Bushmen(redirected from Basarwa)
, 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.
REFERENCESEllenberger, V. Tragicheskii konets bushmenov. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from French.)
Tonque, H. Bushmen Paintings. Oxford, 1909.