, so she did it secretly.  She hid it in the sand where nobody would find it.  She simply worshipped it.  It had such sentimental value, the exact same one that was used to kill her mother, Kwansi.  They called them trophy hunters.  Nomnom remember her mother being struck as if it was yesterday.  The unfortunate incident when Kwansi was simply too close to big foot and ended up being the target.  Big foot, is what they call the elephant.  Nomnom often wondered if those men who killed Kwansi, think of that day when they admire their trophies.  Was her mother's life worth it?  

Whenever the moon was full, she would say a special prayer to the gods and she believed in her heart that her mother was always present, a quiet presence that always made Nomnom feel safe and looked after.  She took it on her, to take care of her younger brothers.  She knew that younger boys were silly and had no sense of responsibility.  All they did was eat, sleep and play.  At fifteen, she could do what most married women did.

She made the most beautiful blankets that were first tanned. Usually animal skins were used for this purpose.  Oh and how her siblings loved sucking marrow out of the bones.  When around the fire every night, before dancing, singing and clapping of hands, one  would hear the sucking sounds of satisfaction once they tasted the greasy, cooked marrow.  They used a plant straw to suck water out of the sand and stored it in empty ostrich eggshells.  Water was appreciated as they often walked  long distances in search of food.

Nomnom felt proud of all she could do.  She felt she possessed her mom's qualities of being a proper San woman.  Kwansi has taught Nomnom to be grateful for all they had.  They had little but it made all the difference in the world.  Besides, what more does one need, when the most important things in life are for free.