Sebastian Schultz » Information » The San Bushmen Culture

The San Bushmen Culture

The San Bushmen live in the Kalahari desert and on its borders.

San bushmen speak lots of sub-divisions of a group of languages known for the clicks that you can hear in their pronunciation, represented in writing symbols, for example ! or / . The main language groups of the San include : !kung, Khomani, Vasekela, Mbarakwena, /Auni, Auen, /Gwi, //Ganaa, Kua, /Tannekwe, /Geinin, /Xoma, //Obanen Ganin , /Xam-kalke and !Xo.

All the different San bushman Languages are part of the Khoisan language family.
Here is an example of the bushman language and its meaning:
!ke e: /xarra //ke and it means unity in diversity.
To prevent the Khoisan languages are becoming extinct the languages are being introduced to schools.

Traditionally the Bushmen do not wear a lot of clothing.
Normally the men wear a small piece of skin threaded on a sinew or cord, passed between the legs and tied in front around the loins. The women wear a small piece of animal skin in front, decorated with beads made of discs from ostrich egg-shells, and sometimes a larger one behind. They hardly ever wear covering over their shoulders except in cold or rainy weather.
Both men and women wear ornaments such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings and hair decorations. The ornaments are all made from natural materials.

The san bushmen take part in the Kuru san dance festival, an annual three daylong celebration of San bushmen culture. They come from the whole Kalahari to a small village called D’Kar. During the Kuru san dance festival they dance, sing, play, talk and create traditional music around a fire.
These are some of the dances they dance during the festival:
The “melon dance” with a small desert melon. The melon is important for the people and is sometimes the only source of water.
The dance with the tale of the wild beast. Animals are an important theme for the San.
The healing dance

© copyright Sebastian Schultz 2011

Futher Reading and Resources:
The Sans of Southern Africa

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