Nxau, Gcao Coma, Gcau, #oma, Nixau, Gkau, Ngau, ...

He was a man of many names (or rather, many transliterations) --- a Kalahari Bushman who chanced to star in a few movies: the touchingly sweet Gods Must Be Crazy, its equally delightful sequel, plus some forgettably minor films. Among the celebrity profiles in the final 2003 issue of the New York Times Sunday magazine, David Rakoff's short note about Nxau stands out in stark contrast to the obits of big name headliner-seekers who died last year. Rakoff writes:

There is an old joke about Mother Teresa being asked her hopes and dreams for the future. She answers, "What I'd really like to do is direct." Media stardom has become perhaps the great existential answer to the question "Why are we here?" It would seem only natural that one would parlay the extremity of one's physical exoticism, difficult-to-pronounce name and nontraditional camera presence into fame and fortune. ...

Instead, in 1994 Nxau quietly stopped acting. Eventually he gave up his palatial (in context) brick house to move back into a normal village home. He suffered from drug-resistant tuberculosis in his later years. Tangeni Amupadhi in The Namibian [1] (11 July 2003) describes Coma's cheerful retirement:

His wealth consisted of 21 cattle, 11 sheep, two horses, two bicycles, two spades, two rakes and five axes, including three traditional ones that he made himself.

... and his final end:

On Monday last week, he woke up at 06h00 as usual, collected firewood and made tea that he sipped with his father-in-law. He took his bird traps, bow and arrow and a hunting pouch and set off to hunt, his main target being guinea fowl. He did not come back that day. Coma's father-in-law tracked his spoor the next morning and found him on a path back home, bow and arrow still strapped to his shoulder.

Modest and wise, with a wonderful laugh. Cgao Coma, 1944-2003, R.I.P.

(see also FanFare (26 Apr 2003), ...)

TopicArt - TopicProfiles - TopicEntertainment - 2004-01-01

(correlates: RighteousRage, Fading Traces, AntiQuaintances, ...)