The San People

The San People


The San people of Southern Africa today use the same set of tools that were found in a Cave, dating to 44,000 years ago.


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The San or Saan peoples, also known as the "Bushmen" are members of various Khoesan-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.

There is a significant linguistic difference between the northern peoples living between the Okavango River in Botswana and Etosha National Park in northwestern Namibia, extending up into southern Angola; the central peoples of most of Namibia and Botswana, extending into Zambia and Zimbabwe; and 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

The ancestors of the hunter-gatherer San are thought to have been 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 region. In this area, stone tools and rock art paintings date back over 70,000 years and are by far the oldest known art. San was traditionally semi-nomadic, moving seasonally within certain defined areas based on the availability of resources such as water, game animals, and edible plants. As of 2010, the San populations in Botswana number about 50,000 to 60,000.

From the 1950s through to the 1990s, San communities switched to farming because of government-mandated modernization programs. Despite the lifestyle changes, they have provided a wealth of information in anthropology and genetics. One broad study of African genetic diversity completed in 2009 found that S?n 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".


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