San people

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"Bushmen" redirects here. San people_sentence_0

For other uses, see Bushman. San people_sentence_1

Not to be confused with Sand People. San people_sentence_2

San people_table_infobox_0

San BushmenSan people_table_caption_0
Total populationSan people_header_cell_0_0_0
Regions with significant populationsSan people_header_cell_0_1_0
BotswanaSan people_header_cell_0_2_0 63,500San people_cell_0_2_1
NamibiaSan people_header_cell_0_3_0 27,000San people_cell_0_3_1
South AfricaSan people_header_cell_0_4_0 10,000San people_cell_0_4_1
AngolaSan people_header_cell_0_5_0 <5,000San people_cell_0_5_1
ZimbabweSan people_header_cell_0_6_0 1,200San people_cell_0_6_1
LanguagesSan people_header_cell_0_7_0
ReligionSan people_header_cell_0_8_0
Related ethnic groupsSan people_header_cell_0_9_0

The San peoples, also known as the Bushmen (also Sān, Saan, Sākhoen, Sonqua, and in Afrikaans: Boesmans, after Dutch Boschjesmens; and Saake in the Nǁng language), are members of various Khoe, Tuu, or Kx'a-speaking indigenous hunter-gatherer groups that are the first nations of Southern Africa, and whose territories span Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and South Africa. San people_sentence_3

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. San people_sentence_4

Definition San people_section_0

The term "San" has a long vowel and is correctly spelled Sān (in Khoikhoigowab orthography), and it is a Khoi-speaking pastoralist exonym in the Khoikhoi language, and was often used in a derogatory manner to describe forager people, who maintained a non-accumulation lifestyle, and has the literal meaning of "foragers", so it is in fact an economic term and not an ethnic term at all. San people_sentence_5

Indeed, various groups are unrelated and their languages fall into at least three distinct language families. San people_sentence_6

It is purely a historiographic convention, based on observation of a nomadic forager lifestyle, that there has been a grouping together of northern peoples living between the Okavango River in Botswana and Etosha National Park in northwestern Namibia, extending up into southern Angola; central peoples of most of Namibia and Botswana, extending into Zambia and Zimbabwe; the southern people in the central Kalahari towards the Molopo River, who are the last remnant of the previously extensive indigenous "San" of South Africa. San people_sentence_7

History San people_section_1

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. San people_sentence_8

The historical presence of the San in Botswana is particularly evident in northern Botswana's Tsodilo Hills region. San people_sentence_9

San were traditionally semi-nomadic, moving seasonally within certain defined areas based on the availability of resources such as water, game animals, and edible plants. San people_sentence_10

Peoples related to or similar to the San occupied the southern shores throughout the eastern shrubland and may have formed a Sangoan continuum from the Red Sea to the Cape of Good Hope. San people_sentence_11

From the 1950s through to the 1990s, San communities switched to farming because of government-mandated modernisation programs. San people_sentence_12

Despite the lifestyle changes, they have provided a wealth of information in anthropology and genetics. San people_sentence_13

One broad study of African genetic diversity 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. San people_sentence_14

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". San people_sentence_15

Despite some positive aspects of government development programs reported by members of San and Bakgalagadi 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 on the part of the government. San people_sentence_16

The United States Department of State described ongoing discrimination against San, or Basarwa, people in Botswana in 2013 as the "principal human rights concern" of that country. San people_sentence_17

Names San people_section_2

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). San people_sentence_18

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. San people_sentence_19

Both designations "Bushmen" and "San" are exonyms in origin, but San had been widely adopted as an endonym by the late 1990s. San people_sentence_20

"San" originates as a Khoekhoe appellation used by pastoralists to refer to foragers, from a root saa "picking up from the ground" + plural -n in the Haiǁom dialect. San people_sentence_21

The term Bushmen, from 17th-century Dutch Bosjesmans, is still widely used by others and to self-identify, but in some instances the term has also been described as pejorative. San people_sentence_22

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. San people_sentence_23

The compound 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 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. San people_sentence_24

By the late 1990s, the term San was in general use by the people themselves. San people_sentence_25

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. San people_sentence_26

These meetings included the Common Access to Development Conference organised by the Government of Botswana held in Gaborone 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 on "Khoisan Identities and Cultural Heritage" organised by the University of the Western Cape. San people_sentence_27

The term San is now standard in South African, and used officially in the blazon of the national coat-of-arms. San people_sentence_28

The "South African San Council" representing San communities in South Africa was established as part of WIMSA in 2001. San people_sentence_29

"Bushmen" is now considered derogatory by many South Africans, to the point where, in 2008, use of boesman (the modern Afrikaans equivalent of "Bushman") in the Die Burger 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. San people_sentence_30

The term Basarwa (singular Mosarwa) is used for the San collectively in Botswana. San people_sentence_31

The term is a Bantu (Tswana) word meaning "those who do not rear cattle". San people_sentence_32

Use of the mo/ba- noun class indicates "people who are accepted", as opposed to the use of Masarwa, an older variant which is now considered offensive. San people_sentence_33

In Angola they are sometimes referred to as mucancalas, or bosquímanos (a Portuguese adaptation of the Dutch term for "Bushmen"). San people_sentence_34

The terms Amasili and Batwa are sometimes used for them in Zimbabwe. San people_sentence_35

The San are also referred to as Batwa by Xhosa people and Baroa by Sotho people. San people_sentence_36

The Bantu term Batwa refers to any foraging tribesmen and as such overlaps with the terminology used for the "Pygmoid" Southern Twa of South-Central Africa. San people_sentence_37

Society San people_section_3

Further information: San healing practices and San rock art San people_sentence_38

The San kinship system reflects their interdependence as traditionally small mobile foraging bands. San people_sentence_39

San kinship is comparable to Eskimo kinship, with the same set of terms as in European cultures, but also uses a name rule and an age rule. San people_sentence_40

The age rule resolves any confusion arising from kinship terms, as the older of two people always decides what to call the younger. San people_sentence_41

Relatively few names circulate (approximately 35 names per sex), and each child is named after a grandparent or another relative. San people_sentence_42

Children have no social duties besides playing, and leisure is very important to San of all ages. San people_sentence_43

Large amounts of time are spent in conversation, joking, music, and sacred dances. San people_sentence_44

Women have a high status in San society, are greatly respected, and may be leaders of their own family groups. San people_sentence_45

They make important family and group decisions and claim ownership of water holes and foraging areas. San people_sentence_46

Women are mainly involved in the gathering of food, but may also take part in hunting. San people_sentence_47

Water is important in San life. San people_sentence_48

Droughts may last many months and waterholes may dry up. San people_sentence_49

When this happens, they use sip wells. San people_sentence_50

To get water this way, a San scrapes a deep hole where the sand is damp. San people_sentence_51

Into this hole is inserted a long hollow grass stem. San people_sentence_52

An empty ostrich egg is used to collect the water. San people_sentence_53

Water is sucked into the straw from the sand, into the mouth, and then travels down another straw into the ostrich egg. San people_sentence_54

Traditionally, the San were an egalitarian society. San people_sentence_55

Although they had hereditary chiefs, their authority was limited. San people_sentence_56

The San made decisions among themselves by consensus, with women treated as relative equals. San people_sentence_57

San economy was a gift economy, based on giving each other gifts regularly rather than on trading or purchasing goods and services. San people_sentence_58

Most San are monogamous, but if a hunter is skilled enough to get a lot of food, he can afford to have a second wife as well. San people_sentence_59

Subsistence San people_section_4

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. San people_sentence_60

Early spring is the hardest season: a hot dry period following the cool, dry winter. San people_sentence_61

Most plants still are dead or dormant, and supplies of autumn nuts are exhausted. San people_sentence_62

Meat is particularly important in the dry months when wildlife can not range far from the receding waters. San people_sentence_63

Women gather fruit, berries, tubers, bush onions, and other plant materials for the band's consumption. San people_sentence_64

Ostrich eggs are gathered, and the empty shells are used as water containers. San people_sentence_65

Insects provide perhaps 10% of animal proteins consumed, most often during the dry season. San people_sentence_66

Depending on location, the San consume 18 to 104 species, including grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, moths, butterflies, and termites. San people_sentence_67

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. San people_sentence_68

Men hunt in long, laborious tracking excursions. San people_sentence_69

They kill their game using bow and arrows and spears tipped in diamphotoxin, a slow-acting arrow poison produced by beetle larvae of the genus Diamphidia. San people_sentence_70

Early history San people_section_5

A set of tools almost identical to that used by the modern San and dating to 42,000 BC was discovered at Border Cave in KwaZulu-Natal in 2012. San people_sentence_71

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. San people_sentence_72

The Kalahari San remained in poverty where their richer neighbours denied them rights to the land. San people_sentence_73

Before long, in both Botswana and Namibia, they found their territory drastically reduced. San people_sentence_74

Genetics San people_section_6

Various Y chromosome studies show that the San carry some of the most divergent (oldest) human Y-chromosome haplogroups. San people_sentence_75

These haplogroups are specific sub-groups of haplogroups A and B, the two earliest branches on the human Y-chromosome tree. San people_sentence_76

Mitochondrial DNA studies also provide evidence that the San carry high frequencies of the earliest haplogroup branches in the human mitochondrial DNA tree. San people_sentence_77

This DNA is inherited only from one's mother. San people_sentence_78

The most divergent (oldest) mitochondrial haplogroup, L0d, has been identified at its highest frequencies in the southern African San groups. San people_sentence_79

In a study published in March 2011, Brenna Henn and colleagues found that the ǂKhomani San, as well as the Sandawe and Hadza peoples of Tanzania, were the most genetically diverse of any living humans studied. San people_sentence_80

This high degree of genetic diversity hints at the origin of anatomically modern humans. San people_sentence_81

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 the human gene pool. San people_sentence_82

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. San people_sentence_83

Ancestral land conflict in Botswana San people_section_7

Main article: Ancestral land conflict in Botswana San people_sentence_84

Much aboriginal people's land in Botswana, including land occupied by the San people (or Basarwa), was stolen during colonisation, and the pattern of loss of land and access to natural resources continued after Botswana's independence. San people_sentence_85

The San have been particularly affected by encroachment by majority peoples and non-indigenous farmers onto land traditionally occupied by San people. San people_sentence_86

Government policies from the 1970s transferred a significant area of traditionally San land to White settlers and majority agro-pastoralist tribes. San people_sentence_87

Much of the government's policy regarding land tended to favor the dominant Tswana peoples over the minority San and Bakgalagadi. San people_sentence_88

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. San people_sentence_89

The government of Botswana decided to relocate all of those living within the reserve to settlements outside it. San people_sentence_90

Harassment of residents, dismantling of infrastructure, and bans on hunting appear to have been used to induce residents to leave. San people_sentence_91

The government has denied that any of the relocation was forced. San people_sentence_92

A legal battle followed. San people_sentence_93

The relocation policy may have been intended to facilitate diamond mining by Gem Diamonds within the reserve. San people_sentence_94

Hoodia traditional knowledge agreement San people_section_8

Hoodia gordonii, used by the San, was patented by the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 1998, for its presumed appetite suppressing quality. San people_sentence_95

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. San people_sentence_96

Once this patent was brought to the attention of the San, a benefit-sharing agreement was reached between them and the CSIR in 2003. San people_sentence_97

This would award royalties to the San for the benefits of their indigenous knowledge. San people_sentence_98

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. San people_sentence_99

This benefit-sharing agreement is one of the first to give royalties to the holders of traditional knowledge used for drug sales. San people_sentence_100

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 (CBD). San people_sentence_101

The San have yet to profit from this agreement, as P57 has still not yet been legally developed and marketed. San people_sentence_102

Representation in mass media San people_section_9

Early representations San people_section_10

The San of the Kalahari were first brought to the globalized world's attention in the 1950s by South African author Laurens van der Post. San people_sentence_103

Van der Post grew up in South Africa, and had a respectful lifelong fascination with native African cultures. San people_sentence_104

In 1955, he was commissioned by the BBC to go to the Kalahari desert with a film crew in search of the San. San people_sentence_105

The filmed material was turned into a very popular six-part television documentary a year later. San people_sentence_106

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. San people_sentence_107

It was to be his most famous book. San people_sentence_108

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' (1911), collected by Wilhelm H. I. Bleek and Lucy C. Lloyd, and Dorothea Bleek's Mantis and His Friend. San people_sentence_109

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". San people_sentence_110

In 1992 by John Perrot and team published the book – a 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. San people_sentence_111

Documentaries and non-fiction San people_section_11

Films and music San people_section_12

A 1969 film, Lost in the Desert, features a small boy, stranded in the desert, who encounters a group of wandering San. San people_sentence_112

They help him and then abandon him as a result of a misunderstanding created by the lack of a common language and culture. San people_sentence_113

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. San people_sentence_114

This comedy portrays a Kalahari San group's first encounter with an artifact from the outside world (a Coca-Cola bottle). San people_sentence_115

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. San people_sentence_116

"Eh Hee" by Dave Matthews Band was written as an evocation of the music and culture of the San. San people_sentence_117

In a story told to the 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". San people_sentence_118

He goes on to describe the song as his "homage to meeting... the most advanced people on the planet". San people_sentence_119

Memoirs San people_section_13

In Peter Godwin's biography When A Crocodile Eats the Sun, he mentions his time spent with the San for an assignment. San people_sentence_120

His title comes from the San's belief that a solar eclipse occurs when a crocodile eats the sun. San people_sentence_121

Novels San people_section_14

Laurens van der Post's two novels, A Story Like The Wind (1972) and its sequel, A Far Off Place (1974), made into a 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. San people_sentence_122

James A. Michener's The Covenant (1980), is a work of historical fiction centered on South Africa. San people_sentence_123

The first section of the book concerns a San community's journey set roughly in 13,000 BC. San people_sentence_124

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. San people_sentence_125

Norman Rush's 1991 novel Mating features an encampment of Basarwa near the (imaginary) Botswana town where the main action is set. San people_sentence_126

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. San people_sentence_127

In the novel, Williams invokes aspects of San mythology and culture. San people_sentence_128

In 2007, David Gilman published The Devil's Breath. San people_sentence_129

One of the main characters, a small San boy named ǃKoga, uses traditional methods to help the character Max Gordon travel across Namibia. San people_sentence_130

Alexander McCall Smith has written a series of episodic novels set in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. San people_sentence_131

The fiancé of the protagonist of The No. San people_sentence_132 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, adopts two orphaned San children, sister and brother Motholeli and Puso. San people_sentence_133

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. San people_sentence_134

Notable individuals San people_section_15

San people_unordered_list_0

See also San people_section_16

San people_unordered_list_1


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San people.