Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman

Characters

Tashay

Characters Tashay

Tashay, Nisa’s third husband, is particularly significant in Nisa’s life because he is the father of her children. Unlike Nisa’s first two “trial” marriages, her marriage to Tashay contains a strong element of love. Nisa and Tashay actually build a life together, although it does start on somewhat rocky ground. With Tashay, Nisa has her first experience of intercourse, after which she feels such pain that she binds herself with a leather strap so Tashay can’t have her. Eventually, she comes to enjoy their sexual relationship, and this sexual development corresponds with her growing understanding of her adult responsibilities and her own womanhood. Though Tashay is but one of Nisa’s five husbands and only one of her numerous sexual partners, he occupies a special, central place in Nisa’s storytelling, and she mourns his death deeply. Nisa’s sadness over this death is complex, given Tashay’s occasional physical aggression toward her. However, Shostak presents Nisa’s marriage to Tashay as the epitome of !Kung marriage, in which the bride is much younger than the groom, intense fights occur and then get resolved, and both parties may have extramarital affairs.