Bushmen perhaps the world's 'first people'

2014-12-09 09:10


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Maun - About 100 000 Bushmen remain in southern Africa. Most of them live in Botswana (50 000) and Namibia (38 000).

They are also known by other names, such as San, Basarwa or Kua. Many of them like the word Bushman, which does not carry a negative connotation for them.

The Bushmen speak Khoe-San languages characterised by click sounds.

A 2011 study by Stanford University said the Bushmen were the genetically most diverse human group known to exist in Africa, where modern humans originated.

That suggests they could be descendants of the ancestral source, or of one of several sources from which all modern humans diverged, carrying away portions of the available diversity when they left southern Africa and started spreading around the world about 60 000 years ago.

The Bushmen include some of Africa's last hunter-gatherer groups. They still follow cultural practices dated back tens of thousands of years, such as ostrich eggshell beads or the bow and arrow.

Until the late 19th century, Bushman groups living outside the Kalahari desert made rock paintings depicting dances and shamanic visions that can be found in thousands of locations in southern Africa.

The Bushmen have aroused popular and scientific curiosity since they were first written about in the 17th century. In the 19th century, some of them were taken to Europe, where they were exhibited to audiences seeking entertainment.

The Bushmen have suffered centuries of discrimination, with some European colonialists hunting them like animals and Botswana's dominant Tswana ethnic group keeping them as serfs.

"Being a Bushman is still like committing a sin in Botswana," activist Jumanda Gakelebone said. "When children do bad things, they are told not to act like a Bushman."
Read more on:    namibia  |  botswana

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.