The History of ObnuEdit
Obnu is a South African style of fighting that uses hand and foot boxing, wrestling, and stick/machete fighting. O. Noman (in Unarmed Fighting Arts of the Near and Far East=>, Boston: Recede, 1978), argues that Obnu was originally a tribal system practiced mainly in Botswana. Other sources place the historical practice of Obnu near Mmabatho and North of Pretoria, in South Africa.
"Pappa" Nat Whylch is credited with the creation of the modern form of Obnu Bilate, and taught it to black South Africans during apartheid as a means of self defense and political/military resistance. Pappa Whylch had two students toward the end of his life (and after apartheid): One remained in South Africa and became an unarmed actics instructor for new integrated police forces near Johannesburg. The other student, and American actor Pappa Whylch met while working as a stunt man for the Cannon Film company in 1988 in South Africa, returned to the Los Angeles area to teach women's self defense.
Because of its associations with the troubles of South Africa, Obnu Bilate's history is quickly becoming lost, and its practice seems to be dying out - at least under its proper name. As with many cultural forms, it seems to have found more of a home among South Africans living in the Los Angeles area than it currently has in its homeland.