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Analysis of Too Many Bananas, Not Enough Pineapples, No Watermelon at All and Eating Christmas in Kalahari Articles

5 pages
1367 words
Sewanee University of the South
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Reciprocity refers the practice of exchanging items with other persons for a mutual benefit. Additionally, reciprocity can take place at an individual level or even at a national level. Moreover, in psychology, reciprocity characterizes the social norm of replying a positive action done by an individual with another positive, rewarding action. Furthermore, as a social construct, through reciprocity, people tend to be frequently nicer as well as more cooperative than when reciprocity constraints are unavailable. This essay is a discussion of reciprocity in action through the analysis of Too Many Bananas, Not Enough Pineapples, No Watermelon at All and Eating Christmas in Kalahari articles.

Too Many Bananas, Not Enough Pineapples, No Watermelon at All

Lessons Learned From Living with Kaliai

Three primary lessons were learned from living with the Kaliai. First, in a society that shares or offers food as gifts, it would be wise for a person not to purchase it with money. Additionally, the second lesson of reciprocity was that a person should never refuse a gift, nor refuse or fail to a return a gift. Additionally, in this lesson, reciprocity requires that if a person cannot use a gift, he/she should give it away to others. Moreover, this lesson enlightened that there is nothing like too much of something to refuse to receive it as a gift. Furthermore, the last lesson was that in a situation where reciprocity is a rule while the sharing of gifts is the idiom, persons should not demand a gift nor should he/she refuse to honor a request.

Description of How the Author Learned the Lessons

In the first lesson, the author had purchased a watermelon from a woman from the Kandoka village for two shillings. Nevertheless, after the transaction, the woman returned to the authors residence accompanied by Kolia - the village elder. Additionally, Kolia forced the woman to return the two shillings to the author because it was against the custom of the people in Kandoka village to sell food to visitors. On the other hand, in the second lesson, the author, and his wife had refused to accept a gift of bananas from a woman in the Kandoka village because they already had excess bananas. Additionally, at the time, the author felt that it was not right for him to accept the gift because it would have gone bad, and they already excessive bananas to consume.

Moreover, after refusing the gift, Kolia visited the authors home and advised them that instead of refusing the gift offered to them, they should have shared it with their other visitors. Ultimately, the author and his family learned their last lesson after their encounter with Sarah, an old woman from the village who always sought gifts from them and did not offer them with anything in return. During this instance, the author and his wife asked Sarah to bring with her something whenever she wanted to receive something in return. However, it later became evident that Sarah did not have anything to offer the author and his family. Also, this is after Sarah stole a pineapple from Marys father and presented it to the authors family as a gift.

Reciprocity in the Society and Examples from Personal Experience

Today, I believe that reciprocity is evidenced at a national level. For instance, I have witnessed thousands of persons donating blood as a gift to help the persons affected by natural catastrophes like the Katrina. Additionally, in such an instance, I believe that according to the reciprocity rules, people offer gifts to others without demanding gifts themselves. Also, I have experienced national programs that collect unused clothing from the public and later distribute them to orphans and other disadvantaged persons from poor regions of developing countries. Furthermore, in light of these experiences, I would hope to see the rules of reciprocity continue at the national level.

Ultimately, I have also experienced what takes place when the national rules of reciprocity are broken. For instance, when some of the programs that were involved in collecting unused attires from the public for the donation were closed, there was a public outcry. Moreover, in this case, the public demanded that the government should support humanitarian actions towards the disadvantaged persons in the society, both locally and abroad. Moreover, the government officials responsible for creating policies that led to the closure of such programs were also perceived as insensitive by the public, and they were also accused of lacking empathy.

Eating Christmas in Kalahari

The Authors Plan for Rewarding the Hosts

The author planned to host a large Christmas party for the Bushmen for putting up with his behavior all year before Christmas. Additionally, in this case, the author had been depicted as a miser because he did not offer the Bushmen any food or shared his food with them. Furthermore, this behavior by the author was based on the reason that he did not want to with the Bushmens food gathering activities. Additionally, this is because it could have affected the validity of the authors data as a social anthropologist.

The Bushmens Reaction to the Authors Gift

The author was shocked by the reaction of Bushmen towards his decision to purchase the largest bull he could find from Herero as a Christmas gift. This is because all the Bushmen were disapproving towards the authors choice of bull. For instance, Ben!a characterized the ox as a bag of bones and also told the author that the Ox was old and it did not have sufficient meat to satisfy all the Bushmen who were to attend the feast.

Reasons for the Reaction

Three primary reasons can be used to explain the reaction of the Bushmens people towards the authors gift. First, the concept of relative status can be used to explain the Bushmens reaction. Relative status is a concept that determines how persons behave towards one another in reference to social context. Additionally, in this case, it is evident that the Bushmen did not want to offer praises to the author, which might have made him feel proud or more important than the other persons in the society.

Second, the concept of egalitarianism can also be used to explain the Bushmens reaction towards the authors gift. Additionally, egalitarianism refers to the doctrine that assumes that all persons are equal. Moreover, the doctrine assumes that all persons deserve to be offered equal rights as well as opportunities. Also, in the featured case, the Bushmen treated the authors gift gesture mildly as a way of showing the author he was not better than them in choosing a good ox and offering it for slaughter to others as a gift.

Food reciprocity can also be employed to explain the Bushmens reaction to the authors present. Additionally, food reciprocity is a common aspect that is observed in cases of human as well as primate food sharing. Moreover, it is plausible to state that the Bushmen acted unsatisfactory towards the authors gift due to the human nature of wanting more in reference to food. Additionally, in the article, Herero bulls was in the end slaughtered and shared sufficiently with all the Bushmen. Subsequently, this means that the ox was sufficient, but due to the food reciprocity nature of the Bushmen, they expressed their doubt towards the size of the bull to satisfy them for food during Christmas.


In conclusion, reciprocity refers to the act of exchanging items with other persons for a mutual benefit. In the publication, Too Many Bananas, Not Enough Pineapples, No Watermelon at All, the author learned three lessons on reciprocity. Additionally, the lessons included that in a society that shares or offers food as gifts, it would be wise for a person not to purchase it with money. Also, a person should never refuse a gift, nor refuse or fail to a return a gift and there is also nothing like too much of something to refuse to receive it as a gift. On the other hand, three concepts can be used to explain the reciprocity of the Bushmen towards the authors gift in the publication the Eating Christmas in Kalahari. Ultimately, the concepts include relative status, egalitarianism as well as food reciprocity.


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