The Khoisan people are an indigenous hunter-gatherer people of Southern Africa whose roots are literally ancient. Khoisan are one of the 14 people groups from which all humanity descended and Khoisan tools have been found dating back to 44,000 BC. They are spread across Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
One broad study of African genetic diversity completed in 2009 found that the San 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 descend.
Despite this, the Khoisan have faced a challenging modern existence, fielding attacks from both European settles and fellow Africans.
They are second-class citizens in the lands of their birth, and suffer daily discrimination at the hands of other ethnic groups. Not so long ago, Tswana tribespeople referred to their San servants as “bulls” and “heifers.” One Motswana, seeing a group of San children playing, said, “If only they went to school they would be people.”…
The San’s history is not unique. Virtually all southern African peoples have experienced wrenching cultural change, war, dispossession, and ethnocide. But the San’s plight was compounded by their status as social outcasts, not only in the eyes of European settlers, but by their fellow Africans as well. As described in the important comprehensive five-volume study, Regional Assessment of the Status of the San in Southern Africa, edited by James Suzman (2001), surviving San were the subjects of special statutes in every country they lived in. Their nomadic ways, essential to their survival, were treated as vagrancy and suppressed. In certain areas repression and violence continue to the present.
It is a tribute to San resilience and cultural strength that they have overcome many obstacles to retain their language, culture, and religious beliefs, even if circumstances have forced them to give up foraging. Coming to political consciousness, some San have recreated themselves as First Peoples, and, with the assistance of sympathetic outsiders, have fought successfully for land and civil rights. While discrimination remains, governments in the region have begun to recognize the San’s uniqueness and to institute at least some policies in support of San development aspirations.
The Khoisan have a fully egalitarian society;
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…
Traditionally, the San were an egalitarian society. Although they had hereditary chiefs, their authority was limited. The San made decisions among themselves by consensus, with women treated as relative equals.
The San are intelligent trackers and know the habits of their prey. On discovering where a herd has gathered, they immediately test the direction and force of the wind by throwing a handful of dust into the air… The San make use of over 100 edible species of plant. While the men hunt, the women, who are experts in foraging for edible mushrooms, bulbs, berries and melons, gather food for the family.
Here are 10 beautiful images of these incredible people;
Incredible! Ladies, what are your thoughts?