The San, the first people in South Africa
The earliest hunter-gatherers in southern Africa were the San people. The San were also known as ‘Bushmen’, a term used by the European Colonists that is now considered derogatory. The San populated South Africa long before the arrival of the Bantu-speaking nations, and thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.
Source: South African History Online
It is always exciting to use a travel opportunity to learn about cultures and tribes in your country and this past weekend that is what I did. My friend and travel buddy Bee from Bee Du Jour invited me on a day tour at the !kwa ttu education center in the west coast. !kwa ttu famously written as Khwa ttu, is an organisation that offers education and training for San people to deal with tourism and hot to showcase San culture to the world.
At first I was a little reluctant to go because I thought the heat was going to make it very difficult to do anything and plus I have nothing that interests me there, little did I know that it was going to be so worth it! Bee picked me up at my place and we drove about an hour out of Cape Town to what seemed like “the middle of nowhere”. When we arrived, there’s a certain cool breeze that is blown from the beach onto the hot plain land and there it was, !kwa ttu.
What you will need:
- You are only required to pay a fee of R50 and little bit extra which can be found on their site for all the extra special tours.
- A hat if it is hot like the day we went, the sun was at 30d/c, plus some sunscreen. They offer you water.
- A camera because you will learn a lot and you definitely want to capture the moment to probably show your kids one day about the cultures of South Africa.
- Comfortable shoes and clothing. In this case, shorts and a t-shit plus sunglasses will do. Luckily, ThisGuysZA gifted me with a pair.
- An open mind and excitement to learn.
What I learned:
- There is a difference between the San and the Khoi. The San are hunter-gatherers while the Khoi are more like farmers.
- When a girl comes out of age (start her period), she is taken to a hut to stay with the elder women and for seven days, they will be teaching her how to be a woman. She then returns to her people and she will find a hut already made for her by her father.
- Courting is something interesting: a boy will have a “love bow” which when he finds a girl he likes, he will follow her and her friends to a river or field and he will hide and try to shoot the bow on the bum of a girl he likes. She will then pick up the bow and ask him if it is his. He will then try to apologise and if she gives back the bow, she is not interested, but if she keeps it close to her heart then it is all systems go and their parents will start planning for their wedding.
- A San village has huts facing the middle where there must be a bonfire all day everyday all year round. The reason for this is to keep them warm during the winter and to ward wild animals off especially lions because they hate the smell of fire. The huts are placed that way so they can be able to spot danger from all corners, it is a community effort.
We ended the day with a drive to Yzerfontein beach. Please watch video below and enjoy: