The San are the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa, where they have lived for at least 20 years. The term San is commonly used to refer to a diverse group of hunter-gatherers living in Southern Africa who share historical and linguistic connections. The San were also referred to as Bushmen, but this term has since been abandoned as it is considered derogatory.
The San are the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa, where they have lived for at least 20 years. The term San is commonly used to refer to a diverse group of hunter-gatherers living in Southern Africa who share historical and linguistic connections.
The San were also referred to as Bushmen, but this term has since been abandoned as it is considered derogatory. There are many different San groups - they have no collective name for themselves, and the terms 'Bushman', 'San', 'Basarwa' in Botswana are used. The term, 'bushman', came from the Dutch term, 'bossiesman', which meant 'bandit' or 'outlaw'.
This term was given to the San during their long battle against the colonists. The San interpreted this as a proud and respected reference to their brave fight for freedom from domination and colonization.
Many now accept the terms Bushmen or San. Like the first people to inhabit other countries in the world, the San have an unfortunate history of poverty, social rejection, decline of cultural identity and the discrimination of their rights as a group.
Yet, the San have also received the attention of anthropologists and the media with their survival and hunting skills, wealth of indigenous knowledge of the flora and fauna of Southern Africa, and their rich cultural traditions.
San people speak numerous dialects of a group of languages known for the characteristic 'clicks' that can be heard in their pronunciation, represented in writing by symbols such as!
Made up of small mobile groups, San communities comprise up to about 25 men, women and children. At certain times of the year groups join for exchange of news and gifts, for marriage arrangements and for social occasions.
Clans and loosely connected family groups followed seasonal game migrations between mountain range and coastline. They made their homes in caves, under rocky overhangs or in temporary shelters.
These migratory people do not domesticate animals or cultivate crops, even though their knowledge of both flora and fauna is vast. The San categorized thousands of plants and their uses, from nutritional to medicinal, mystical to recreational and lethal.
San men have a formidable reputation as trackers and hunters. San trackers will follow the 'spoor' tracks of an animal across virtually any kind of surface or terrain. Their skills even enable them to distinguish between the "spoor" of a wounded animal and that of the rest of the herd.
At about the beginning of the Christian era a group of people who owned small livestock sheep and perhaps goats moved into the northern and western parts of South Africa and migrated southward.
These pastoralists, called Khoikhoi or 'Hottentot' resembled the San in many ways and lived by gathering wild plants and domesticating animals. Coincidently in the eastern parts of the country another migration was occurring - the BaNtu speaking peoples were moving southward bringing with them cattle, the concept of planting crops and settled village life.
Ultimately, the 'Hottentots' met these black-skinned farmers and obtained from them cattle in exchange for animal skins and other items. At first, the San co-existed peacefully with the Nguni a sub-language group of the BaNtu speakers the Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi and Ndebele who intermarried with the San and incorporated some of the distinctive and characteristic 'clicks' of the San language into their own languages.
Contact with Nguni and Sotho-Tswana farmers is depicted in the San rock art. The artists started including representations of cattle and sheep as well as of people with shields and spears, in their paintings.
Unfortunately, hunter-gatherers cannot live permanently alongside a settled community and thus problems arose. When the San fought against the BaNtu, they were at a huge disadvantage not only in numbers but also in lack of weapons.
With the Europeans, they were at an even greater disadvantage. The Europeans owned horses and firearms. In this period, the number of San was greatly reduced. They fought to the death and preferred death to capture where they would be forced into slavery.
Colonialism destroyed the San migratory way of life, they were no longer allowed to roam freely and trophy hunters destroyed the vast herds of game that formed their principal supply of food.The San live in areas of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho.
In some areas, the terms "San" and "Bushmen" are considered derogatory. Instead, many San people prefer to be identified by the name of their individual nations. . The hardiness of the San allowed them to survive their changed fortunes and the harsh conditions of the Kalahari Desert in which they are now mostly concentrated.
Today, the small group that remains has adopted many strategies for political, economic and social survival. The San of the Kalahari were first brought to the globalized world's attention in the s by South African author Laurens van der Post. In , Van der Post was commissioned by the BBC to go to the Kalahari desert with a film crew in search of the San.
The filmed material was turned into a very popular six-part television documentary a year later. Dec 31, · The San Bushmen lived this life for at least 20, years in the Kalahari Desert which is a massive expanse of land in the southern end of Africa.
Not quite a desert, large tracts of its estimated , square miles has a mix of both sandy desert and Reviews: 2. Distance, and the isolation of the Kalahari Desert and its surrounding regions, proved to be the San’s salvation.
Nearly 80, San are found there today, with smaller numbers in . Online shopping from a great selection at Books Store. The Bushman Winter Has Come: The true story of the last band of/Gwikwe Bushmen on the Great Sand Face.