The San people are the direct descendants of the early stone age ancestors. They are the oldest inhabitants on earth having survived for over 140, 000 years. They are also the oldest occupants of Southern Africa.The San people are also called bushmen. Although, many school of thoughts believe this term to be derogatory, the San people bear the name with pride. According to them, the name, Bushmen, is a reference to the brave fight with the colonists for their freedom from domination and colonization.They speak the San language which is a click language. In written language, the clicks are spelt as either ” ! ” or ” /” .Although the San people have a vast knowledge about the flora and fauna of southern Africa, they do not cultivate crops or domesticate animals. They are hunter- gatherers. They will eat anything; ranging from antelopes, lions to porcupines; as long as it is safe. The San set traps for the animals but bows and arrows are still preferred. The arrow wound is usually not the cause of death but the poison smeared on the arrow head. Because the poison takes time to kill, they may have to track the injured animal for hours until it is dead.The thousands of plants are categorized based on their uses by the bushmen into lethal, recreational, mystical, nutritional and medicinal.
The San men are well known for their adept tracking abilities. They can follow the tracks (spoor) of an animal on any terrain. From the tracks, they can tell the animal, and its state of health.
The San have no formal authority or leader. They govern themselves by mutual consensus. Disputes are settled by lengthy discussions where all aggrieved parties tell their side of the story. The discussions continue until a middle ground is found.
Kinship is important. Land is owned by a group who live together. A group consists of about 25 men, women and children. Inheritance of land is both matrilineal and patrilineal.
The San are one of the few people who still adhere to their way of life.
Taiwo Akinola.


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