These people dominated the sub-continent for millennia before the appearance of the Nguni and other black peoples. This is evident from their marvelous animated paintings on rocks and caves walls as far afield as Namaqualand, the Drakensberg and southern Cape. They lived - and some still do today in total harmony with nature, posing no threat to wildlife and vegetation by over-hunting or gathering.
The semi-nomadic existence of the San was and is governed by the seasons and the movement of game. The San have short, slight bodies, small hands and feet and yellow-brown skin that wrinkle early. The women tend to store fat in their buttocks and have sharply hollowed backs. They look exactly like the characteristic profiles depicted in the San rock paintings.
They store fat in their buttocks - a natural adaptation to their precarious existence in a harsh environment. In time the whites encroached upon the San's traditional hunting grounds.
Some Bushmen went to live with them and others moved on west and north in search of land where they could live freely. Today they are found only in the northwestern Cape, the Kalahari, Namibia and Botswana.
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Most groups today are less nomadic than their forebears are. However, the desert San lives much as their ancestors did. They move in small clans, each with its clearly defined territory.
The women gather wild melons such as tsamma - a source of food and water, roots and edible berries.
The men hunt with wooden bow and arrow and use clubs and spears if necessary. The arrowheads are tipped with poison made from insect grubs. It acts slowly on the victim's nervous system. The Bushmen, known for their stamina, may sometimes have to pursue their prey for a great distance before the animal finally drops, ready for a kill.
They are superb trackers and may follow a herd for many days before getting close enough to use bow and arrow.
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After such a kill, the whole group joins in the feast, singing and dancing in a trance-like ritual around the fire. When game is scarce, the group splits up into smaller parties to search for food.
In severe, prolonged droughts the women chew the bark of a particular tree which acts as contraceptive, so preventing an increase in the number of mouths to feed. Snakes, lizards and even scorpions are eaten. To provide liquid in dry areas and for times of drought, the San store water in ostrich shells, which they bury deep below the sandy desert surface. They recover the shells with uncanny accuracy.
More Blog Articles Wildlife Thanks to its diverse ecosystem, South Africa is home to a phenomenal array of wildlife species. As well as the famous 'Big 5' lion, rhino, elephant, leopard, and buffalothe following animals can be found across the country: Zebra The endemic black wildebeest The chacma baboon By becoming a conservation volunteer in South Africa, you will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with some truly remarkable animals. Of course, the protection of the country's wildlife is paramount, so whether you're working to educate locals about the importance of marine conservation, educating children on the concept of harmonious living alongside their native wildlifeor combatting issues such as poaching, your time spent on a project could not be more valuable.
Culture South Africa is well-known for its ethnic and cultural diversity, with numerous demographics having their own language no less than 11 exist throughout the country and, of course, their own roots and traditions.
While South Africa's history is peppered with major issues such as colonialism, apartheid, and financial disparity, populations across the nation had held on dearly to their unique ways of life and beliefs. A few examples of cultures and traditions that continue to remain and that the country's citizens remain incredibly proud of can be seen below: Art - few people are aware of the fact that the world's oldest artpieces hail from South Africa: As well as being the 'birthplace' of ancient arts, South Africa is also a pioneer of upcycling, with materials such as plastic and bicycle spokes being used for craft, and contemporary art from South Africa is actively showcased throughout the world today.
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Performance and media - cinema, poetry and music are all popular forms of media in South Africa - but did you know that the country is the motherland of one of the world's most revered writers?
R Tolkien, otherwise known as the author of Lord of the Rings, was actually born in Bloemfontein in ! In addition to literature, South Africans can be very proud of their rich, diverse musical spectrum, from the unique style of Kwaito to internationally-known rockstars Seether.