Small Systems Design Associates

Home page for Design and Prototype Testing the Savannah Panel in the Walkabout series.

Panel 1 - Savannah

Panel 1 - Savannah.

Africa's lush northern forests evolve into a dry savannah. In the time before, tribes of apes living in the trees could find berries, fruits and nuts growing in the branches. Rain water gathered on leaves and the roots of branches. The small animals, reptiles and insects that cohabited above ground were also available for picking by the hungry apes. Now ground-borne, the nomadic apes grub for roots, insects, mice, and reptiles in the brushy, wind-blown earth. Some of the apes with more flexible hands and opposable thumbs make tools. Some of the apes, now upright, run, and hunt large animals rich with the meat, bone, hide, and sinew needed to sustain the tribe through lean times.

In the hunt the hunters spread out and communicate with grunts, screams, and hand waving. The taller hunters spot the large animals; the faster and stealthier chase, move in close then wound and kill. If his or her throw is strong and accurate, and lucky, the first to approach a game animal after a chase lasting hours - even days - will have the result of a quick, clean kill. If unlucky a poor throw can result in the hunter's injury or death as the wounded animal snaps, thrashing in agony, claws ripping and tearing anything close.

Successful hunts bring songs of praise and body decoration to the hunter. Songs are often supplemented with gifts of decorative carved bone, or animal teeth strung on sinew. Woven grasses or softened hide decorated with colored stones may be exchanged. The tribe's shaman, and healer may give the hunter a sacred object for safe-keeping, and may sing a new song in praise of the hunt.