Yii means trees, wood and medicinal plants. Yii as trees are crucial for finding the way in the bush and are our main food sources, yii as wood is essential for making most of our tools and instruments, and yii is also the name of our medicinal plants.
Until recently, children from an early age accompanied their parents on hunting and collecting parties in the bush. During these trips, they were taught to observe and remember the trees in order to be able to find their way back home. Trees, such as Manketti, Peeling Bark Ochna, Monkey Orange, Sand Apple and many others produce our most important bushfood.
Yii is also the wood from which we make our tools, such as the handle of the axes and hoes, the clapping wood instruments, the mortars and pestles; we also build our houses with yii.
Medicinal plants are also yii and because of that we call our healers yii khoe ‘yii people’ or yii kx’ao ‘powerful yii people’.
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- BBC Travel takes you on a journey to the Northern and Western Cape of South Africa, including to the !Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre. Learn more about our work on N/uu spoken in the Northern Cape here.