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The San peoples (also Saan), or Bushmen, are members of various
Khoe Maharishi International University (MIU), formerly Maharishi University of Management, is a private university in Fairfield, Iowa. It was founded in 1973 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and features a "consciousness-based education" system that includes t ...
, Tuu, or Kxʼa-speaking indigenous
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
cultures that are the first cultures of
Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pr ...
, and whose territories span
Botswana Botswana (, also ), officially the Republic of Botswana ( tn, Lefatshe la Botswana, label=Setswana; Kalanga language, Kalanga: ''Hango yeBotswana''), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 ...

Botswana
,
Namibia Namibia (, ), officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east a ...

Namibia
,
Angola , national_anthem = "Angola Avante "Angola Avante" (, ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that officially symbolizes a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often r ...

Angola
,
Zambia Zambia (), officially the Republic of Zambia (Bemba language, Bemba:'' Icalo ca Zambia''; Tonga language (Zambia and Zimbabwe), Tonga: ''Cisi ca Zambia''; Lozi language, Lozi: ''Naha ya Zambia''; Chewa language, Nyanja: ''Dziko la Zambia''), ...

Zambia
,
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individ ...

Zimbabwe
,
Lesotho Lesotho ( , ), officially the Kingdom of Lesotho ( st, Naha ea Lesotho), is an enclaved country surrounded entirely by South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. Wi ...

Lesotho
and
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 60 million people, it is the world's List of countries by population, 23rd-most ...

South Africa
. In 2017, Botswana was home to approximately 63,500 San people, which is roughly 2.8% of the country's population, making it the country with the highest population of San people.


Definition

The term "Sann" has a long vowel and is spelled Sān (in
Khoekhoegowab The Khoekhoe language (), also known by the ethnic terms Nama (''Namagowab'') , Damara (''ǂNūkhoegowab''), or Nama/Damara and formerly as Hottentot, is the most widespread of the non- languages of Southern Africa that make heavy use of s a ...
orthography). It is a
Khoekhoe Khoekhoen (singular Khoekhoe) (or Khoikhoi in the former orthography; formerly also '' Hottentots''"Hottentot, n. and adj." ''OED Online'', Oxford University Press, March 2018, www.oed.com/view/Entry/88829. Accessed 13 May 2018. Citing G. S. ...
exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 milli ...
with the meaning of "foragers" and was often used in a derogatory manner to describe nomadic, foraging people. Based on observation of lifestyle, this term has been applied to speakers of three distinct language families living between the
Okavango River The Okavango River (formerly spelled Okovango or Okovanggo) is a river in southwest Africa. It is the fourth-longest river system in southern Africa, running southeastward for . It begins at 1,300 m altitude in the sandy highlands of Angola, wher ...

Okavango River
in Botswana and
Etosha National Park Etosha National Park is a national park in northwestern Namibia Namibia (, ), officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points ...
in northwestern
Namibia Namibia (, ), officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east a ...

Namibia
, extending up into southern
Angola , national_anthem = "Angola Avante "Angola Avante" (, ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that officially symbolizes a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often r ...

Angola
; central peoples of most of
Namibia Namibia (, ), officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east a ...

Namibia
and Botswana, extending into Zambia and Zimbabwe; and the southern people in the central
Kalahari The Kalahari Desert is a large semi-arid climate, semi-arid sandy savannah in Southern Africa extending for , covering much of Botswana, and parts of Namibia and South Africa. It is not to be confused with the Angolan, Namibian, and South Afr ...
towards the
Molopo River The Molopo River ( af, Moloporivier) is one of the main rivers in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west ...
, who are the last remnant of the previously extensive indigenous "San" of South Africa.


History

The hunter-gatherer San are among the oldest cultures on Earth, and are thought to be descended from the first inhabitants of what is now Botswana and South Africa. The historical presence of the San in Botswana is particularly evident in northern Botswana's
Tsodilo Hills The Tsodilo Hills are a UNESCO World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). ...
region. San were traditionally
semi-nomadic A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation which regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, pastoral nomads (owning livestock Livestock ...
, moving seasonally within certain defined areas based on the availability of resources such as water, game animals, and edible plants. Peoples related to or similar to the San occupied the southern shores throughout the eastern shrubland and may have formed a
Sangoan The Sangoan archaeological industry:''Not to be confused with industrial archaeology , and a common topic of study for industrial archaeologists. Industrial archaeology (IA) is the systematic study of material evidence associated with the Indus ...
continuum from the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northe ...

Red Sea
to the
Cape of Good Hope A cape is a sleeveless outer garment, which drapes the wearer's back, arms, and chest, and connects at the neck. History Capes were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a Hood (headgear), hood in the Chaperon (headgear), ...

Cape of Good Hope
. From the 1950s through to the 1990s, San communities switched to farming because of government-mandated modernisation programs. Despite the lifestyle changes, they have provided a wealth of information in
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
and
genetics Genetics is a branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, ...

genetics
. One broad study of African
genetic diversity Genetic diversity is the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species, it ranges widely from the number of species to differences within species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classificati ...
completed in 2009 found that San people were among the five populations with the highest measured levels of genetic diversity among the 121 distinct African populations sampled. Certain San groups are one of 14 known extant "ancestral population clusters"; that is, "groups of populations with common genetic ancestry, who share ethnicity and similarities in both their culture and the properties of their languages". Despite some positive aspects of government development programs reported by members of San and
Bakgalagadi Kgalagadi is one of the Bantu languages The Bantu languages (English: , Proto-Bantu: *bantʊ̀) are a large family of languages spoken by the Bantu peoples throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The total number of Bantu languages ranges in the hundre ...
communities in Botswana, many have spoken of a consistent sense of exclusion from government decision-making processes, and many San and Bakgalagadi have alleged experiencing
ethnic discrimination Discrimination is the act of making unjustified distinctions between human beings based on the groups, classes, or other categories to which they are perceived to belong. People may be discriminated on the basis of race, gender Gender is th ...
on the part of the government. The
United States Department of State The United States Department of State (DOS), or State Department, is an executive department The United States federal executive departments are the principal units of the Federal government of the United States, executive branch of the fede ...
described ongoing discrimination against San, or ''Basarwa'', people in Botswana in 2013 as the "principal human rights concern" of that country.


Names

The endonyms used by San themselves refer to their individual nations, including the ǃKung (ǃXuun) (subdivisions ǂKxʼaoǁʼae (Auen), Juǀʼhoan, etc.) the Tuu (subdivisions ǀXam, Nusan (Nǀu), ǂKhomani, etc.) and Tshu–Khwe groups such as the Khwe (Khoi, Kxoe), Haiǁom, Naro, Tsoa, Gǁana (Gana) and Gǀui (ǀGwi). Representatives of San peoples in 2003 stated their preference of the use of such individual group names where possible over the use of the collective term ''San''. Both designations "Bushmen" and "San" are
exonyms An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 milli ...
in origin, but ''San'' had been widely adopted as an endonym by the late 1990s. "San" originates as a pejorative
Khoekhoe Khoekhoen (singular Khoekhoe) (or Khoikhoi in the former orthography; formerly also '' Hottentots''"Hottentot, n. and adj." ''OED Online'', Oxford University Press, March 2018, www.oed.com/view/Entry/88829. Accessed 13 May 2018. Citing G. S. ...
appellation for foragers without cattle or other wealth, from a root ''saa'' "picking up from the ground" + plural ''-n'' in the Haiǁom dialect. The term ''Bushmen'', from 17th-century Dutch ', is still widely used by others and to self-identify, but in some instances the term has also been described as pejorative. Adoption of the Khoekhoe term ''San'' in Western anthropology dates to the 1970s, and this remains the standard term in English-language ethnographic literature, although some authors have later switched back to ''Bushmen''. The compound ''
Khoisan Khoisan , or (), according to the contemporary Khoekhoegowab The Khoekhoe language (), also known by the ethnic terms Nama (''Namagowab'') , Damara (''ǂNūkhoegowab''), or Nama/Damara and formerly as Hottentot, is the most widespread ...

Khoisan
'', used to refer to the pastoralist Khoi and the foraging San collectively, was coined by Leonhard Schulze in the 1920s and popularised by
Isaac Schapera Isaac Schapera (23 June 1905 Garies, Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie), also known as the Cape of Good Hope, was a British Empire, British colony in present-day South Africa named after the Cape of Good Hope. The British col ...
in 1930, and anthropological use of ''San'' was detached from the compound ''Khoisan'', as it has been reported that the exonym ''San'' is perceived as a pejorative in parts of the central Kalahari. By the late 1990s, the term ''San'' was in general use by the people themselves. The adoption of the term was preceded by a number of meetings held in the 1990s where delegates debated on the adoption of a collective term. These meetings included the Common Access to Development Conference organised by the
Government of Botswana The Government of Botswana often abbreviated as GOB, is the union government created by the constitution of Botswana having the executive, parliament, and the judiciary. The Seat of the Government is located in Gaborone, Botswana. The government i ...
held in
Gaborone Gaborone ( , , ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and sma ...
in 1993, the 1996 inaugural Annual General Meeting of the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA) held in Namibia, and a 1997 conference in
Cape Town Cape Town (Afrikaans: Kaapstad ; Xhosa language, Xhosa: ''iKapa;'') is the second-most populous city in South Africa, after Johannesburg, and also the legislative Capital city, capital of South Africa. Colloquially named the Mother City, it is ...

Cape Town
on "Khoisan Identities and Cultural Heritage" organised by the
University of the Western Cape The University of the Western Cape (UWC) is a public university located in Bellville, a suburb of the City of Cape Town The City of Cape Town ( af, Stad Kaapstad; xh, IsiXeko saseKapa) is the metropolitan municipality which governs the ...
. The term ''San'' is now standard in South African, and used officially in the blazon of the . The "South African San Council" representing San communities in South Africa was established as part of WIMSA in 2001. "Bushmen" is now considered derogatory by many South Africans, to the point where, in 2008, use of ''boesman'' (the modern
Afrikaans Afrikaans (, ) is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most po ...
equivalent of "Bushman") in the ''
Die Burger ''Die Burger'' (English: The Citizen) is a daily Afrikaans Alaric speaking Afrikaans. Afrikaans (, ) is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmo ...
'' newspaper was brought before the Equality Court, which however ruled that the mere use of the term cannot be taken as derogatory, after the San Council had testified that it had no objection to its use in a positive context. The term ''Basarwa'' (singular ''Mosarwa'') is used for the San collectively in Botswana. The term is a Bantu (
Tswana Tswana may refer to: * Tswana people, a Bantu people in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and other Southern Africa regions * Tswana language, the language spoken by the (Ba)Tswana people * Bophuthatswana, the former bantustan for ...
) word meaning "those who do not rear cattle". Use of the ''mo/ba-''
noun class In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic b ...
indicates "people who are accepted", as opposed to the use of ''Masarwa'', an older variant which is now considered offensive. In Angola they are sometimes referred to as ''mucancalas'', or ''bosquímanos'' (a
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
adaptation of the Dutch term for "Bushmen"). The terms ''Amasili'' and ''
Batwa The Twa (also Batwa or Cwa) are a group of indigenous African Pygmy (Central African foragers) tribes. Overview Twa, also called Batwa, one of the best-known of the many Pygmy groups scattered across equatorial Africa. Like all other Af ...
'' are sometimes used for them in
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individ ...

Zimbabwe
. The San are also referred to as ''Batwa'' by
Xhosa people Xhosa people (; ) are a NguniNguni may refer to: *Nguni languages The Nguni languages are a group of Bantu languages spoken in southern Africa by the Nguni peoples. Nguni languages include Xhosa language, Xhosa, Zulu language, Zulu, Nort ...
and ''Baroa'' by
Sotho people The Sotho people, or Basotho , are a Bantu Bantu may refer to: *Bantu languages, constitute the largest sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages *Bantu peoples, over 400 peoples of Africa speaking a Bantu language *Afro-textured hair#Styl ...
. The Bantu term ''Batwa'' refers to any foraging tribesmen and as such overlaps with the terminology used for the "Pygmoid"
Southern Twa The Twa (also Batwa or Cwa) are a group of indigenous African Pygmy (Central African foragers) tribes. Overview Twa, also called Batwa, one of the best-known of the many Pygmy groups scattered across equatorial Africa. Like all other Af ...
of South-Central Africa.


Society

The San
kinship system In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often debated. Anthropologist Robin Fox states tha ...
reflects their interdependence as traditionally small mobile foraging bands. San kinship is comparable to
Eskimo kinship Eskimo ( ) or Eskimos are the indigenous peoples, indigenous circumpolar peoples who have traditionally inhabited the northern circumpolar region from eastern Siberia (Russia) to Alaska (United States), Northern Canada, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut, and ...
, with the same set of terms as in European cultures, but also uses 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 35 names per sex), and each child is named after a grandparent or another relative. Children have no social duties besides playing, and leisure is very important to San of all ages. Large amounts of time are spent in conversation, joking, music, and sacred dances. Women have a high status in 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. Water is important in San life. Droughts may last many months and waterholes may dry up. When this happens, they use sip wells. To get water this way, a San scrapes a deep hole where the sand is damp. Into this hole is inserted a long hollow grass stem. An empty
ostrich egg The egg of the ostrich ''Struthio'' is a genus of birds in the order (biology), order Struthioniformes, whose members are the ostriches. It is part of the infra-class Palaeognathae, a diverse group of flightless birds also known as ratites that ...

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.Marjorie Shostak, 1983, ''Nisa: The Life and Words of a ǃKung Woman''. New York: Vintage Books. Page 10. Although they had hereditary
chiefs Chief may refer to: Title or rank Military and law enforcement * Chief master sergeant, is the ninth, and highest, enlisted rank in the U.S. Air Force, * Chief of police, the head of a police department * Chief of the boat, the senior enlis ...
, their authority was limited. The San made decisions among themselves by
consensus Consensus decision-making or consensus politics (often abbreviated to ''consensus'') is group decision-making processes in which participants develop and decide on proposals with the aim, or requirement, of acceptance by all. The focus on es ...

consensus
, with women treated as relative equals. San economy was a
gift economy A gift economy or gift culture is a mode of exchange where Anthropological theories of value, valuables are not sold, but rather given without an explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards. Social norms and customs govern giving a gift i ...
, based on giving each other gifts regularly rather than on trading or purchasing goods and services. Most San are
monogamous Monogamy ( ) is a form of dyadic relationship Relationship most often refers to: * Interpersonal relationship The concept of interpersonal relationship involves social associations, connections, or affiliations between two or more peo ...
, but if a hunter is skilled enough to get a lot of food, he can afford to have a second wife as well.


Subsistence

Villages range in sturdiness from nightly rain shelters in the warm spring (when people move constantly in search of budding greens), to formalised 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 still are dead or dormant, and supplies of autumn nuts are exhausted. Meat is particularly important in the dry months when wildlife can not range far from the receding waters. Women gather fruit, berries, tubers, bush onions, and other plant materials for the band's consumption.
Ostrich ''Struthio'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circums ...

Ostrich
eggs are gathered, and the empty shells are used as water containers. Insects provide perhaps 10% of animal proteins consumed, most often during the dry season. Depending on location, the San consume 18 to 104 species, including grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, moths, butterflies, and termites. 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
karossA kaross is a cloak Cloak, 1580-1600 Victoria and Albert Museum no. 793-1901 A cloak is a type of loose garment that is worn over indoor clothing File:KangaSiyu1.jpg, A kanga (African garment), kanga, worn throughout the African Great Lakes ...
to carry a baby. Men hunt in long, laborious
tracking Tracking may refer to: In science and technology In computing * Tracking, in computer graphics, in match moving In visual effects, match moving is a technique that allows the insertion of computer graphics into live-action footage with corr ...
excursions. They kill their game using
bow and arrow The bow and arrow is a ranged weapon A ranged weapon is any weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and eff ...

bow and arrow
s and
spear A spear is a pole weapon A pole weapon or pole arm is a close combat weapon in which the main fighting part of the weapon is fitted to the end of a long shaft, typically of wood, thereby extending the user's effective range and striking pow ...

spear
s tipped in diamphotoxin, a slow-acting
arrow poison Arrow poisons are used to poison arrow heads or darts for the purposes of hunting and warfare. They have been used by indigenous peoples worldwide and are still in use in areas of South America South America is a continent A co ...
produced by beetle
larva A larva (plural larvae ) is a distinct juvenile form many animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that f ...
e of the genus '' Diamphidia''."How San hunters use beetles to poison their arrows"
, Biodiversity Explorer website


Early history

A set of tools almost identical to that used by the modern San and dating to 42,000 BC was discovered at
Border Cave Border Cave is a rock shelter A rock shelter (also rockhouse, crepuscular cave, bluff shelter, or abri) is a shallow cave-like opening at the base of a bluff or cliff. In contrast to solutional caves (karst Karst is a topography for ...
in
KwaZulu-Natal KwaZulu-Natal (, also referred to as KZN and known as "the garden province"; zu, iKwaZulu-Natali; xh, KwaZulu-Natala; af, KwaZoeloe-Natal) is a province of South Africa that was created in 1994 when the Zulu Zulu may refer to: Zulu people ...
in 2012. Historical evidence shows that certain San communities have always lived in the desert regions of the Kalahari; however, eventually nearly all other San communities in southern Africa were forced into this region. The Kalahari San 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.


Genetics

Various
Y chromosome The Y chromosome is one of two sex chromosome A chromosome is a long DNA molecule with part or all of the genome, genetic material of an organism. Most eukaryotic chromosomes include packaging proteins called histones which, aided by Chaper ...
studies show that the San carry some of the most divergent (oldest) human Y-chromosome haplogroups. These haplogroups are specific sub-groups of haplogroups A and B, the two earliest branches on the human Y-chromosome
tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only wood plants with se ...

tree
.
Mitochondrial DNA Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA or mDNA) is the DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five car ...

Mitochondrial DNA
studies also provide evidence that the San carry high frequencies of the earliest
haplogroup A haplotype A haplotype (haploid Ploidy () is the number of complete sets of chromosome A chromosome is a long DNA molecule with part or all of the genetic material of an organism. Most eukaryotic chromosomes include packaging prot ...
branches in the human mitochondrial DNA tree. This DNA is inherited only from one's mother. The most divergent (oldest) mitochondrial haplogroup, L0d, has been identified at its highest frequencies in the southern African San groups. In a study published in March 2011, Brenna Henn and colleagues found that the ǂKhomani San, as well as the Sandawe and
Hadza people The Hadza, or Hadzabe, are a Tanzanian Tanzania (;This approximates the Kiswahili pronunciation. However, is also heard in English. ), officially the United Republic of Tanzania ( sw, Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East ...
s of
Tanzania Tanzania (; ), officially the United Republic of Tanzania ( sw, Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa East Africa or Eastern Africa is the eastern subregion of the Africa Africa is the world's second-larges ...

Tanzania
, were the most genetically diverse of any living humans studied. This high degree of genetic diversity hints at the origin of
anatomically modern humans Early modern human (EMH) or anatomically modern human (AMH) are terms used to distinguish ''Homo sapiens'' (the only extant Hominina species) that are Human anatomy, anatomically consistent with the Human variability, range of phenotypes seen i ...
. A 2008 study suggested that the San may have been isolated from other original ancestral groups for as much as 100,000 years and later rejoined, re-integrating into the rest of the human gene pool. A DNA study of fully sequenced genomes, published in September 2016, showed that the ancestors of today's San hunter-gatherers began to diverge from other human populations in Africa about 200,000 years ago and were fully isolated by 100,000 years ago.


Ancestral land conflict in Botswana

Much
aboriginal people Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific countries), or autochthonous peoples, are culturally distinct et ...
's land in Botswana, including land occupied by the San people (or ''Basarwa''), was conquered during colonisation, and the pattern of loss of land and access to natural resources continued after Botswana's independence. The San have been particularly affected by encroachment by majority peoples and non-indigenous farmers onto land traditionally occupied by San people. Government policies from the 1970s transferred a significant area of traditionally San land to
white White is the lightest color Color (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the Unite ...
settlers and majority agro-pastoralist tribes. Much of the government's policy regarding land tended to favor the dominant
Tswana Tswana may refer to: * Tswana people The Tswana ( tn, Batswana, singular ''Motswana'') are a Bantu-speaking ethnic group who are native to Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or comp ...
peoples over the minority San and
Bakgalagadi Kgalagadi is one of the Bantu languages The Bantu languages (English: , Proto-Bantu: *bantʊ̀) are a large family of languages spoken by the Bantu peoples throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The total number of Bantu languages ranges in the hundre ...
. Loss of land is a major contributor to the problems facing Botswana's indigenous people, including especially the San's eviction from the
Central Kalahari Game Reserve A South African giraffe Central Kalahari Game Reserve is an extensive national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often ...
. The government of Botswana decided to relocate all of those living within the reserve to settlements outside it. Harassment of residents, dismantling of infrastructure, and bans on hunting appear to have been used to induce residents to leave. The government has denied that any of the relocation was forced. A legal battle followed. The relocation policy may have been intended to facilitate
diamond mining Diamond is a solid form of the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal structure In crystallography Crystallography is the experimental science of determining the arrangement of atoms in crystalline solids (see crystal structu ...
by
Gem Diamonds Gem Diamonds is a United Kingdom, British-based global diamond mining business. It is headquartered in London and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. In 2017, the company generated a profit of USD, $20.8 million. History The business was found ...
within the reserve.


''Hoodia'' traditional knowledge agreement

''
Hoodia gordonii ''Hoodia gordonii'', also known as Bushman's hat, is a leafless spiny succulent plant ''. In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or ph ...

Hoodia gordonii
'', used by the San, was patented by the South African
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 59 million peopl ...
(CSIR) in 1998, for its presumed appetite suppressing quality. A licence was granted to Phytopharm, 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. During the case, the San people were represented and assisted by the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA), the South African San Council and the South African San Institute. 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 The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is a multilateral treatyMultilateral may refer to: * Multilateralism * Multilateration * Flea flicker (American football) {{disambig .... The conven ...
(CBD). The San have yet to profit from this agreement, as P57 has still not yet been legally developed and marketed.


Representation in mass media


Early representations

The San of the
Kalahari The Kalahari Desert is a large semi-arid A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is the climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the ...

Kalahari
were first brought to the globalized world's attention in the 1950s by South African author
Laurens van der Post Sir Laurens Jan van der Post, (13 December 1906 – 15 December 1996) was a 20th-century South African Afrikaner Afrikaners () are an ethnic group in Southern Africa descended from Free Burghers, predominantly Dutch settlers first a ...
. Van der Post grew up in South Africa, and had a respectful lifelong fascination with native African cultures. In 1955, he was commissioned by the
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

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. Driven by a lifelong fascination with this "vanished tribe", Van der Post published a 1958 book about this 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 which he admits in the introduction uses two previous works of stories and mythology as "a sort of Stone Age Bible", namely ''
Specimens of Bushman Folklore Specimen may refer to: Science and technology * Sample (material) In general, a sample is a limited quantity of something which is intended to be similar to and represent a larger amount of that thing(s). The things could be countable In ...

Specimens of Bushman Folklore
(1911), collected by and Lucy C. Lloyd, and
Dorothea Bleek Dorothea Frances Bleek (later Dorothy F. Bleek; born 26 March 1873, Mowbray, Cape Town Mowbray is one of the Southern Suburbs, Cape Town, Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa and lies on the slopes of Devil's Peak (Cape Town), Devil's Peak. ...
's ''Mantis and His Friend''. Van der Post's work brought indigenous African cultures to millions of people around the world for the first time, but some people disparaged it as part of the subjective view of a European in the 1950s and 1960s, stating that he branded the San as simple "children of Nature" or even "mystical ecologists". In 1992 by John Perrot and team published the boo
"Bush for the Bushman"

"desperate plea"
on behalf of the aboriginal San addressing the international community and calling on the governments throughout Southern Africa to respect and reconstitute the ancestral land-rights of all San.


Documentaries and non-fiction

John Marshall John Marshall (September 24, 1755July 6, 1835) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth chief justice of the United States The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge A chief judge (also known as chief ...
, the son of
Harvard Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...

Harvard
anthropologist
Lorna Marshall Lorna Marshall (born Lorna Jean McLean; September 14, 1898 – July 8, 2002) was an anthropologist who in the 1950s, 60s and 70s lived among and wrote about the previously unstudied !Kung people of the Kalahari Desert.Douglas Martin, "Lorna Marsha ...
, documented the lives of San in the Nyae Nyae region of
Namibia Namibia (, ), officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east a ...

Namibia
over a more than 50-year period. His early film ''The Hunters'', released in 1957, shows a giraffe hunt. ''A Kalahari Family'' (2002) is a five-part, six-hour series documenting 50 years in the lives of the ''Juǀʼhoansi'' of Southern Africa, from 1951 to 2000. Marshall was a vocal proponent of the San cause throughout his life. His sister
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (born September 13, 1931) is an American author. She has published fiction and non-fiction books and articles on animal behavior, Paleolithic life, and the !Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. Early life and education Th ...
wrote several books and numerous articles about the San, based in part on her experiences living with these people when their culture was still intact. ''The Harmless People'', published in 1959 (revised in 1989), and ''The Old Way: A Story of the First People'', published in 2006, are the two primary works. John Marshall and Adrienne Miesmer documented the lives of the ǃKung San people between the 1950s and 1978 in '' Nǃai, the Story of a ǃKung Woman''. This film, the account of a woman who grew up while the San lived as autonomous hunter-gatherers, but who later was forced into a dependent life in the government-created community at Tsumkwe, shows how the lives of the
ǃKung people The ǃKung are one of the San peoples who live mostly on the western edge of the Kalahari Desert, Kalahari desert, Ovamboland (northern Namibia and southern Angola), and Botswana. The names ''ǃKung'' (''ǃXun'') and ''Ju'' are variants word ...
, who lived for millennia as hunter gatherers, were forever changed when they were forced onto a reservation too small to support them. South African film-maker Richard Wicksteed has produced a number of documentaries on San culture, history and present situation; these include ''In God's Places'' / ''Iindawo ZikaThixo'' (1995) on the San cultural legacy in the southern Drakensberg; ''Death of a Bushman'' (2002) on the murder of San tracker Optel Rooi by South African police; ''The Will To Survive'' (2009), which covers the history and situation of San 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 A South African giraffe Central Kalahari Game Reserve is an extensive national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often ...
. A documentary on San hunting entitled, ''The Great Dance: A Hunter's Story'' (2000), directed by Damon and Craig Foster. This was reviewed by
Lawrence Van Gelder Lawrence Ralph Van Gelder (February 17, 1933 – March 11, 2016) was an American journalist and instructor in journalism who worked at several different New York City-based newspapers in his long career. Until 2010, he was senior editor of the Art ...
for the ''
New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, publicatio ...
'', who said that the film "constitutes an act of preservation and a requiem". 's 2003 book '' The Journey of Man''—in connection with
National Geographic ''National Geographic'' (formerly the ''National Geographic Magazine'', sometimes branded as NAT GEO) is an American monthly magazine published by the National Geographic Society The National Geographic Society (NGS), headquartered in Was ...
's
Genographic Project The Genographic Project, launched on April 13, 2005 by the National Geographic Society The National Geographic Society (NGS), headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States, is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational orga ...
—discusses a analysis of the San and asserts their
genetic markers A genetic marker is a gene In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Phy ...
were the first ones to split from those of the ancestors of the bulk of other ''Homo sapiens sapiens''. The
PBS The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is an American public broadcaster Public broadcasting involves , and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is . In many countries of the world, comes from governments, especially vi ...
documentary based on the book follows these markers throughout the world, demonstrating that all of humankind can be traced back to the
African continent Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

African continent
(see
Recent African origin of modern humans In paleoanthropology Paleoanthropology or paleo-anthropology is a branch of paleontology and biological anthropology, anthropology which seeks to understand the early development of anatomically modern humans, a process known as wikt:hominiza ...
, the so-called "out of Africa" hypothesis). The BBC's ''
The Life of Mammals ''The Life of Mammals'' is a nature documentary A nature documentary or wildlife documentary is a genre of documentary film or series about animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the King ...
'' (2003) series includes video footage of an indigenous San of the Kalahari desert undertaking a persistence hunt of a
kudu The kudus are two species of antelope The term antelope is used to refer to many species of even-toed ruminant Ruminants (suborder In biological classification, the order ( la, wikt:ordo#Latin, ordo) is # a taxonomic rank used in the ...

kudu
through harsh desert conditions. It provides an illustration of how early man may have pursued and captured prey with minimal weaponry. The BBC series ''
How Art Made the World ''How Art Made the World'' is a 2005 five-part BBC One documentary series, with each episode looking at the influence of art on the current day situation of our society. "The essential premise of the show," according to Nigel Spivey, "is that of a ...
'' (2005) compares San cave paintings from 200 years ago to Ice Age art, Paleolithic European paintings that are 14,000 years old. Because of their similarities, the San works may illustrate the reasons for ancient cave paintings. The presenter Nigel Spivey draws largely on the work of Professor David Lewis-Williams, whose PhD was entitled "Believing and Seeing: Symbolic meanings in southern San rock paintings". Lewis-Williams draws parallels with prehistoric art around the world, linking in shamanic ritual and trance states. Les Stroud devoted an episode of Beyond Survival (2011) to the San Bushman of the Kalahari.


Films and music

A 1969 film, ''Lost in the Desert'', features a small boy, stranded in the desert, who encounters a group of wandering San. They help him and then abandon him as a result of a misunderstanding created by the lack of a common language and culture. The film was directed by Jamie Uys, who returned to the San a decade later with ''The Gods Must Be Crazy'', which proved to be an international hit. This comedy portrays a Kalahari San group's first encounter with an Cultural artifact, artifact from the outside world (a Coca-Cola bottle). By the time this movie was made, the ǃKung had recently been forced into sedentary villages, and the San hired as actors were confused by the instructions to act out inaccurate exaggerations of their almost abandoned hunting and gathering life.'' Nǃai, the Story of a ǃKung Woman''. Documentary Educational Resources and Public Broadcasting Associates, 1980. "Eh Hee" by Dave Matthews Band was written as an evocation of the music and culture of the San. In a story told to the Radio City Music Hall, Radio City audience (an edited version of which appears on the DVD version of ''Live at Radio City''), 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".


Memoirs

In Peter Godwin (writer), Peter Godwin's biography ''When A Crocodile Eats the Sun'', he mentions his time spent with the San for an assignment. His title comes from the San's belief that a solar eclipse occurs when a crocodile eats the sun.


Novels

Laurens van der Post Sir Laurens Jan van der Post, (13 December 1906 – 15 December 1996) was a 20th-century South African Afrikaner Afrikaners () are an ethnic group in Southern Africa descended from Free Burghers, predominantly Dutch settlers first a ...
's two novels, ''A Story Like The Wind'' (1972) and its sequel, ''A Far Off Place'' (1974), made into a A Far-Off Place, 1993 film, are about a white boy encountering a wandering San and his wife, and how the San's life and survival skills save the white teenagers' lives in a journey across the desert. James A. Michener's ''The Covenant (novel), The Covenant'' (1980), is a work of historical fiction centered on South Africa. The first section of the book concerns a San community's journey set roughly in 13,000 BC. In Wilbur Smith's novel ''The Burning Shore'' (an instalment in the Courtneys of Africa book series), the San people are portrayed through two major characters, O'wa and H'ani; Smith describes the San's struggles, history, and beliefs in great detail. Norman Rush's 1991 novel Mating (novel), Mating features an encampment of Basarwa near the (imaginary) Botswana town where the main action is set. Tad Williams's epic ''Otherland'' series of novels features a South African San named ǃXabbu, whom Williams confesses to be highly fictionalised, and not necessarily an accurate representation. In the novel, Williams invokes aspects of San mythology and culture. In 2007, David Gilman (writer), David Gilman published ''The Devil's Breath''. One of the main characters, a small San boy named ǃKoga, uses traditional methods to help the character Max Gordon travel across Namibia. Alexander McCall Smith has written a series of episodic fiction, episodic novels set in
Gaborone Gaborone ( , , ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and sma ...
, the capital of Botswana. The fiancé of the protagonist of ''The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency'' series, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, adopts two orphaned San children, sister and brother Motholeli and Puso. The San feature in several of the novels by Michael Stanley (the ''nom de plume'' of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip), particularly in ''Death of the Mantis''.


Notable individuals

*Nǃxau ǂToma *Roy Sesana *Royal ǀUiǀoǀoo *Dawid Kruiper


, Xam Notable individuals

* Kabbo, , , kabbo * !Kweiten-ta-ǀǀKen


See also

*First People of the Kalahari *Kalahari Debate *
Khoisan Khoisan , or (), according to the contemporary Khoekhoegowab The Khoekhoe language (), also known by the ethnic terms Nama (''Namagowab'') , Damara (''ǂNūkhoegowab''), or Nama/Damara and formerly as Hottentot, is the most widespread ...

Khoisan
*Negro of Banyoles *San religion *San rock art * Botswanan art#San art *Strandloper (people), Strandloper *Vaalpens *Boskop Man


References


Bibliography

*


Further reading

* * * * * * * San Spirituality: Roots, Expression,(2004) and Social Consequences, J. David Lewis-Williams, David G. Pearce, * Barnard, Alan. (1992): ''Hunters and Herders of Southern Africa.'' Cambridge University Press. .


External links


The site of the Khoisan Speakers

ǃKhwa ttu – San Education and Culture Centre

Kuru Family of Organisations

South African San Institute

Bradshaw Foundation – The San Bushmen of South Africa

Cultural Survival – Botswana

Cultural Survival – Namibia

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs – Africa

Kalahari Peoples Fund

Survival International – Bushmen
{{Authority control San people, African nomads Ethnic groups in Angola Ethnic groups in Botswana Ethnic groups in Namibia Ethnic groups in South Africa Ethnic groups in Zimbabwe Hunter-gatherers of Africa Indigenous peoples of Southern Africa