Of all the people of Southern Africa, the Khoi-San peoples of south eastern Africa are the oldest and most mysterious to have ever lived on this part of the world. I claim not to know much about them but I will write about them for they are my people too.
The Khoi-San peoples are in truth a people of two separate groups of people. Namely, the Khoikhoi and the Sanaqhua. There are many a people between the two mentioned of course but I cannot give you details on them because of a number of reasons. Off course one of the reasons is that I as an individual has rather with some humbling embarrassment discovered that I do not know much about my aunt’s (by marriage) people. What little I do know is not from my own grandfather’s red lips but rather it is from some rather distant often time biased if not plain right disrespectful white supremacist writer who fancied himself a historian to a people, a land and a culture he did not know or even experienced but was rather too quick to write down the things he heard from salt filled stories propagated by self-proclaimed adventure.
The San and the Khoi are divided into two peoples-as mentioned. The Khoi are what was once rather derogatory named Hottentots.
The name Hottentots is said to have been derived from the sound my people made while they were dancing the settlers did not understand. They are in truth the khoi. An African remnant of the ancient time who 23000yrs ago, learnt how to be herders instead of hunters. They have a social structure, a culture and a tradition that is though not sophisticated is effective for them. As is any culture in the world to its own people. Sanaqhua/San are a what was once called the bushmen…Quite offensive. They call themselves the Sanaqhua. They are hunters and are therefore the highest known trackers among man. They survive on bucks: animals like the antelope, impala, the giraffe and others. Their food is from the land; they do not farm, rather they dig for roots and look for fruits and eat eggs from small birds and from even the ostrich. Their sacred animal is the graceful eland; whose milk they drink for both sustenance and power. Their dance is inspired by the eland and impala’s walk and so are their songs and folktales. For them a man is not made by what he has but by what his heart has. For them to be a man you ought to take the road to manhood and there is no other way to do so than to hunt and kill for the very first time. Oh and you ought to apologize, tell and thank the hunt for the strength you are to get from eating it. Oh and in case you are wondering, San do not have gods; they just have one god. He is the father of the first San-the first people, he is the provider, the nourisher, sustainer guardian and protector of all things good and righteous. He, as is in Judaism, Christianity and also in Nguni tradition has a nemesis who brings all things bad and evil. So in short the San and the Khoi are people too. Too bad some of the settlers and the Nguni never saw them that way, this is so even today.
Unfortunately-as is often so among man, the Khoe and the San have suffered much at no one else’ hands that of man. They were prosecuted, enslaved, driven off their ancestral land and killed for mostly no other reason other than the lies the settlers propagated. Because of these the Khoi and the San lost all they were, even their identity, language and culture. The Khoe were forced to flee the fertile plains of the Western Cape because the settlers were too hostile to them. Some fled to the Deseret lands of what are today Botswana and Namibia where they reside even today, some are at the Gariep River (Gariep in Khoe and Groot river in Afrikaans), others at Etoshe National Park and as is bound to happen, others went and lived, fought, married and died with and among the Nguni-Zulu, Xhosa and the Swazi.
The war for their land is still ongoing, some who have it back or never left it are not being serviced by both the national and local governments, they live far from their ancestral dignity and are deprived of what modern day man enjoys. As I speak some of these brothers of mine are perceived as a people of no nationality by the Republic of South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, for them-the first people, eye of apartheid is not yet gouged out of above governments faces but is still very much alive and looking at them with the original evil intensity-if not the worst.
Where to visit the San
-the Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana
-the Karoo, Southern Africa
-the Okavango in Botswana
-the Entosha National park in Namibia.
I do hope that things change for the best
To come visit my people please take note of the following:
-Attain a visitors’ permit
-Vaccinate against malaria fever
-A medical aid and traveler’s insurance would be a handy backup -Be healthy and ready to hike, eat and dance your heart out. Oh and be ready to be blown out by rock art dear, it is quite amazing.
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