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Bushmen

From Academic Kids

The Bushmen or San peoples of South Africa and neighbouring Botswana and Namibia, who live in the Kalahari, are part of the Khoisan group and are related to the Khoikhoi. However, they have no collective name for themselves in any of their languages. They have a manual communication system that they use while hunting.

Along with the pygmies of Central Africa, the Bushmen have been considered a possible root or source for the female DNA lineage - the legendary Mitochondrial Eve.

The term "San" was historically applied to them by their ethnic relatives and historic rivals the Khoikhoi. This term means outsider in the Khoikhoi language and was derogatory; anthropologist Henry Harpending states that "in the Kalahari, 'San' has all the baggage that the 'N-word' has in America." For this reason, many of this group prefer to be called Bushmen, despite the fact that the term is sometimes considered politically incorrect by Westerners (see this UPI feature (http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=17062002-072804-4319r)).

In modern South Africa, the Bushmen have largely been absorbed into the so-called Coloured or Griqua population.

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 with the famous book The Lost World of the Kalahari, which was also a BBC TV series.

The 1980 comedy movie The Gods Must Be Crazy portrays a Kalahari Bushman tribe's first encounter with an artifact from the outside world (a Coke bottle).

Since 2002, the Bushmen of Botswana are seeking legal action to prevent the Botswana government from removing them from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, their ancestral homeland. The Bushmen are arguing that the Government of Botswana is attempting to destroy their culture through forced relocation and persecution based on their identity.

Further reading

  • Survival International (http://www.survival-international.org/bushman_0202.htm) and National Geographic (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/04/0416_030416_san2.html) highlight the Botswana bushmen issue.


Template:Africa-stubaf:Boesman de:San (Volk) es:San fr:Bochimans he:בושמנים it:Boscimani nl:San pl:Buszmeni fi:Bushmanni

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