Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman – Tashay

Tashay, Nisa’s third husband, is particularly significant in Nisa’s life
because he is the father of her children. Unlike Nisa’s first two “trial”
marriages, her marriage to Tashay contains a strong element of love. Nisa and
Tashay actually build a life together, although it does start on somewhat rocky
ground. With Tashay, Nisa has her first experience of intercourse, after which
she feels such pain that she binds herself with a leather strap so Tashay can’t
have her. Eventually, she comes to enjoy their sexual relationship, and this
sexual development corresponds with her growing understanding of her adult
responsibilities and her own womanhood. Though Tashay is but one of Nisa’s five
husbands and only one of her numerous sexual partners, he occupies a special,
central place in Nisa’s storytelling, and she mourns his death deeply. Nisa’s
sadness over this death is complex, given Tashay’s occasional physical
aggression toward her. However, Shostak presents Nisa’s marriage to Tashay as
the epitome of !Kung marriage, in which the bride is much younger than the
groom, intense fights occur and then get resolved, and both parties may have
extramarital affairs.