John Marshall Ju/’hoan Bushman Film and Video Collection, 1950-2000

Documentary heritage submitted by the United States of America and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2009.

© Claire Ritchie, John Marshall Film and Video Collection, HSFA, Smithsonian

The John Marshall Ju/'hoan Bushman Film and Video Collection, 1950-2000, held at the Smithsonian Institution's Human Studies Film Archives, is one of the seminal visual anthropology projects of the twentieth century. It is unique in the world for the scope of its sustained audiovisual documentation of one cultural group, the Ju/'hoansi, of the Kalahari Desert, in northeastern Namibia. Created over a span of 50 years, it is an unparalleled historical record not only of an indigenous people's traditional lifeways and ties to the land but of the transformation of these lifeways in the rapidly changing political and economic landscape that developed in concert with the struggle for Namibian independence.

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