Black Excellence

28 DOBE- Day 21: The Originators, The San People

The San People, south africa, south africa tourism, visit africa, black history, black history month, black excellence
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

28 Days of Black Excellence

An ongoing series for the entire 28 days of Black History Month that showcases the inventions, the people, and culture that makes people of the African diaspora so excellent.

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”green” border_width=”3″][vc_column_text]Ever wondered where we come from? Would you believe the DNA of our current civilizations, the genesis of every woman, man, and boy comes from a group of individuals with numbers ranging from between 200-500? Meet the San people of Southern African—or, our creators.

Also known as the bush people or bushmen, the San have been in Namibia for between 30,000 to 70,000 years. Their existence, and subsequently their survival, would be of utmost importance to preservation of humanity’s history.

According to researchers, the San are the descendants of the original Homosapiens groupings, who occupied Southern Africa, for at least 150, 000 years. The oldest gene patterns found in humans appear approximately 80,000 years ago, and they belong to the Khoe-San.

The original gene types were formed primarily from this group—with some influence from Tanzania’s Hadzabe hunter-gatherers, and the genetic descendants from the Neanderthal and Denisovan genetic groupings.

Starting approximately 25,000 years ago, evidence speaks of cultural practices that were still being followed until recently by southern African hunter-gatherers – such as the making of ostrich eggshell beads, shell ornaments, the bow and arrow and rock art.

Homo sapiens left Africa between 80,000 and 60,000 years ago, not much after development of our language-making skills. This makes logical sense, as before people could speak, they probably couldn’t form the complex thought processes necessary to make a plan to leave.

The San People, south africa, south africa tourism, visit africa, black history, black history month, black excellence
The San ladies from Namibia

Those early humans landed in Eurasia about 70,000—the lapse in time may be due to mass extinction of other groups, and we have pretty good evidence of the patterns they traveled from there.

RELATED: 28 DOBE- Day 12: The Invention of Tools

70,000 year-old Neanderthal remains have been found in the same region. The modern man, it would appear, arrived first, only to move on, die off because of disease or natural catastrophe or—possibly—get wiped out. If they shared territory with Neanderthals, the more “robust” species may have outcompeted them here. “You may be anatomically modern and display modern behaviors,” said paleoanthropologist Nicholas J. Conard of Germany’s University of Tübingen, “but apparently it wasn’t enough. At that point the two species are on pretty equal footing.” It was also at this point in history, scientists concluded, that the Africans ceded Asia to the Neanderthals.

As their numbers grew, and the climate got better, these early humans traveled to Southeastern Asia and Australia approximately 50,000 years ago.

Just a tinge afterward, a smidgen under 50,000 years ago, mankind hoofed it to the Middle East, Southern Central Asia, and then on up to Asia, Europe, and beyond.

20,000 years ago, Asian hunters, finding ice sheets that had sucked up much of the Earth’s moisture, crossing this bridge comfortably during that time to make safe passage from the Old to the New World.

15,000 years ago, as the ice began to melt we made it into South America.

Funny to think where we started and the epic journey we carved, huh? From humble beginnings, great things exploded into existence. Thankfully, the black excellence of the originators, the San people, will never be forgotten. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Alex Miller

Alex Miller is a freelance writer living in Harlem. His work has appeared in Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other places.