Myth of Origin or Play of Difference: A Discussion of Two Versions of the /Xam Story of the Origin of Death

  • M Wessels


This paper argues that some of the interpretation of the /Xam narratives in the Bleek and Lloyd collection has emphasised their aetiological characteristics at the expense of their discursive and ideological properties. The identification of the stories as creation tales has formed an important part of the task of establishing a broader framework in which to understand the corpus as a whole. While this has been an essential project, it has produced certain assumptions about the narratives that need, in my opinion, to be questioned more closely. It has also tended to suppress the significance of the differences between stories and between versions of the same story. The second part of this article investigates these assertions in the course of a discussion of two versions of the well-known /Xam “Story
of the Origin of Death”.

eISSN: 2159-9130