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 th
They did not change because they did not have to, and their lifestyleworked perfectly for them. Suddenly,the values and mores of the women have changed. This film not only shows howcultures can be altered by a single event, they show how far we have comefrom the roots of our ancestors, and despite all our modern conveniences,sometimes, this forgotten lifestyle does not seem so alien at all. Suddenly there wascompetition and dissention between the tribe members, and those whocontrolled the bottle were "different" than those who did not. What is most interesting about the Bushmen society is that they canrecognize how the bottle has changed their lives and that if they keep it,it will be the undoing of their society. Theirway of life seems quite simple and quaint to any Western viewer who isimmersed in the materialistic and possessive culture we live today. They send Xi away with the "evilthing" to throw it away at the end of the earth, but unfortunately, eventhough the bottle is gone, their society will come under the influence ofwhat Xi sees in his journey, and it will never be the same again. Before the bottle, they lived simply, and continued the folkwaysand values of their ancestors, that had been handed down for centuries. This illustrates an important concept in society, thatthose with the "most tools" are the most powerful, and the mostcompetitive. The tribehad been divided from their traditional mores to a tribe that valued a"thing" more than they valued each other, and another culture within theirculture, one that valued individual possessions where none were necessarybefore. As the Bushmen compete to use the Coke bottle for varioustasks, they build walls between themselves, and their society begins tochange. They no longer workhappily together, because they are angry and jealous that only one womancommands the tool. Their uncomplicated lifestyle is notonly to be admired, in a world where everyone seems to be only concernedwith visible possessions and wealth, the lifestyle of the Bushmen oftenseems to be so much less complicated that it would be a welcome relief fromthe pressures of modern civilization.