San (Bushman) descendants in the Drakensberg

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San (Bushman) descendants in the Drakensberg

Unread post by micromammal »

To many of us the modern and historical San are associated with the north west of South Africa and neighbouring countries. Few of us are aware that many San descendants can still be find in other parts of South Africa. The sory of the Drakensberg's San descendants is one rich in culture and drama!

Researchers have recently "discovered"" a community of Mountain San descendants in what is the Buffer Zone area next to the southern section of the Ukhahlamba Drakens Berg Park World Heritage Site (UDPWHS). Academics have till now assumed that the Mountain San has been extinct of over a 100 years and that the rock art (dating to 4 000 years ago) and associated archaeological deposits were the only records left by them. This community still maintain an Indigenous Knowlegde System (IKS) and practice rites similar to the San of the past. They have, through assimilation (they are almost unrecognisable from the local population) and acculturation (Most of their culture is Zulu), lost almost all other links to the past.

The rock art of the UDPWHS has international significance and contributed greatly to the Parks World Heritage Status. The UNESCO dossier still lists the Mountain San as extinct, nor were they consultant during the proclamation process or any other initial forums.

There is now a move from the descendants to regain some power and "ownership"of the cultural resources within the UDPWHS. Intersting times for KZN Wildlife and something that might have implications for other protected areas in South Africa.

Will keep you all updated!
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Re: San (Bushman) descendants in the Drakensberg

Unread post by Dandelion »

This is a really exciting story! I have been fascinated by the San peolple for many years and although I knew they were once widespread throughout the country I thought the only remnants were now in the northwestern parts.

I'm not clear from your description whether the people look like San or not.

We're heading to Kgalagdi TP next week so will be renewing contact with the other San who are well represented in the park.

Will follow your thread with great interest. Keep it going :gflower:
We are so lucky