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The genocide of the Khoi Sans

The Khoisan, Khoi and San peoples are amongst the oldest human group in Africa and the world. Thousands years ago they inhabited most of the South, East and Northeast of Africa. People with the same haplogroup as the San ( the khoi or the khoisan are the same) left Africa more than 40.000 years ago, becoming modern day Europeans and Asians. However they have been gradually displaced by other peoples in all Africa and today they can only be found in small areas in Africa, usually the most desolated and inhospitable ones.

The were the original South Africans and preservation of the wildlife, landscape and nature is something very important in their beliefs.They imbue the animals with life and spirit. In particular, they link the small animals that hide in the earth to their buried dead, and ascribe to them powers of divination and prophecy. However, when the Bantu people began to expand they pushed the San away. Most of the times the bantues won territory at the expense of the Khoisan, the relations between them were not good and they didn’t used to live in peace or mix between each other, with very few exceptions. In Natal, in the 19th century, a military genius, Shaka, had moulded the formerly insignificant (negro) Zulus into a powerful Zulu fighting force and developed an economy of war. This involved wiping out other tribes and taking their women. As they expanded, other negro tribes were put under pressure again, they moved down south taking again land from the Sans and raping their women. The continual war between bantu and khoi people took a great toll for the Khoi people because bantu peoples were by far superior in numbers and maybe in warfare too.

To make things worse when the dutch settlers came, they too were treated the Sans as subhumans and called them names like “bushmen” and “hottentots” and pushed them into the wastelands of Kalahari were some of them were killed. They suffered a genocide both at the hands of europeans and bantu peoples. Today if you tell Africans that they never had a written language then they will point you to the cave paintings of the San people and claim through association that they did have a written language. Most of the people believe that Southafrica was a peaceful country and that the europeans came later to enslave the black people, but they don’t know anything about the Khoisan people, about the bantu expansion. They think that khoisan people are just another Bantu tribe. But they were not, they were mistreated and continue to be treated as subclass citizens and they lack recognition for all their contributions in indigenous knowledge systems as well as their intellectual property.

Fun fact: Nelson Mandela was of partial Capoid/Khoisan racial origin. His tribe, the Xhosa, speak a Bantu language with some Khoi-San loan words and are said to have absorbed a substantial amount of Capoids, altering their gene pool to in effect by a Negroid-Khoisan hybrid population.

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