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see SanSan
, people of SW Africa (mainly Botswana, Namibia, Angola, and South Africa), consisting of several groups and numbering about 100,000 in all. They are generally short in stature; their skin is yellowish brown in color; and they have broad noses, flat ears, bulging foreheads,
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the oldest indigenous population of southern and eastern Africa. The Bushmen live in the Namib and Kalahari deserts, in the vicinity of the Etosha depresion in Namibia, and regions adjacent to it in Botswana, Angola, and the Republic of South Africa; there is a small number in Tanzania. Total population is approximately 50, 000 (1967 estimate). They speak Bushman and Bantu languages. At one time the Bushmen were settled throughout southern Africa, but they were driven back by Bantu peoples migrating from the north and European colonizers (from the south); the latter systematically exterminated the Bushmen. They lead the life of nomadic hunters and gatherers of wild fruits.

The Bushmen are widely known as skillful masters of expressive paintings on rocks. These paintings, executed with mineral and earth pigments, including lime and soot, which aie diluted in water and animal fat, are preserved on the territory of the Republic of South Africa, Lesotho, Rhodesia, and Namibia. The dating of the oldest of these paintings is associated with various theories on the origin of Bushman art and ranges from thousands to several hundreds of years B.C. Motifs in the paintings include realistically depicted animals, dynamic hunting and battle scenes filled with expression, human figures in very elongated proportions, and fabulous creatures. The oldest layers were done with one pigment (red or brown), whereas recent layers (late 19th century) are multicolored with soft transitional tones.


Ellenberger, V. Tragicheskii konets bushmenov. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from French.)
Tonque, H. Bushmen Paintings. Oxford, 1909.
References in periodicals archive ?
Other places where San people can be found include countries like Mozambique, Swaziland and Botswana, where they are variously known as the Sho, Basarwa, Kung, Khwe or Bushmen.
Coping with Risk: Reciprocity among the Basarwa of Northern Botswana.
Ethnic groups: Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, and others, including Kgalagadi and white 7%.
I am happy with the judgment but not completely happy," Basarwa activist Amohelang Segotsane says.
Ethnic groups: Tswana 79%; Kalanga 11%; Kgalagadi, Herero, Bayeyi, Hambukush, Basarwa ("San"), Khoi, whites 10%.
In addition to Setapa, the sing-along performance by the seven-member troupe also featured tribal dances from Kalanga and Basarwa or the Bushmen communities of Botswana.
In a letter Eilersen cites, Head describes the "[assault]" on Howard, "on the grounds of his looking like a Masarwa or Bushman", as the incident consolidating for her what she has learnt about "the oppression of the Masarwa or Bushmen people" in Botswana from an "English Agricultural officer named George Macpherson" and two local Basarwa "named Leshelwa and Tshebe"--to all four of whom she was to dedicate Maru, which she was now writing (Eilersen 1995:112-113).
The Basarwa people who were featured in the 1980s' film, The Gods Must Be Crazy, are often called Bushmen, a derogatory term suffused with racist undertones, portraying the history of their culture, peoples and traditions as primitive and valueless in the modern "civilised", industrialised and high-tech world.
A court in December gave the Bushmen, who prefer to be called Basarwa, the right to resume their ancient hunter-gatherer ways in the vast game reserve the government argued was threatened by their presence.
Words incorporating the form kwala or -kuala refer not only to roan, as in the Tswana term kwalata (Walker 1981), but also to writing, as in a Basarwa 'Bushman' term kwala (Bleek 1956), and to engraving in a (probably Tswana) word lokuala (cf.