Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/463

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AGRICULTURE—COMMERCE—HUNTING—FISHING.

cows, which scarcely any thing can induce them to part with. Indeed, they will readily give ivory, when plentiful, in exchange for cows.

Gardening and agriculture are much practiced by the Bechuanas. These occupations are conducted in nearly a similar manner as that described among the Ovambo. The vegetables and the grain are also very much the same.

The only marketable articles as yet ascertained at the Lake are ostrich feathers, furs and skins of various sorts, rhinoceros horns, and ivory (elephant and hippopotamus). The staple articles of exchange are beads, and more especially ammunition. Clothing is as yet but very little in demand, the people not being sufficiently advanced in civilization to care for such a luxury. Even beads are not sought after with the avidity they used to be, such quantities having of late been exported to the Lake country that (to use a vulgar, but very emphatic expression of Lecholètébè) "the women," who chiefly wear beads, "grunt under their burdens like pigs." No visitor, however, should be entirely without them. All large beads are useless. Small beads of the following colors, pink, dull white, light green, brick-colored, light blue, dark blue, and yellow, are chiefly in demand.

The Bechuanas of the Lake are fond of the chase, and almost daily parties are sent out to provide for the chief’s table. But, though possessed of a great number of fire-arms, few of the men have as yet attained any proficiency in their use. By far the greater portion of animals slain are obtained by means of pitfalls dug by the Bushmen and the Bayeye along the banks of the rivers. As many as thirty to forty pitfalls may be seen extending in one continuous line.

Though the finny tribe is pretty numerous in the Lake and its rivers, none of the Bechunas take the trouble to catch them. The conquered race, the Bayeye, however, are very expert and industrious fishermen.