In parts from
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
San or SAN can refer
to any of the following:
(SAN / Bushmen)
The Bushmen or San
peoples of South
Africa and neighbouring Botswana
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
The term "San" was
historically applied to them by their ethnic relatives and historic rivals the
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
In modern South Africa, the
Bushmen have largely been absorbed into the so-called Coloured
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.
Gods Must Be Crazy portrays a Kalahari Bushman tribe's first encounter
with an artifact
from the outside world (a Coke
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.
This article is about the
Khoisan ethnic group.
For the Khoisan language group,
Khoisan is the name for
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
In ancient times they were
decimated by the darker skinned Africans from the more desirable lands. In
modern times they lived in South
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
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.
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
languages. Historically, they were mainly spoken by the Khoi
(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
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
languages (a separate phylum) such as Xhosa
in South Africa, Sesotho
(also spoken in South
Africa and Lesotho),
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.
Koehler, O. (1971) 'Die
Khoe-sprachigen Buschmaenner der Kalahari', Forschungen zur allgemeinen
und regionalen Geschichte. (Festschrift Kurt Kayser). Wiesbaden: F.
Treis, Yvonne (1998) 'Names of
Khoisan languages and their variants', in Schladt, Matthias (ed.) Language,
Identity, and Conceptualization among the Khoisan. Koeln: Ruediger
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, 367–420.
Winter, J.C. (1981) 'Die
Khoisan-Familie'. In Heine, Bernd, Schadeberg Thilo C. & Wolff,
Ekkehard (eds.) Die Sprachen Afrikas. Hamburg: Helmut Buske,
Khoikhoi / KhoeKhoe
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.