Bushmen
Overview
The indigenous people of Southern Africa
Southern Africa
Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. Within the region are numerous territories, including the Republic of South Africa ; nowadays, the simpler term South Africa is generally reserved for the country in English.-UN...

, whose territory spans most areas of South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

, Lesotho
Lesotho
Lesotho , officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a landlocked country and enclave, surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. It is just over in size with a population of approximately 2,067,000. Its capital and largest city is Maseru. Lesotho is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The name...

, Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

, Swaziland
Swaziland
Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Swaziland , and sometimes called Ngwane or Swatini, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique...

, Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

, Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

, and Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

, are variously referred to as Bushmen, San, Sho, Barwa, Kung, or Khwe. These people were traditionally hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

s, part of the Khoisan
Khoisan
Khoisan is a unifying name for two ethnic groups of Southern Africa, who share physical and putative linguistic characteristics distinct from the Bantu majority of the region. Culturally, the Khoisan are divided into the foraging San and the pastoral Khoi...

 group and are related to the traditionally pastoral Khoikhoi
Khoikhoi
The Khoikhoi or Khoi, in standardised Khoekhoe/Nama orthography spelled Khoekhoe, are a historical division of the Khoisan ethnic group, the native people of southwestern Africa, closely related to the Bushmen . They had lived in southern Africa since the 5th century AD...

. Starting in the 1950s, and lasting through the 1990s, they switched to farming as a result of government-mandated modernization programs as well as the increased risks of a hunting and gathering lifestyle in the face of technological development.
Encyclopedia
The indigenous people of Southern Africa
Southern Africa
Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. Within the region are numerous territories, including the Republic of South Africa ; nowadays, the simpler term South Africa is generally reserved for the country in English.-UN...

, whose territory spans most areas of South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

, Lesotho
Lesotho
Lesotho , officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a landlocked country and enclave, surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. It is just over in size with a population of approximately 2,067,000. Its capital and largest city is Maseru. Lesotho is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The name...

, Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

, Swaziland
Swaziland
Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Swaziland , and sometimes called Ngwane or Swatini, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique...

, Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

, Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

, and Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

, are variously referred to as Bushmen, San, Sho, Barwa, Kung, or Khwe. These people were traditionally hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

s, part of the Khoisan
Khoisan
Khoisan is a unifying name for two ethnic groups of Southern Africa, who share physical and putative linguistic characteristics distinct from the Bantu majority of the region. Culturally, the Khoisan are divided into the foraging San and the pastoral Khoi...

 group and are related to the traditionally pastoral Khoikhoi
Khoikhoi
The Khoikhoi or Khoi, in standardised Khoekhoe/Nama orthography spelled Khoekhoe, are a historical division of the Khoisan ethnic group, the native people of southwestern Africa, closely related to the Bushmen . They had lived in southern Africa since the 5th century AD...

. Starting in the 1950s, and lasting through the 1990s, they switched to farming as a result of government-mandated modernization programs as well as the increased risks of a hunting and gathering lifestyle in the face of technological development. There is a significant linguistic difference between the northern Bushmen living between Okavango
Okavango River
The Okavango River is a river in southwest Africa. It is the fourth-longest river system in southern Africa, running southeastward for . It begins in Angola, where it is known as the Cubango River...

 (Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

) and Etosha (Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

), extending into southern Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 on the one hand and the southern group in the central Kalahari towards the Molopo
Molopo River
The Molopo River is located in southern Africa. The river generally flows to the southwest from its source, and has a length of approximately 960 kilometres. River flow is intermittent. When in flood, the flow discharges into the Orange River, which it meets downstream of Augrabies Falls National...

, who are the last remnant of the extensive autochthonous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 San of South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

.

The Bushmen have provided a wealth of information for the fields of anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 and genetics
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

, even as their lifestyles change. One broad study of African genetic diversity completed in 2009 found the San people were among the five populations with the highest measured levels of genetic diversity among the 121 distinct African populations sampled. The San are one of 14 known extant "ancestral population clusters" (from which all known modern humans evolved).

Naming

The terms San, Khwe, Sho, Bushmen and Basarwa have all been used to refer to the hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 peoples of southern Africa. Each of these terms has a problematic history, as they have been used by outsiders to refer to them, often with pejorative connotations. The individual groups identify by names such as Ju/'hoansi and !Kung
!Kung people
The ǃKung, also spelled ǃXun, are a Bushman people living in the Kalahari Desert in Namibia, Botswana and in Angola. They speak the ǃKung language, noted for using click consonants, generally classified as part of the Khoisan language family...

 (the punctuation characters representing different click consonants), and most call themselves by the term Bushmen when referring to themselves collectively.

The different San language groups of Namibia met in late 1996 and agreed to allow the general term San to designate them externally. This term was historically applied by their ethnic relatives and historic rivals, the Khoikhoi
Khoikhoi
The Khoikhoi or Khoi, in standardised Khoekhoe/Nama orthography spelled Khoekhoe, are a historical division of the Khoisan ethnic group, the native people of southwestern Africa, closely related to the Bushmen . They had lived in southern Africa since the 5th century AD...

. This term means outsider in the Nama language
Nama language
The Khoekhoe language, or Khoekhoegowab, also known by the ethnic term Nàmá and previously the now-discouraged term Hottentot, is the most widespread of the Khoisan languages. It belongs to the Khoe language family, and is spoken in Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa by three ethnic groups, the...

, and was derogatory because it distinguished the Bushmen from what the Khoikhoi called themselves, namely, the First People. Western anthropologists adopted San extensively in the 1970s, where it remains preferred in academic circles. The term Bushmen is widely used, but opinions vary on whether it is appropriate because it is sometimes viewed as pejorative.

In South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, the term San has become favored in official contexts, and is included in the blazon of the new national coat-of-arms; Bushman is considered derogatory by some groups. Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 does not have an official term for the San, but they are sometimes referred to as Bushmen, Kwankhala, or Bosquímanos (the Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 term for Bushmen). In Lesotho
Lesotho
Lesotho , officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a landlocked country and enclave, surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. It is just over in size with a population of approximately 2,067,000. Its capital and largest city is Maseru. Lesotho is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The name...

 they're referred to as Baroa, which is where the Sesotho name for south, Boroa, comes from. Neither Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

 nor Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

 have official terms, although in the latter case the terms Amasili and Batwa are sometimes used. In Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

, the officially used term is Basarwa, where it is partially acceptable to some Bushmen groups, although Basarwa, a Tswana
Tswana language
Tswana or Setswana is a language spoken in Southern Africa by about 4.5 million people. It is a Bantu language belonging to the Niger–Congo language family within the Sotho languages branch of Zone S , and is closely related to the Northern- and Southern Sotho languages, as well as the Kgalagadi...

 label derived from Twa
Abatwa
Abatwa/Abathwa/Batwa is a derivative root word common to the Bantu language group of sub-Saharan Africa. It is often mistakenly glossed as 'elf' or 'spirit'...

, also has negative connotations. The term is a class 2 noun (as indicated by the "ba-" class marker), while an older class 6 variant, Masarwa, is now almost universally considered offensive.

Ancestral land conflict with Botswana

Since the mid 1990s, the central government of Botswana has implemented a relocation policy, aiming to move the Bushmen out of their ancestral land
!Xam Khomani Heartland
The ǀXam and ǂKhomani heartland tentative World Heritage Site, consists of regions located to the south and north of Upington, respectively, in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. The ǀXam and ǂKhomani people were linguistically related groups of San people, their respective languages ...

 on the Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Central Kalahari Game Reserve is an extensive national park in the Kalahari desert of Botswana. Established in 1961 it covers an area of 52,800 km² making it the second largest game reserve in the world.The park contains wildlife such as giraffe, brown hyena, warthog, cheetah, wild dog,...

 into newly created settlements. Although the government has categorically denied that relocation has been forced, a recent court ruling confirmed that the removal was unconstitutional and residents were forcibly removed.

The government's official reasons for adopting the policy is:
"Over time it has become clear that many residents of the CKGR already were or wished to become settled agriculturists, raising crops and tending livestock as opposed to hunting-gathering when the reserve was established in 1961.

"In fact, hunting-gathering had become obsolete to sustain their living conditions. These agricultural land uses are not compatible with preserving wildlife resources and not sustainable to be practiced in the Game Reserve.

"This is the fundamental reason for government to relocate the CKGR residents."


Opponents to the relocation policy claim that the government's intent is to clear the area — an area the size of Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 — for the lucrative tourist trade and diamond
Diamond
In mineralogy, diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at ambient conditions...

 mining. This is strenuously denied on the government's official web site, stating that although exploration had taken place, it concluded that mining activity would not be viable and that the issue was not related to the relocation policy.

It is further claimed that the group as a whole has little voice in the national political process and is not one of the tribal groups recognized in the constitution of Botswana. Over the generations, the Bushmen of Southern Africa have continued to be absorbed
Cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation is a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New...

 into the African population, particularly the Griqua sub-group, which is an Afrikaans
Afrikaans
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language, spoken natively in South Africa and Namibia. It is a daughter language of Dutch, originating in its 17th century dialects, collectively referred to as Cape Dutch .Afrikaans is a daughter language of Dutch; see , , , , , .Afrikaans was historically called Cape...

-speaking people of predominantly Khoisan
Khoisan
Khoisan is a unifying name for two ethnic groups of Southern Africa, who share physical and putative linguistic characteristics distinct from the Bantu majority of the region. Culturally, the Khoisan are divided into the foraging San and the pastoral Khoi...

 that has certain unique cultural markers which set them apart from other Africans.

Court decision

On December 13, 2006, the Bushmen won a historic ruling in their long-running court case against the government. By a 2-1 majority, the court ruled the refusal to allow the Basarwa into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) without a permit, and the refusal to issue special game licenses to allow the Bushmen to hunt, was "unlawful and unconstitutional". It also found that the Bushmen were "forcibly and wrongly deprived of their possessions" by the government. However, the court did not compel the government to provide services such as water to any Bushmen who returned to the reserve. As of 2006, more than 1,000 Bushmen intended to return to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, one of Africa's largest protected nature reserves. However, only limited numbers of Bushmen have been allowed to return to this land. In April 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) criticised Botswana's government for not allowing certain Bushmen to return.

High Court appeal

On January 27, 2011, the Bushmen won an appeal against the Government in the Botswana High Court after they were initially prohibited from accessing drinking water inside the Reserve through bore holes. Barrister Gordon Bennett represented the Bushmen in court as the judges declared the Botswana government guilty of ‘degrading treatment’ and described the case as ‘a harrowing story of human suffering and despair’. Furthermore, the Government were ordered to pay the costs of the Bushmen's appeal

Hoodia traditional knowledge agreement

Hoodia gordonii
Hoodia gordonii
Hoodia gordonii is a leafless spiny succulent plant with medicinal uses. It grows naturally in South Africa and Namibia. The flowers smell like rotten meat and are pollinated mainly by flies. The indigenous Bushmen call this plant ǁhoba ....

, used by the San Bushmen, was patented by the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 1998. Without the knowledge micheal. the CSIR patented this plant for its appetite suppressing quality. A license was granted to Phytopharm
Phytopharm
Phytopharm is a pharmaceutical company based in the United Kingdom. According to the company's website, Phytopharm's lead products are Cogane and Myogane, which are members of the sapogenin class of compounds. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE Fledgling...

, for development of the active ingredient in the Hoodia plant, p57 (glycoside), to be used as a pharmaceutical drug for dieting. Once this patent was brought to the attention of the San, a benefit-sharing agreement was reached between them and the CSIR in 2003. This would award royalties to the San for the benefits of their indigenous knowledge. The San were represented by a regional organisation formed under San leadership, the Working group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA).

This benefit-sharing agreement is one of the first to give royalties to the holders of traditional knowledge used for drug sales. The terms of the agreement are contentious, because of their apparent lack of adherence to the Bonn Guidelines on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing, as outlined in the Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention on Biological Diversity
The Convention on Biological Diversity , known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is an international legally binding treaty...

 (CBD). The San have yet to profit from this agreement, as P57 has still not yet been legally developed and marketed.

Society

The Bushman kinship system reflects their interdependence as traditionally small mobile foraging bands. The kinship system is also comparable to the eskimo kinship
Eskimo kinship
Eskimo kinship is a concept of kinship used to define family in anthropology. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Eskimo system was one of six major kinship systems .-Kinship system:The Eskimo system places no...

 system, with the same set of terms as in Western countries, but also employing a name rule and an age rule. The age rule resolves any confusion arising from kinship terms, as the older of two people always decides what to call the younger. Relatively few names circulate (approximately only 35 names per gender), and each child is named after a grandparent or another relative.

Children have no social duties besides playing, and leisure is very important to Bushmen of all ages. Large amounts of time are spent in conversation, joking, music, and sacred dances. Women have a high status in the San society, are greatly respected, and may be leaders of their own family groups. They make important family and group decisions and claim ownership of water holes and foraging areas. Women are mainly involved in the gathering of food, but may also take part in hunting.

The most important thing in the lives of the San people is water. Droughts can last for many months and waterholes may dry up. When this happens, they use sip wells. To get water this way, a San will scrape a deep hole where the sand is damp. Into this hole will be put a long hollow grass stem. An empty ostrich egg is used to collect the water. Water is sucked into the straw from the sand, into the mouth, and then travels down another straw into the ostrich egg.

Traditionally, the San were an egalitarian society. Although they did have hereditary chiefs, the chiefs' authority was limited. The bushmen instead made decisions among themselves by consensus, with women treated as relatively equal. In addition, the San economy was a gift economy
Gift economy
In the social sciences, a gift economy is a society where valuable goods and services are regularly given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards . Ideally, simultaneous or recurring giving serves to circulate and redistribute valuables within the community...

, based on giving each other gifts on a regular basis rather than on trading or purchasing goods and services.

Subsistence

Villages range in sturdiness from nightly rain shelters in the warm spring (when people move constantly in search of budding greens), to formalized rings, wherein people congregate in the dry season around permanent waterholes. Early spring is the hardest season: a hot dry period following the cool, dry winter. Most plants are still dead or dormant, and supplies of autumn nuts are exhausted. Meat is particularly important in the dry months when wildlife can't range far from the receding waters.

Bushmen women gather fruit, berries, tubers, bush onions, and other plant materials for the band's consumption. The eggs of ostrich
Ostrich
The Ostrich is one or two species of large flightless birds native to Africa, the only living member of the genus Struthio. Some analyses indicate that the Somali Ostrich may be better considered a full species apart from the Common Ostrich, but most taxonomists consider it to be a...

es are gathered, and the empty shells are used as water containers. In addition to plants, insects furnish perhaps ten percent of animal proteins consumed, most often during the dry season. Depending on location, the Bushmen consume 18 to 104 species including grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, moths, butterflies, and termites.

The women's traditional gathering gear is simple and effective: a hide sling, a blanket, a cloak called a kaross to carry foodstuffs, firewood, smaller bags, a digging stick, and perhaps a smaller version of the kaross to carry a baby.

Bushmen men traditionally hunted using poison arrow
Arrow
An arrow is a shafted projectile that is shot with a bow. It predates recorded history and is common to most cultures.An arrow usually consists of a shaft with an arrowhead attached to the front end, with fletchings and a nock at the other.- History:...

s and spear
Spear
A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head.The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with bamboo spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as flint, obsidian, iron, steel or...

s in laborious, long excursions. Kudu
Kudu
The kudus are two species of antelope of the genus Tragelaphus:*Lesser Kudu, Tragelaphus imberbis*Greater Kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros- Etymology :...

, antelope
Antelope
Antelope is a term referring to many even-toed ungulate species indigenous to various regions in Africa and Eurasia. Antelopes comprise a miscellaneous group within the family Bovidae, encompassing those old-world species that are neither cattle, sheep, buffalo, bison, nor goats...

, deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, dikdik, and buffalo
African Buffalo
The African buffalo, affalo, nyati, Mbogo or Cape buffalo is a large African bovine. It is not closely related to the slightly larger wild Asian water buffalo, but its ancestry remains unclear...

 were important game animals. The Bushmen offered thanks to the animal's spirit after it had been killed. The liver was eaten only by men and hunters, because it was thought to contain a poison unsafe for women.

In the 1990s, a portion of the population switched to livestock farming as a result of government-mandated modernization programs, as well as the increased risks of a hunting and gathering lifestyle in the face of technological development.

Early history


Historical evidence shows that certain Bushmen communities have always lived in the desert regions of the Kalahari. But nearly all of the Bushmen communities in southern Africa were eventually forced into this region. The Kalahari Bushmen remained in poverty where their richer neighbours denied them rights to the land. Before long, in both Botswana and Namibia, they found their territory drastically reduced.

Media presentation

The Bushmen of the Kalahari were first brought to the Western world's attention in the 1950s by South African author Laurens van der Post
Laurens van der Post
Sir Laurens Jan van der Post, CBE was a 20th century Afrikaner author of many books, farmer, war hero, political adviser to British heads of government, close friend of Prince Charles, godfather of Prince William, educator, journalist, humanitarian, philosopher, explorer, and...

. In 1955, Van der Post was commissioned by the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 to go the Kalahari desert with a film crew in search of the Bushmen. The filmed material was turned into a very popular six-part television documentary a year later. Driven by a lifelong fascination with this "vanished tribe", Van der Post published a 1958 book about the same expedition, entitled The Lost World of the Kalahari. It was to be his most famous book. In 1961 he published The Heart of the Hunter, a narrative derived from 19th-century Bushmen stories by Wilhelm Bleek
Wilhelm Bleek
Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek was a German linguist. His work included A Comparative Grammar of South African Languages and his great project jointly executed with Lucy Lloyd: The Bleek and Lloyd Archive of ǀxam and !kun texts.-Biography:Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek was born in Berlin on 8...

. Van der Post's work is largely discredited, as it is the subjective view of a European in the 1950s and 60s. His opinions branded the San as simple "children of Nature" or even "mystical ecologists". In the 1970s, South African writers such as R.O. Pearse stated that the Bushmen were somewhere between animals and mankind.

John Marshall
John Marshall (filmmaker)
John Marshall was an American anthropologist and acclaimed documentary filmmaker best known for his work in Namibia recording the lives of the Ju/'hoansi tribe...

, brother of Harvard anthropologist Lorna Marshall
Lorna Marshall
Lorna Marshall , born Lorna Jean McLean, was an anthropologist who in the 1950s, 60s and 70s lived among and wrote about the previously unstudied !Kung people of the Kalahari Desert...

, documented the lives of Bushmen in the Nyae Nyae region of Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

 over a more than fifty year period. His early film The Hunters, released in 1957, shows a giraffe
Giraffe
The giraffe is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest of all extant land-living animal species, and the largest ruminant...

 hunt during the 1950s. N!ai, the Story of a !Kung Woman
N!ai, the Story of a !Kung Woman
N!ai, the Story of a !Kung Woman is a film by ethnographic filmmaker John Marshall.The film was first broadcast in 1980 as part of the Odyssey series on PBS and is distributed by Documentary Educational Resources....

(1980) is the account of a woman who grew up while the Bushmen were living as autonomous hunter-gatherers, but who was later forced into a dependent life in the government-created community at Tsumkwe. A Kalahari Family (2002) is a five-part, six-hour series documenting fifty years in the lives of the JuǀʼHoansi of Southern Africa, from 1951 to 2000. Marshall was a fierce and vocal proponent of the Bushman cause throughout his life, in part due to strong kinship ties, and his marriage to a Bushman wife in his early 20s.

The BBC series How Art Made the World compares San cave paintings from 200 years ago to Paleolithic European paintings which are 14,000 years old. Because of their similarities, the San works may illustrate the reasons for ancient cave paintings. In this programme, Nigel Spivey draws largely on the work of Professor David Lewis-Williams
David Lewis-Williams
James David Lewis-Williams is a South African scholar. He is professor emeritus of cognitive archaeology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg....

. Drawing parallels between modern hunter-gatherers in southern Africa (Bushmen) and the Americas, Lewis-Williams shows that healers, or ritual specialists, deliberately force themselves into a trance
Trance
Trance denotes a variety of processes, ecstasy, techniques, modalities and states of mind, awareness and consciousness. Trance states may occur involuntarily and unbidden.The term trance may be associated with meditation, magic, flow, and prayer...

 in which they travel to the spirit world. The visions they experience on these journeys of the mind are terrifying and complex, and the activity itself is undertaken for the good of the community. The Kalahari Bushmen go to the spirit world to entreat with their god for the lives of the sick, to make rain, and to control the movements of the game animals.

In the lightest stages of trance states, all humans have the capacity to see geometric shapes known as form constants. They are hard-wired in the brain. As the trance deepens, and the subject tries to make sense of the shapes, so they change into things which are governed by that person's particular culture. The geometries are found all over the world and throughout history. Coupled to this are experiences such as changing into animals: the rock art traditions of hunter-gatherers the world over — including Ice Age Europe — contain images of figures which are half human and half animal . Going into deep caves is likened to going into a deep trance. Some images in France and Spain are over 1 km into the caves. Native Americans would call this 'Vision Questing' — going to barely accessible places such as mountain tops to perform rock art making, the images likely derived from visions they had experienced at special ceremonies.

Spencer Wells
Spencer Wells
Spencer Wells is a geneticist and anthropologist, an at the National Geographic Society, and Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of '56 Professor at Cornell University. He leads The Genographic Project.-Education:...

' 2003 book The Journey of Man — in connection with National Geographic's Genographic Project — discusses a genetic
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 analysis of the San and asserts their blood contains some of the oldest genetic markers found on Earth. The Bushmen's Y-chromosomal DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 haplogroup
Haplogroup
In the study of molecular evolution, a haplogroup is a group of similar haplotypes that share a common ancestor having the same single nucleotide polymorphism mutation in both haplotypes. Because a haplogroup consists of similar haplotypes, this is what makes it possible to predict a haplogroup...

 (type A) is one of the oldest, splitting off around 70,000 years ago from those found in the rest of humanity (type BT). Therefore, the Bushmen likely represent one of the oldest existing populations. Genetic markers present on the y chromosome
Y chromosome
The Y chromosome is one of the two sex-determining chromosomes in most mammals, including humans. In mammals, it contains the gene SRY, which triggers testis development if present. The human Y chromosome is composed of about 60 million base pairs...

 are passed down through thousands of generations in a relatively pure form. The PBS documentary based on the book follows these markers throughout the world, demonstrating that all of humankind can be traced back to the African continent and that the San are one of the oldest, most genetically unadulterated, remnants of humankind's ancient ancestors. More recent analysis suggests that the San may have been isolated from other original ancestral groups for as much as 100,000 years and then rejoined at a later date, re-integrating the human gene pool.

Films and music

The 1980 comedy movie The Gods Must Be Crazy
The Gods Must Be Crazy
The Gods Must Be Crazy is a 1980 film, written and directed by Jamie Uys. The film is the first in The Gods Must Be Crazy series of films. Set in Botswana and South Africa, it tells the story of Xi, a Sho of the Kalahari Desert whose band has no knowledge of the world beyond...

portrays a Kalahari Bushman tribe's first encounter with an artifact
Cultural artifact
A cultural artifact is a term used in the social sciences, particularly anthropology, ethnology, and sociology for anything created by humans which gives information about the culture of its creator and users...

 from the outside world (a Coke
Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke...

 bottle). By the time this movie was made, the ǃKung had recently been forced into sedentary villages, and the Bushmen hired as actors were confused by the instructions to act out inaccurate exaggerations of their almost abandoned hunting and gathering life. The director of this movie, Jamie Uys
Jamie Uys
Jacobus Johannes Uys , better known as Jamie Uys, was a South African film director.-Early life:Prior to his foray into film, Uys was a math teacher in his hometown of Boksburg. He then married Hettie, a fellow math teacher and the couple started farming and opening trading posts along the Palala...

, had also directed Lost in the Desert
Lost in the Desert
Lost in the Desert is a South African film from 1969/1970, written and directed by Jamie Uys, who also directed the better-known The Gods Must Be Crazy. Prominent roles were played by Wynand Uys as Dirkie Hayes , Jamie Uys as Anton Hayes , and Pieter Hauptfleisch as Uncle Pete...

in 1969, in which a small boy, stranded in the desert, encounters a group of wandering Bushmen, who help him and then abandon him as a result of a misunderstanding created by the lack of a common language and culture. Coca-Cola has sponsored a documentary of San hunting entitled The Great Dance: A Hunter's Story (2000) directed by Craig and Damon Foster.

South African film-maker Richard Wicksteed has produced a number of documentaries on San/Bushman culture, history and present situation; these include "In God's Places/Iindawo ZikaThixo" (1995) on the Bushman cultural legacy in the southern Drakensberg; "Death of a Bushman" (2002) on the murder of Bushman tracker Optel Rooi by South African police; "The Will To Survive" (2009) which covers the history and situation of Bushman communities in southern Africa today; and "My Land is My Dignity" (2009) on the San's epic land rights struggle in Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

"Eh Hee
Eh Hee
"Eh Hee" is a song written and recorded by Dave Matthews that was released as a digital single on September 4, 2007. An accompanying music video was also released on the same date, and was available as a free download from the iTunes Store for one week following its release. The music video was...

" by Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band, sometimes shortened to DMB, is a U.S. rock band formed in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1991. The founding members were singer-songwriter and guitarist Dave Matthews, bassist Stefan Lessard, drummer/backing vocalist Carter Beauford and saxophonist LeRoi Moore. Boyd Tinsley was...

 was written as an evocation of the music and culture of the San. In a story told to the Radio City audience (an edited version of which appears on the DVD version of Live at Radio City
Live at Radio City
Live at Radio City is a live album and video by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds. This was the first release by Matthews and Reynolds since Live at Luther College, released in 1999.-Release:...

), Matthews recalls hearing the music of the San and, upon asking his guide what the words to their songs were, being told that "there are no words to these songs, because these songs, we've been singing since before people had words". He goes on to describe the song as his "homage to meeting... the most advanced people on the planet".

The BBC's The Life of Mammals
The Life of Mammals
The Life of Mammals is a nature documentary series written and presented by David Attenborough, first transmitted in the UK from 20 November 2002....

 series includes video footage of an indigenous bushmen of the Kalahari desert undertaking a persistence hunt of a kudu
Kudu
The kudus are two species of antelope of the genus Tragelaphus:*Lesser Kudu, Tragelaphus imberbis*Greater Kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros- Etymology :...

 through harsh desert conditions. It provides an illustration of how early man may have pursued and captured prey with minimal weaponry.

Fiction

James A. Michener
James A. Michener
James Albert Michener was an American author of more than 40 titles, the majority of which were sweeping sagas, covering the lives of many generations in particular geographic locales and incorporating historical facts into the stories...

's The Covenant
The Covenant (novel)
The Covenant is a historical novel by American author James A. Michener, published in 1980.-Plot summary:The novel is set in South Africa, home to five distinct populations: Bantu , Coloured The Covenant is a historical novel by American author James A. Michener, published in 1980.-Plot summary:The...

(1980), is a work of historical fiction centered on South Africa. The first section of the book concerns a San tribe's journey set roughly in 13,000 BCE.

In Wilbur Smith
Wilbur Smith
Wilbur Addison Smith is a best-selling novelist. His writings include 16th and 17th century tales about the founding of the southern territories of Africa and the subsequent adventures and international intrigues relevant to these settlements. His books often fall into one of three series...

's The Burning Shores, the San people are portrayed through two major characters, O'wa and H'ani, and the Bushmen's struggles, history, and beliefs are described in great detail. The Burning Shores is a volume in the Courtneys of Africa series.

Tad Williams
Tad Williams
Robert Paul "Tad" Williams, born in San Jose, California, is the author of several fantasy and science fiction novels, including Tailchaser's Song, the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, the Otherland series, and The War of the Flowers....

' epic Otherland series of novels features !Xabbu, a South African bushman and includes many references to their mythology and culture. He acknowledges that the character is highly fictionalised and apologises for any misrepresentation.

In 2007, author David Gilman
David Gilman
David Gilman is an English television writer and novelist.Before becoming a writer, David was previously a fire-fighter, photographer and a soldier in the parachute regiment's Reconnaissance Platoon....

 published The Devil's Breath, a novel partly based on the Bushmen. One of the main characters, a small bushman boy named !Koga, uses traditional bushman methods to help the character Max Gordon travel across Namibia.

In Peter Godwin's biography When A Crocodile Eats the Sun he mentions his time spent with the San, the Kalahari Bushmen, for an assignment. His title comes from the San's belief that a solar eclipse occurs when a crocodile eats the sun.
In the May 2011 edition of the Scientific American, the DNA sequence first reported to be the precursor for all human beings was confirmed.

Laurens Van der Post's two novels, A Story Like The Wind (1972) and its sequel, A Far-Off Place (1974), are about a white boy encountering a wandering Bushman and his wife, and how the Bushmen's life and survival skills save the white teenagers' lives in a journey across the desert.

Bushmen Poem

Prayer addressed to the Young Moon

“kábbi-â yonder! Take my face yonder! Thou shalt give me thy face yonder! Thou shalt take my face yonder! That which does not feel pleasant. Thou shalt give me thy face, - (with) which thou, when thou hast died, thou dost again, living return, when we did not perceive thee, thou dost again lying down come, - that I may also resemble thee, For, the joy yonder, thou dost always possess it yonder, that is, that thou art wont again to return alive, when we did not perceive thee; while the hare told thee about it, that thou shouldst do thus. Thou didst formerly say, that we should also again return alive, when we died."

Notable Bushmen

  • Nǃxau starred in several films based on and including The Gods Must Be Crazy
    The Gods Must Be Crazy
    The Gods Must Be Crazy is a 1980 film, written and directed by Jamie Uys. The film is the first in The Gods Must Be Crazy series of films. Set in Botswana and South Africa, it tells the story of Xi, a Sho of the Kalahari Desert whose band has no knowledge of the world beyond...

    .
  • The "negro of Banyoles
    Negro of Banyoles
    The "negro of Banyoles" is a controversial piece of taxidermy of a bushman which used to be a major attraction in the Darder Museum of Banyoles . In 2000, the remains of the man were sent to Botswana for burial.-History:...

    ", a controversial piece of taxidermy
    Taxidermy
    Taxidermy is the act of mounting or reproducing dead animals for display or for other sources of study. Taxidermy can be done on all vertebrate species of animals, including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians...

    , was a bushman.

Genetic studies

Various Y-chromosome studies demonstrated that the San carry some of the most divergent (oldest) Y-chromosome haplogroups. These haplogroups are specific sub-groups of haplogroups A and B, the two earliest branches on the human Y-chromosome tree.

Similar to findings from Y-Chromosome studies, mitochondrial DNA studies also showed evidence that the San people carry high frequencies of the earliest haplogroup branches in the human mitochondrial DNA tree. The most divergent (oldest) mitochondrial haplogroup, L0
Haplogroup L0 (mtDNA)
-Distribution:It is found most commonly in the Sub-Saharan Africa. It reaches its highest frequency in the Khoisan people at 73%. Some of the higher frequencies are: Namibia 79%, South Africa 83% and Botswana 100%....

d, have been identified at its highest frequencies in the southern African San groups.

Neoteny

Ashley Montagu
Ashley Montagu
Montague Francis Ashley Montagu was a British-American anthropologist and humanist, of Jewish ancestry, who popularized topics such as race and gender and their relation to politics and development...

 noted that Bushmen have the following neotenous traits relative to Caucasoids: large brain, light skin pigment, less hairy, round-headed, bulging forehead, small cranial sinuses, flat roof of the nose, small face, small mastoid processes, wide eye separation, median eye fold, short stature and horizontal penis.

External links




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