As the Bushmen are portrayed in the film, they are a simple and quite
non-materialistic culture that lives off the land, gathering plants and
hunting for their food and the survival of the entire tribe. They enjoy
each other, and do not feel any need for outside intervention or modernity.
When the Coke bottle drops into the tribe's midst, it creates divisions
that were never there before. It illustrates how just the slightest
intervention by the white man can change the ways of a culture forever. As
Xi travels with the "evil thing" to the end of the world, he encounters
"civilization," but it does not seem very civilized to him. He is accused
of stealing a goat, and has many other misadventures before he makes it
home to his people.
The film is a sociological study in a variety of ways, from how tools
changed the lives of the hunter/gatherers forever, to the roles and values
of men and women in a non-structured society. Before the Coke bottle drops
from the sky, the people share their tasks equally, but after the Coke
bottle is used as a tool, one person has the advantage over the others, and
so the others covet the tool that was never necessary before. Suddenly,
the values and mores of the women have changed. They no longer work
happily together, because they are angry and jealous that only one woman
commands the tool. This illustrates an important concept in society, that
those with the "most tools" are the most powerful, and the most
competitive. As the Bushmen compete to use the Coke bottle for various
tasks, they build walls between themselves, and their society begins to
change. Before the bottle, they lived simply, and continued the folkways
and values of their ancestors, that had been handed down for centuries.
They did not change because they did not have to, and their lifestyle
worked perfectly for them. The Coke bottle created a counter-culture that
did not exist before it fe...