Sunday, 15 April 2018
Is there inherent value in preserving tradition? What if tradition, for you, meant rejecting modern life in favor of your ancestral lifestyle of hunting and gathering in sub-Saharan Africa? This is the very real choice facing Ketelelo and Kitsiso, two young Bushmen in Botswana, in Daniel Koehler’s moving documentary, A House Without Snakes.
Monday, 22 January 2018
2017 Was the 20th anniversary of the of the eviction of the Bushmen from their traditional hunting grounds. The future still looks very bleak!
Twenty years ago, during May 1996, hundreds of Bushmen were ordered to abandon their homes deep in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). This was the first in a wave of evictions by the government, determined to open up their ancestral homes to diamond mining and tourism. The Bushmen of Xade community were given no warning and were ordered to leave their homes immediately. They were herded onto trucks and those who refused to go were told they would be shot by the army. Read the story here
Monday, 8 August 2016
The first inhabitants of the eastern Lowveld were probably the San or Bushmen. They were a nomadic people who lived together in small family groups and relied on hunting and the gathering of food for survival. Evidence of their existence is found in numerous rock shelters throughout the Lowveld where some of their rock paintings are still visible. A number of these shelters have been documented in the Nelspruit area (Bornman, 1995; Schoonraad in Barnard, 1975). It has been said the red-ochre source for these paintings is to be found at Dumaneni, near Malalane (Bornman, 1995).
Wednesday, 29 June 2016
Sunday, 3 April 2016
New Website Link for the Bushman Music Initiative
The Bushman Music Initiative operates with three goals in mind:
1. To try to lend a hand to the Bushman people by providing for them an income based on a valuable, meaningful, and largely neglected aspect of their culture—namely, their music. This in turn demonstrates to the Bushmen an appreciation of their rich and singular musical tradition, and will hopefully help in its preservation.
2. To document this music for posterity while it is still here. For the extraordinary degree of complexity, uniqueness, and beauty that I find in this music, there is an equally extraordinary void in the annals of recorded music where it should be represented. It is perhaps the oldest music on Earth. And with Bushman tradition and culture slowly fading, even vanishing, it is uncertain how long this music will survive in its potent, original form.
3. To create an awareness of the Kalahari Bushmen in the modern world. This includes their incredible musical tradition, their unique history and culture, their friendliness and integrity, and the difficult circumstances they are facing in this pivotal moment of their timeline.
Tuesday, 15 March 2016
Khoisan hunter-gatherers have been the largest population throughout most of modern-human demographic history.Hie Lim Kim, Aakrosh Ratan, George H. Perry, Alvaro Montenegro, Webb Miller & Stephan C. Schuster
- The Khoisan people from Southern Africa maintained ancient lifestyles as hunter-gatherers or pastoralists up to modern times, though little else is known about their early history. Here we infer early demographic histories of modern humans using whole-genome sequences of five Khoisan individuals and one Bantu speaker. Comparison with a 420 K SNP data set from worldwide individuals demonstrates that two of the Khoisan genomes from the Ju/’hoansi population contain exclusive Khoisan ancestry. Coalescent analysis shows that the Khoisan and their ancestors have been the largest populations since their split with the non-Khoisan population ~100–150 kyr ago. In contrast, the ancestors of the non-Khoisan groups, including Bantu-speakers and non-Africans, experienced population declines after the split and lost more than half of their genetic diversity. Paleoclimate records indicate that the precipitation in southern Africa increased ~80–100 kyr ago while west-central Africa became drier. We hypothesize that these climate differences might be related to the divergent-ancient histories among human populations.