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|Kunta Boo – Owner of Healing

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of |Kunta Boo, a renowned and much loved Ju|’hoansi healer.

|Kunta Boo with his wife N!ai at Doupos, Nyae Nyae Conservancy, 2018


On 12th June 2020, |Kunta Boo passed away at Grootfontein Hospital with his sons and family members at his side. He was 78 years old.

|Kunta Boo was born in the Tsumkwe area, Nyae Nyae Conservancy, north-east Namibia. He lived his entire life in the region principally at a village called Doupos. |Kunta Boo was a well known and respected traditional healer. He connected spiritually to his ancestors to find the diseases his people suffered and to heal them through healing dances.

|Kunta Boo was one of the last remaining elders that played a big role in the community. He was one of the last elders who had healing powers and experience of the traditional medicinal herbs for different kinds of diseases.

– Joram |Useb

I first met |Kunta Boo in 2001. I have had the great pleasure and honour of spending some very special time with him on and off over the years, either talking about healing and hunting or sharing in his powerful healing dances. !Kunta was a humble man always ready to help if he were able. Since his early years when John Marshall first employed him, he worked successively with a great number of film crews and researchers and was the healer to seek out for a powerful and authentic experience. He never seemed to tire of people asking one question after another and was always willing to hold a healing dance if requested. Being part of one of those dances was a very special experience.

We were very fortunate to find |Kunta when we were planning our ‘Way of the San’ building. Our hope was to film |Kunta dancing for our immersive film exhibition. We did manage to film |Kunta, and it was a beautiful and powerful dance. Sadly, for technical reasons, we could not use the footage but we were able to use still photographs for the background ‘wallpaper’ in our healing section of the building. |Kunta also very kindly offered us his wildebeest healer’s tail for our exhibition. The tail is currently on display.

Heading up to Tsumkwe without |Kunta Boo at the other end will never be quite the same. It is not an overstatement to say that |Kunta was one of the last ‘old school’ healers who was brought up in a lifestyle with roots more firmly in the past than the present. There are increasingly few with his knowledge, experience and skills. He will be truly missed. Our hearts are with his family and friends.

To see |Kunta in action as a healer and to read more about his healing world please see our ‘Featured Exhibtions’.

Chris Low

!Khwa ttu San Musem Director