San Bushman

San Medicine Woman

San Historical Background Info:

The San people, more commonly referred to as Bushmen, are believed to be the earliest inhabitants of Southern Africa. They have lived for 80,000 years as hunter-gathers in the Kalahari Desert, and are known for their expert survival skills in a harsh environment. Their unique clicking languages and their astonishing method of healing through trance dancing have made them a source of worldwide fascination to both curious Westerners and anthropologists.

Despite their amazing abilities, the Bushmen have long faced pressures from more dominant tribes and European settlers. These nonviolent people have been overpowered and enslaved for hundreds of years, and now cattle ranches, diamond mines, and tourism projects have confined the San to a small portion of the land they once freely roamed. This marginalized and impoverished community faces a great deal of discrimination, as they are often seen as primitive and uncivilized. These vanishing people have been forcibly evicted from their last remaining homeland, relocated into settlement camps and required to depend on governmental and outside aid.

In the face of these challenges, the Bushmen are standing up to reclaim their heritage, their land and their dignity. They have recognized an economic benefit to their distinctive knowledge and cultural traditions, and have developed several projects to preserve their culture while making their way in the modern world, from hunting and cultural safaris to sales of indigenous arts and crafts.