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The Gods Must Be Crazy: Coke Bottle Scene

Brilliant Metaphor In Cinema

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Here Was A Thing That Could Not Be Shared

Remember the brilliant independent movie from back in 1980, "The Gods Must Be Crazy"? It was one of the most commercially successful releases in the history of South Africa's film industry.

This is an excerpt that speaks volumes: the tribe's first encounter with a coke bottle.

An African tribe are living well off the land in the Kalahari Desert. They are satisfied and content with what the Gods provided for them. Nothing is lacking. One day, a Coca-Cola bottle is thrown out of an airplane and discovered by the head of the tribe. They believe this is a present from the Gods, "The strangest and most beautiful thing they have ever seen" and the most useful as well.

Then it all turns around.

Enjoy this genius scene and just think: if we could only see the objects around us with a tiny fraction of this level of appreciation and imagination...

--Bibi Farber

PS The following is fascinating information about the lead actor, Nᴉxau, from Wikipedia:

Nᴉxau was a member of the San, also known as Bushmen. He spoke Juǀʼhoan, Otjiherero and Tswana fluently, as well as some Afrikaans. He did not know his own exact age, and before his appearance in the films he had little experience of typical "modern" living: he had only ever seen three white people before being cast and was unaware of the value of paper money, allowing (according to legend) his first earnings for The Gods Must Be Crazy to literally blow away in the wind.

He earned only a few hundred dollars for his work in The Gods Must Be Crazy, but by the time of the first sequel he was educated about the purpose and value of money within the modern world and negotiated a much larger sum for the film. Regardless, he did come from a culture that did not value the material things that money could buy and consequently had never before learned money management skills although he used some of it to build a brick house with running water and electricity for his family.

In addition to The Gods Must Be Crazy, Nᴉxau starred in a series of sequels: The Gods Must Be Crazy II, Crazy Safari, Crazy Hong Kong and The Gods Must Be Funny in China. After his film career ended, he returned to Namibia, where he farmed maize, pumpkins and beans and kept several head of cattle (but no more than 20 at a time because, according to The Independent, without the complex farming systems of the "modern world," he had trouble keeping track of more). The Namibian local daily New Era stated that he simply could not count further than 20.