The San |
Bushmen Village, Namibia, 2005 |
Total population |
90,000 + |
Regions with significant populations |
.Botswana (55,000), Namibia (27,000), South Africa (10,000) |
Various Khoisan languagesHadzaMain article: Hadza languageWith about 800 speakers in Tanzania, Hadza appears to be unrelated to any other language; genetically, the Hadza people are unrelated tothe Khoisan peoples of Southern Africa, and their closest relatives may be among the Pygmies of Central Africa.SandaweMain article: Sandawe languageThere is some indication that Sandawe (about 40,000 speakers in Tanzania) may be related to the Khoe-Kwadi family, such as a congruent pronominal system and some good Swadesh-list matches, but not enough to establish regular soundcorrespondences. The Sandawe are not related to the Hadza, despite their proximity.KhoeMain article: Khoe languagesThe Khoe family is both the most numerous and diverse family of Khoisan languages, with seven living languages and over a quarter million speakers. Although little data is available, proto-Kwadi-Khoe reconstructions have been made for pronouns and some basic vocabulary. However, the Kwadiconnection is not accepted by all Khoesanists. |
San Religion The religion of the San people, or Bushmen, of southern Africa consists of a spirit world and our material world. To enter the spirit world, trancing has to be initiated by a shaman through the hunting of Power animalThe religion of the San people, or Bushmen, of southern Africa consists of a spirit world and our materialworld. To enter the spirit world, trancing has to be initiated by a shaman through the hunting of Power animalClothingTraditionally the Bushmen did not wear much clothing and in some instances this is still the case.
Usually the men are content with a small piece of skin threaded on a sinew or cord, passed between the legs and tied in front round the loins.
The women have a small piece of skinin front, ornamented with beads made of discs from ostrich egg-shells, and in some cases a larger one behind.
They seldom wear any covering over the shoulders except in very cold or rainy weather.Men and women wear ornaments of various kinds such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings and hair ornaments. The necklaces are made from small berries, beads, ostrich egg-shell, pieces of bone, or the teethand claws of animals. The men wear fillets of string or skin, sometimes decorated with beads round their head. The women will use ostrich egg-shell for this decoration.The men have duiker or steinbok horns full of medicine or snuff round their necks and usually a skin bag or wallet to contain their personal possessions.Some of them wear skin sandals, but generally they go barefooted, and theirfeet are hard and callous from constant travelling over rough and hard ground.Very few Bushmen today wear their traditional clothing. Due to their absorption into a more modern world, they have adopted a western style of clothing. |
Until recently, most amateur and professional anthropologists looked at a rock painting of the San and believed that they could decipher it without anyproblems.
Since the San are nomadic, they built huts of grass thatched over a framework of branches, planted into the ground and tied with strips of bark of the knob-thorn tree at the apex. The men usually gather the branches and construct the framework, while the woman gather grass and set about thatching the hut in layers. The finished hut is quite warm, which is necessary whentemperatures drop suddenly after sun set in the Kalahari. The huts are also waterproof to provide shelter from storms in the rainy season.
out hunting or travelling. They will carry water in an ostrich egg-shell Sleeping places are usually hollowed out of the sand and covered with grass and a fur kaross is used as a covering in cold weather. The San have few household possessions. Skin karosses,...
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