THE SAN & THE KHOI PEOPLES and THE KHOISAN LANGUAGES

In parts from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

 

SAN

San or SAN can refer to any of the following:

 

ABATHWA

(SAN / Bushmen)

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 only recently have agreed on a collective name for themselves: ABATHWA. 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 groups still 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.

 

Khoisan

This article is about the Khoisan ethnic group.

For the Khoisan language group, see Khoisan languages.

Khoisan is the name for several ethnic groups, that share some specific physical and linguistic characteristics. They seem to have a very long history in the region, where they lived until recently. They seem to have appeared in the southern parts of Africa many ten thousands of years ago.

DURING 2001 THE NATIONAL KHOISAN CONSULTATIVE CONFERENCE WAS FORMED, AS AN UMBRELLA ORGANISATION REPRESENTING A LARGE ARRAY OF ORGANISATIONS FROM THE KHOEKHOE (GRIQUA,NAMA,BASTER) AND SAN GROUPING. SAN LEADERS WERE CONCERNED AT THIS APPARENT THREAT TO THEIR CULTURE, IN THAT THE NAME KHOISAN WAS REGARDED BY MANY AS CONFUSING TO THE PUBLIC AND AS WATERING DOWN THE SAN IDENTITY. 

THE ABATHWA WOULD HAVE LIKED IF THE CONFERENCE WOULD HAVE USED THE WORDS SAN AND KHOI SEPARATELY.

Particular groups are the Khoi and the Bushmen (in the past known as Hottentots and San respectively, though some now regard those names as derogatory). The Khoisan languages are characterised by click consonants.

In ancient times they were decimated by the darker skinned Africans from the more desirable lands. In modern times they lived in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, and were partly exterminated by the Dutch and English settlers in that area. They also contributed greatly to the ancestry of South Africa's coloured population, while other groups of Khoisan were absorbed into the expanding Bantu-speaking populations, most notably the Xhosa.

Physically, the Khoisan, with their short, slight frames, yellow-brown skin and small arms and feet, were quite distinct from the darker-skinned Bantu Africans who constitute the majority of Africa's population, but such differences are increasingly a thing of the past as they intermarry with their Bantu speaking neighbours. One distinguishing feature of Khoisan women was their tendency to steatopygia, a feature that contributed greatly to the European fascination with the Hottentot Venus.

The Khoisan show the largest genetic diversity in mtDNA of all human populations. Y chromosome data also indicates that they were some of the first lineages to branch off of the common human family tree which is not to say that they are more physically "primitive" than any other peoples.

Bibliography

  • Barnard, A. (1992) Hunters and Herders of Southern Africa: A Comparative Ethnography of the Khoisan Peoples. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.pt:Khoisan

 

Khoisan languages

Map showing the distribution of the Khoi-San languages.

Map showing the distribution of the Khoi-San languages

This article is about the Khoisan language group. For the Khoisan ethnic group, see Khoisan.

The Khoisan languages comprise the smallest phylum of African languages. Historically, they were mainly spoken by the Khoi and Bushmen (San) people. Today they are only spoken in the Kalahari Desert in south-western Africa, and a small area in Tanzania. The languages are becoming increasingly rare; several are known to have become extinct. Many of them have no written record. The Hadza and Sandawe languages in Tanzania are generally classified as Khoisan, but are extremely distant (linguistically and geographically) from the others. Many linguists regard the Khoisan phylum as a yet unproved hypothesis.

They are notable for the use of click consonants as phonemes, including the Kung-ekoka language, which has in excess of 50 click consonants and over 140 separate phonemes, and the !X�� language with its giant phoneme inventory and strident and pharyngealized sounds. Many people were exposed to this group of languages through the Bushman language used in the 1980 film The Gods Must Be Crazy.

The only other languages using clicks as phonemes are Nguni Bantu languages (a separate phylum) such as Xhosa and Zulu in South Africa, Sesotho (also spoken in South Africa and Lesotho), the South Cushitic Dahalo language, and an artificial ceremonial language called 'Damin', spoken by some Australian Aborigines. All of these languages except Damin are believed to have adopted the use of clicks from neighboring Khoisan populations.

Grammatically, the Khoisan languages are generally fairly isolating. Suffixes are often used, but word order is overall more widely used than inflection.

See also

Bibliography

  • Koehler, O. (1971) 'Die Khoe-sprachigen Buschmaenner der Kalahari', Forschungen zur allgemeinen und regionalen Geschichte. (Festschrift Kurt Kayser). Wiesbaden: F. Steiner, 373411.

  • Treis, Yvonne (1998) 'Names of Khoisan languages and their variants', in Schladt, Matthias (ed.) Language, Identity, and Conceptualization among the Khoisan. Koeln: Ruediger Koeppe, 463503.

  • Vossen, Rainer (1997) Die Khoe-Sprachen. Ein Beitrag zur Erforschung der Sprachgeschichte Afrikas. Koeln: Ruediger Koeppe.

  • Westphal, E.O.J. (1971) 'The click languages of Southern and Eastern Africa', in Sebeok, T.A. (ed.) Current trends in Linguistics Vol. 7: Linguistics in Sub-Saharan Africa. Berlin: Mouton, 367420.

  • Winter, J.C. (1981) 'Die Khoisan-Familie'. In Heine, Bernd, Schadeberg Thilo C. & Wolff, Ekkehard (eds.) Die Sprachen Afrikas. Hamburg: Helmut Buske, 329374.

External links

 

KHOI

Khoikhoi / KhoeKhoe

An 18th century drawing of Khoikhoi worshipping the moon

The Khoikhoi ("people people" or "real people") or Khoi are a division of the Khoisan ethnic group of south-western Africa, closely related to the Bushmen (San). They have lived in this area for about 30,000 years. Khoikhoi is sometimes spelt KhoeKhoe. In other words, the Khoikhoi who live in Africa and in Namibia have not been there for long.

They were once known to Europeans as the Hottentots, a name that is now considered derogatory (it means "stutterer" in Dutch, although the Dutch use the word "stotteraar" more to describe the clicking sounds used in the Khoisan languages). The word lives on, however, in the names of several African animal and plant species, such as the Hottentot Fig or Carpobrotus Fig, Carpobrotus edulis.

Related articles