Election Day is November 3rd! Make sure your voice is heard

Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman

Characters

Chuko

Characters Chuko

Since Shostak focuses her book mainly on the lives of the !Kung women, Nisa’s mother, Chuko, plays an especially important role. Chuko’s behavior sets an example for Nisa in many ways, from the expected (pregnancy, childbirth, child rearing) to the unexpected (the taking of lovers). Many of Nisa’s early memories concern maternal events, such as when she witnesses her mother giving birth alone or when she sees her mother with a lover who is not her husband. Indeed, Chuko is inevitably an integral part of Nisa’s own life story, particularly in its early stages, since !Kung children are brought up in almost constant contact with their mothers. While a small female !Kung child would not ordinarily be allowed to follow her father on a hunt, for example, she would certainly be able to accompany her mother on a gathering expedition, either walking on her own or carried by her mother. Nisa expresses poignantly her closeness to her mother in describing the intensity of her mourning following Chuko’s death.