[RECORD NOMINATION] Africa Records Institute (AFRI) – P14. San tribe (South Africa) : The oldest tribe in Africa.


The San or Saan peoples, aslo known as “ Bushmen” have the most diverse and distinct DNA than any other indigenous African group. This means the San are direct descendants of the the first Homo sapiens, i.e. modern man



Research suggests that the San’s ancestors became isolated from other early groups around 100.000 years ago and re-entered the gene pool at a later time. This explains why the San have such diverse DNA. Archaeological finds from Botswana suggest that the San people were performing rituals about 70.000 years ago, much earlier than previously thought.




In the past, familial groups or bands of San usually numbered around 10 to 15 individuals. They lived off the land, erecting temporary shelters in summer, and more permanent structures around waterholes in the dry winter. The San are an egalitarian people and traditionally have no official leader or chief. Women are considered equal, and decisions are made as a group.



In the past, San men were responsible for hunting to feed the entire group - a collaborative exercise achieved using hand-crafted bows and arrows tipped with a poison made from ground beetles. Meanwhile, the women gathered what they could from the land, including fruit, berries, tubers, insects and ostrich eggs. Once empty, the ostrich shells were used to gather and store water, which often had to be sucked up from a hole dug into the sand. Most San are monogamous, but if a hunter is skilled enough to get a lot of food, he can afford to have a second wife as well.




Today, it is estimated that there are around 100,000 San still living in Southern Africa. They are divided into 35 linguistic groups and only a very small fraction are able to live according to their traditional lifestyle. As is the case with many first nations in other parts of the world, the majority of San people have fallen victim to the restrictions imposed upon them by modern culture. Government discrimination, poverty, social rejection and a loss of cultural identity have all left their mark on today's San. 


According to tripsavvy and oldest.org

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