June 26, 2013

Meeting the Bushmen of the Kalahari

The San Bushmen are the indigenous people of southern Africa. Recent genetic studies tell us that the Bushmen are the oldest culture on earth! Dr. Ben Smith, a genetic scientist, believes the Bushmen may have been around for as long as 60,000 years.


Traditionally the Bushmen are hunter-gathers. That means they live entirely off the land, hunting animals, gathering berries and roots, and building temporary shelters from branches and sticks. But their customs are changing. Land ownership has increased significantly in southern Africa. Often times when land is purchased the Bushmen are forced out. Since there is far less land available to them, many Bushmen have no choice but to abandon their traditional ways and adapt to a more modern lifestyle if they hope to provide for their family. This can be extremely difficult.


While traveling in Botswana, we had the pleasure of meeting the Bushmen of the Kalahari. We toured their village, sang and danced, and trekked into the desert to learn how they gather water and food. To observe the ways of this ancient culture was one of the great highlights of our travels.

VIDEO: Visiting the Bushmen of the Kalahari