#06 Damara’s celebration of first menstruation



How to get to know other peoples culture?

…peek your neighbor in London’s underground!

This is actually the episode, for which the famous Damaraland Trio provided us with two examples of contemporary Damaraland music. I actually met these ladies during to my cultural investigations since I wanted to know how to become a Damara. For me – there is probably no chance at all, because I don’t speak the Damara language and this is already a perquisite for being a Damara. We also don’t have many black northern German fishheads – so I wouldn’t be able to fulfill the second criteria. I am not sure if I would meet the third criteria either – because to become married with a Damara women requires a very special procedure.
There are many thinks you can do in order to get to know other peoples culture – I usually like to ask about fairytales.
However, fairytales are a difficult topic because in many cases I had problems to understand them linguistically. But then I realized that it wasn’t really the language, I understood them perfectly well, I couldn’t grasp the joke or the conclusions of the fairytales they told me. I heard many stories from the Damara, Himba and Herero. They all told me famous stories about lions, cheetahs and wolfs – but for me these story’s didn’t make any sense at all. I don’t know where you come from but for me, as a German, English humor is quite different as well. It took me a couple of years to understand British humor. And this is because fairytales and humor have a deep social and cultural connection. I think in Germany it is quite normal to become a bit louder in case you are angry. In Britain this is a no go. So how do British people cope with their emotions? – they use a brought variety of humor and sarcasm! So British humor serves a social purpose, it is like an emotional relief, because in Britain becoming loud or even to show emotions it is not quite socially acceptable. Therefore, as a foreigner, you are going to experience Britain as the politest place in the world – so long you don’t understand British humor. If you ever have a chance to visit London’s underground, what a lovely museum, you need to peek your neighbor. Yes, go ahead and peek you neighbor – gently. Do this anthropological experiment. They all say to you “…oh, I am sorry”.