Bushman’s Secret

Director: Rehad Desai
Country: South Africa
Year: 2006
Running Time: 64 min.
Language: English, Jul’hoan, and Afrikaans

When South African filmmaker Rehad Desai travels to the Kalahari to investigate global interest in ancient Bushmen knowledge, he meets Jan van der Westhuizen, a fascinating Khomani San traditional healer. Jan’s struggle to live close to nature is hampered by centuries of colonial exploitation of the San Bushmen and of their land. Unable to survive as they once did hunting and gathering, the Khomani now live in a state of poverty that threatens to see the last of this community forever. One plant could make all the difference. Hoodia, a cactus used by Bushmen for centuries to suppress appetite, has caught the attention of a giant pharmaceutical company as a weight-loss option for westerners. Bushman’s Secret features breathtaking footage of the Kalahari landscape, and exposes us to a world where modernity collides with ancient ways, at a time when each has strangely come to rely on the other.