Friday, 23 July 2010

San people

As some of you may recall, I recently took an evening class in Human Ecology and Environmental History. One of the things that most struck me about this was the lifestyle of the San (Bushmen) people in southern Africa. Our tutor described the San as being the original leisure society.

Traditionally the San people lived very much in tune with their environment and had a very relaxed and healthy work - life balance. The men spent what time they needed to hunt for animals and would rest between hunting trips, the women spent what time they needed to forage for herbs. The rest of their time was spent socially.

I'm not qualified to give a full assessment of the San lifestyle and we were only given an introduction in our course, but I do think that here could be a model of a much more environmentally aware lifestyle that has been marginalised. You can read more about the San and why their traditional lifestyles have more or less disappeared by following the links below:

Bushmen on Survival International Site
San on Working Group for Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa
San Bushmen on Tribes Travel
Bushmen on Wikipedia

Rethabile has written poetry about the San on his blog Poefrika. You can read some of them by following the links below:

The San of the Sand
The San's Promise


Rethabile said...

Kea leboha, Juliet.

Naquillity said...

so much everyone could learn from the San and others like them if only they were willing. hope all is well.

Alison Wiley said...

The San lifestyle intrigues me, like other indigenous cultures. The developed world calls them undeveloped, but from a more objective perspective, they should maybe be called 'appropriately developed', because they're using their own resource base instead of appropriating the resource bases of others, and using fossil fuels that cause global warming. Thanks for posting on this, Juliet.

Titus said...

Also true of hominids and early homo sapiens. The Neolithic Agrarian revolution, which eventually led to the development of the city, may have a lot to answer for!

bunnits said...

I'm with you, Titus. I believe the Neolithic Agrarian Revolution was the root of many evils. I really admire the San and their culture. I just hope it can be preserved and doesn't get stamped out by progress. We have much to learn from them.

Rethabile said...

It's getting stamped out. They're being swallowed up or neglected, their lands taken because of diamond digging. It's a shame. And the San will end up in reserves with casinos and alcohol. We've seen it happen elsewhere.

Ryan said...

People in this country and the west in general could learn a great deal from the San but are too set in their ways or ignorant of learning about other cultures.

EG CameraGirl said...

I will follow your links to find out more but I do believe the more "sophisticated" humans become the less happy we are.

Less sophisticated societies seem so much wiser than we are.

Rambling Woods said...

I like to come and catch up on your blog...not a poet..and I don't think I could blog on organics as I don't know much....hmm..thinking... Michelle

bunnits said...

Yes, Rethabile, I was afraid that their culture was going the way of so many others, all in the name of progress--and greed.

It is a shame. We have so much to learn from these "undeveloped" peoples. We cannot seem to see that when a group does not live by reliance on high technology, commercialism, and personal property that they are not inferior. Our closed eyes and minds make us very poor students of the lessons humankind has to teach us.

Gillena Cox said...

thanks for sharing it will be my first research on the Sans

much love