Guinea fowl feathers, leather and ostrich egg shell

Guinea fowl feathers were the inspiration behind the interior design in the newly reopened Dinaka Lodge. Voter wears them in his head decoration as he talks. ‘I also have common Duiker horns on my head. That is so if they see me coming from behind the bushes, they only see the horns and then you can shoot and have something nice to eat. The leather of my head decoration is steenbok skin.

How we make the leather to wear is we catch the Duiker, skin it and take the skin around the fire. You eat the animal and you take the fats and rub them into the skin also. This helps to peel the fur, which you can do with a gemsbok cucumber. After adding the fats you rub until its soft. Also we had colour and to help preserve the skin. You dig out the root of the brandy bush and peel the branches. You add to water and this makes the skin more brown. It keeps it longer because of the die.

Kumtsha and Voter also wear a variety of ostrich egg shell artefacts on their headdress. ‘The ostrich egg shell makes the Duiker eyes of my headdress and the ears. Then these sections on the side of my head also stop a headache, you can rub them into you like this. They press the nerves. Or for protection and for luck we wear the ostrich egg shell as a bracelet. Women wear the necklace to be make them very nice.’

for protection and for luck we wear the ostrich egg shell

(These necklaces, leather pouches, spoons are all used as décor in the Dinaka lodge through Wild Artifacts. Along with the drums used in tradition celebrations and the spears as described above).

How you make the Ostrich eggshell decoration is you drill a hole in the shell with something sharp. Then you put the shell on a stone and with a digging stick you chip away at the edges like this until you make a circle. You see these dark ones, this is done with putting them in a pan on the fire.

The blood of steenbok we leave in with the meat, when we have caught it we roast it all. You cook on the ground and cover the fire with sand. Duiker you only roast for one hour, Steenbok is longer. You use spoons to eat the blood when it has gone thicker. Spoons are also used for the ostrich eggs to eat the inside. Very nice.

Traditional spears for hunting

A common cork tree is what you use for firewood. Its light. In rainy season you can spot fruits and flower that attract you to the tree. Butterflies feed on it and lay eggs. Caterpillars hatch and drop off the tee. They make a cocoon and the lava is a poison for hunting. It’s very strong so you must make sure it does not go in your eye with the wind, or in an open wood. Very dangerous.
We are wanting to kill a big eland which is good for the whole family. When that happens you dance all day and night. Like drums you see back at Dinaka lodge, these are used and we are up all night, dancing to the ancestors and praying.

The spears is made from sorghum and the kudu tendon is used because it is strong. That ties the spear together. To support it. sorghum is newer but in the past we used wild sesame. This is even stronger.
With the bow, the string is from the kudu tendon. You get the tendon from the back. The wood on the bow is the brandy bush because it is strong and flexible.

(These Spears are in Dinaka lodge via Wild Artifacts)

This is how you hunt, you creep up, fire the spear from the bow and if you have hit the kudu, you leave it. The next day you can track the kudu by the blood dripping too and the poison has worked. When the animal gets lazy, you take the spear and finish him off. Big party then. Everybody can come and eat.

(The stories of the hunt are told on the drum)

Making fibre and rope

We walk down the temporary bush man’ village’ a collection of huts made from the earth and fever berry trees. We are shown how Voter and Kumtsha use a stick in a pulling back potion to take out the fibre out of a mother in laws tongue plant. The pulling back motion against the plant with a stick strips out the moisture and leaves the fibres which are then woven against a leg to intertwine them together. ‘I have no hairs on my leg from doing this in my life’ jokes Voter. You roll strands together and join more to make it thicker and longer. This strong fibre is great for bracelets and bow and arrows (seen at the lodge)


Written by Amy Fletcher