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The San tribe has been living in Southern Africa



The San tribe has been living in Southern Africa for at least 30,000 years and they are believed to be not only the oldest African tribe, but quite possibly the world's most ancient race. The San have the most diverse and distinct DNA than any other indigenous African group.

The San are descendants of Early Stone Age ancestors. Clans and loosely connected family groups followed seasonal game migrations between mountain range and coastline. They made their homes in caves, under rocky overhangs or in temporary shelters. These migratory people do not domesticate animals or cultivate crops, even though their knowledge of both flora and fauna is vast. The San categorized thousands of plants and their uses, from nutritional to medicinal, mystical to recreational and lethal. San men have a formidable reputation as trackers and hunters.

The San have no formal authority figure or chief, but govern themselves by group consensus. Disputes are resolved through lengthy discussions where all involved have a chance to make their thoughts heard until some agreement is reached.Certain individuals may assume leadership in specific spheres in which they excel, such as hunting or healing rituals, but they cannot achieve positions of general influence or power. White colonists found this very confusing when they tried to establish treaties with the San. Leadership among the San is kept for those who have lived within that group for a long time, who have achieved a respectable age, and good character.


The San are excellent hunters. Although they do a fair amount of trapping, the best method of hunting is with bow and arrow. The San arrow does not k.ill the animal straight away. It is the deadly p.oison, which eventually causes the de.ath. In the case of small antelope such as Duiker or Steenbok, a couple of hours may elapse before de.ath.

The San belief system generally observes the supremacy of one powerful god, while at the same time recognizing the presence of lesser gods along with their wives and children. Homage is also paid to the spirits of the deceased. Among some San, it is believed that working the soil is contrary to the world order established by the god.

The San eat both a.nimal and vegetable. Their selection of food ranges from antelope, Zebra, porcupine, wild hare, Lion, Giraffe, fish, insects, tortoise, snakes, Hyena, eggs and wild honey. The meat is boiled or roasted on a fire.

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