Bitter Roots: The Ends of a Kalahari Myth is set in Nyae-Nyae, a region of Namibia located in southern Africa’s Kalahari desert, traditional home of the Ju/’hoansi. It updates the ethnographic film record begun in the 1950s by John Marshall, whose films documented 50 years of change, and who together with Claire Ritchie, established a grass-roots development foundation, which Adrian Strong (the filmmaker) joined in the late 1980s. Through archival footage and discussions with community members, this film sensitively examines the problems (lions, elephants, conservationists) currently facing the Ju/’hoansi and challenges the myth that they are culturally unable to farm.
Adrian Strong is currently undertaking doctoral research at Griffith University in the field of ethnographic film, with particular reference to the representation of indigenous people. Adrian grew up in the UK, where he studied Science and Philosophy before moving to Africa in 1984. Adrian’s had many work incarnations ranging from farming to development work to business. It was in the late 1980s that Adrian lived and worked in the Kalahari with the Ju/’hoansi and also developed an interest in film-making. In 1997 Adrian moved from Namibia to California for additional post-graduate studies, gaining a Masters in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has been living in Australia since 2000, where he has also worn many hats, but is at his happiest teaching, researching and film-making.