Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine


World Bank Meets with San Representatives

On February 12-13, 2002, representatives of the various San organizations from across southern Africa met with representatives of the World Bank in Windhoek, Namibia to discuss issues surrounding the World Bank's indigenous peoples policy (see also CSQ 25:4).


At the Regional Conference on Development Programmes for Africa’s San Populations held in Windhoek, Namibia, in 1992, the San representatives resolved that "San peoples should be assisted to form committees to represent themselves at local, regional and international levels." (Government of the Republic of Namibia, 1992) This need was reiterated during a follow-up conference held in Gaborone, B

Will Tourism Destroy San Cutures?

The San were colonized both by the Bantu tribes who moved south from eastern Africa and by the Europeans who forced their way northward from the Cape. These land-hungry pastoralist groups dispossessed the San of their land base and natural resources.

Voices of the Dispossessed

The government’s intention to relocate the San out of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) was announced in 1995.

Tradition & Modernity in Contemporary San Art

San art at D’Kar and Schmidtsdrift is produced in each village by about a dozen artists, men and women, under the auspices of the Kuru Development Trust and the !Xu and Khwe Trust, respectively.

The ‡Khomani San Land Claim

In March 1999, the world media carried a picture of South African President Thabo Mbeki embracing Dawid Kruiper, leader of the ‡Khomani San.

The Osire/M'Kata Refugee Crisis

Since Namibia’s independence in 1990, the long-running civil war in neighbouring Angola has produced a steady southward flow of refugees. Most of them have been settled at Osire, Namibia’s largest refugee camp, located on a former White-owned farm in the central part of the country.

The Kuru Family of Organizations

Starting in 1986, Kuru developed a strategy of empowering the San through a holistic approach to development. The Trust’s initial input was directed at income generation and training programs to support groups coping with the difficulties facing hunter-gatherer societies entering a capitalist environment.

The Kalahari Peoples Fund

Since its inception in 1973, KPF has responded to several requests for help made by San, Nama, and other rural southern African communities by raising funds and providing technical and advisory assistance. San and other Kalahari peoples are having to cope with rapidly changing conditions as populations have grown and development programs have expanded.

The Human Impact

Despite an international campaign protesting the removals, the Government of Botswana has since 1997 moved more than 1,000 of 1,700 ethnic |Gui, ||Gana, and Kgalagadi residents out of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). As part of the government’s Remote Area Development Programme (RADP), two settlements were established.

The "Success" of San Music

There exist as many different musical legacies as there are different populations of San people; nevertheless, they share many traits. Their music is characterized by complex contrapuntic polyphonies based on the superposition of different voices, each with divergent melody and rhythm.

The !Xu San: Poverty & Tension

San were the earliest occupants of present north-central Namibia. The Ovambo gradually settled and established kingdoms there, though the buffer zone between the San and Ovambo was preserved for a long time. (Williams, 1994) Studies show that the San played an important role in Ovambo society—the men as trading partners, the women as wives.

San/Basarwa Studies at the University of Botswana

The University of Tromsø and the University of Botswana Collaborative Program for San (Basarwa) Research and Capacity Building (UT-UB) combines ongoing research (on the cultural, historical, linguistic, economic and legal situation of the San) with San capacity-building.

Resource Rights and Conservation: The Ts'exa

"Look at the land--it is sick and dying now that we are not allowed in it anymore," commented Kebuelemang, the 70-year-old headman of Mababe village, as he pointed westward. Within a kilometer of their village lay the vast Chobe National Park, established by the colonial government in 1960.

Removals, Politics, and Human Rights

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) had its beginnings in 1961 when George Silberbauer, the Bushman Survey officer, convinced the British colonial government of Bechuanaland to set aside some 52,347 square kilometers as a park in which San people and wildlife could coexist.

Reclaiming Lanuguage and Identity

|Una: I think those are sheep (|uru) over there.Kheis: What? You are not only old, you are blind! Aenki: We all see stones (||uru) and you see sheep (|uru). Andries: Where are there sheep, |Una? You are blind. There are only rocks (!ao). Farmers don’t raise rocks (!ao).

Progress or Poverty? The Dobe Ju|'hoansi

In 1963 perhaps three-quarters of the 466 Dobe Ju|’hoansi were living in camps based primarily on hunting and gathering while the rest were attached to Black-owned cattle posts. Road access was difficult and only one truck per month visited the area. After Botswana’s independence in September 1966, the pace of change accelerated and has continued to race up to the present.

Land Crisis: A San Perspective

Only a small proportion of Namibia’s 38,000 San retain management rights to their ancestral lands. The vast majority, though still residing on the land of their ancestors, have been dispossessed of their natural resources and now live on land managed by others.

Jai||om Trust in the Hai||om Trust

At the beginning of colonization (c. 1885), Hai||om people occupied large tracts of north-central Namibia, from Etosha Pan eastward to the copper mountains around the present-day mining town of Tsumeb. This central position had, and still has, important implications for the history of relations between Hai||om and their neighbors. Hai||om access to copper was valued by the Owambo.

Foragers to First Peoples: The Kalahari San Today

As the original inhabitants of southern Africa, the San lived for millennia as independent hunters and gatherers. The rich heritage of rock art there is attributed to ancestral San. The San represent for many an unspoiled “natural humanity” living in harmony with nature, and the works of Laurens Van Der Post and films like The Gods Must Be Crazy reinforce this romantic image.

Facing the Challenge of HIV/AIDS

The countries of southern Africa today have the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world. The United Nations figures for June 2000 show a seropositive rate among adults of 19.54 percent in Namibia, 19.94 percent in South Africa, and a staggering 35.8 percent in Botswana.

Controlling Their Destiny: Ju|'hoansi of Nyae Nyae

For over 20 years the Nyae Nyae people were supported in the artificial government settlement of Tsumkwe with weekly deliveries of food relief. Alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and anomie were all-too-familiar features of the overcrowded rural slums.

Caught in the Crossfire: The Caprivi Strip

The relatively peaceful Caprivi calm was shattered in August 1999 when dissident Caprivians attacked the Namibian town of Katima Mulimo, the capital of East Caprivi.

Boreholes and Land Rights

TOCADI Trust is based in Shakawe and has three other field offices in remote areas. Through the Board of Trustees, the Trust is owned by the San people. TOCADI believes in affirmative action toward marginalized communities; its mission statement reads, "We want to empower marginalized communities so that they are able to make their own sustainable plans and implement them."

Basarwa Resettlement

When I conducted my primary research at Kutse between 1986 and 1995, residents were, paradoxically, both sedentary and full-time hunter-gatherers; the proximity of the unfenced Khutse Game Reserve allowed them access to animals that strayed out of the protected area.

After Foraging: The Omaheke San

Far from their romantic image, most San people today live in circumstances similar to those of the Omaheke Ju/’hoansi, who have worked on White-owned farms since the 1930s. They remain one of Namibia’s most oppressed minorities.

A San Development Initiative

Planning for the rest camp began in 1995. I visited the Kuru Development Trust (KDT) in Botswana, where a large group of San discussed the establishment of the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA). After I had seen the KDT projects I thought that I should encourage my community to start a project.

A Road to Self-Sufficiency: Natural Resource Management

Southern African states have been at the forefront of efforts to promote an integrated approach to conservation and sustainable development through decentralization of the rights to manage wildlife and other natural resources. In Botswana, for example, individual communities have been able to form community trusts and engage in natural resource management and utilization.

!Khwa ttu: San Culture & Education Centre

The future San Culture and Education Centre (!Khwa ttu) is located on a former wheat farm some 40 miles north of Cape Town, in the vicinity of the Atlantic village Yzerfontein. The rugged beauty of the mostly undeveloped West Coast is well known to visitors who come to admire the flowers in September, when carpets of color cover the windblown hills and rim the dunes on isolated beaches.