The eland is their most spiritual animal and appears in four rituals: boys' first kill, girls' puberty, marriage and trance dance.

A ritual is held where the boy is told how to track an eland and how the eland will fall once shot with an arrow.
He becomes an adult when he kills his first large antelope, preferably an eland. The eland is skinned and the fat from the elands' throat and collar bone is made into a broth. This broth has great potency.

In the girls' puberty rituals, a young girl is isolated in her hut at her first menstruation. The women of the tribe perform the Eland Bull Dance where they imitate the mating behaviour of the eland cows. A man will play the part of the eland bull, usually with horns on his head.
This ritual will keep the girl beautiful, free from hunger and thirst and peaceful.

As part of the marriage ritual, the man gives the fat from the elands' heart to the girls' parents. At a later stage the girl is anointed with eland fat.

In the trance dance, the eland is considered the most potent of all animals, and the shamans aspire to possess eland potency.

San Rituals:

The Eland is their most spiritual animal and appears in 4 rituals:

∑† Boys' first kill

∑† Girls' puberty

∑† Marriage

∑† Trance dance

 

A ritual is held where the boy is told how to track an Eland and how the Eland will fall once shot with an arrow. The boy will become an adult when he kills his first large antelope, preferably an Eland. Once caught, the Eland is skinned and the fat from the animalís throat and collarbone is made into a broth.

In the girls' puberty rituals, a young girl is isolated in her hut at her first menstruation. The women of the tribe perform the Eland Bull Dance where they imitate the
mating behaviour of the Eland cows.

 

A man will play the part of the Eland bull, usually with horns on his head.  This ritual will keep the girl beautiful, free from hunger and thirst and peaceful. As part of the marriage ritual, the man gives the fat from the Elands' heart to the girls' parents. At a later stage, the girl is anointed with Eland fat.

In the trance dance, the Eland is considered the most potent of all animals, and the shamans aspire to possess Eland potency. The San believed that the Eland was /Kaggen's favourite animal.

San people
have vast oral traditions, and many of their tales include stories about the gods that serve to educate listeners about what is considered moral San behaviour.

People without rulers!

The Bushmen have no formal authority figure or chief, but govern themselves by group consensus.
Disputes are resolved through lengthy discussions where all involved have a chance to make their thoughts heard until some agreement is reached.

Certain individuals may assume leadership in specific spheres in which they excel, such as hunting or ritual curing, but they cannot achieve positions of general influence of power.

White colonists found this very confusing when they tried to establish treaties with the Bushmen

 

 

Smoking and drinking

The Bushmen are fond of beer and smoking.

As they grow no crops themselves, they sometimes exchanged meat for the corn to brew the beer themselves. The beer is brewed in the following way: The corn is wetted and allowed to sprout. It is then ground into a course meal and mixed with yeast and water, and allowed to ferment. This could take between one and four days, depending on the required strength.

Due to their changed life over the last 40 years, there has been an alarming increase in alcohol consumption. Groups of Bushmen commuted to Johannesburg to work in the mines. Here they were introduced to city life and money that they never needed before.
This is when they started to drink heavily which lead to fighting and a breakdown of daily tasks. With the hot sun overhead and their low tolerance of alcohol, many of them are drunk during the afternoon.

The Bushmen also enjoy taking snuff and smoking. Makaranga tobacco is the favourite of the Kalahari Bushmen. This is a very strong tobacco that is mixed with honey from the wild bees. It is made into a paste and allowed to dry. This is also made into snuff.
Certain Bushmen are also fond of dagga or hemp.

 

Khoisan is the name by which the lighter skinned indigenous peoples of southern Africa,the Khoi (Hottentots) and the San (Bushmen) are known. These people dominated the sub-continent for millennia before the appearance of the Nguni and other black peoples.

This is evident from their marvelous animated paintings on rocks and caves walls as far afield as Namaqualand, the Drakensberg and southern Cape. The many clicking sounds used in their speech had influenced the language of some of the African-speaking nations well before the arrival of the white colonists in the 17th century`

In the past they were hunter-gatherers, living largely off game, honey and the roots and fruits of plants. They lived - and some still do today in total harmony with nature, posing no threat to wildlife and vegetation by over-hunting or gathering. The semi-nomadic existence of the San was (and is) governed by the seasons and the movement of game.

The San have short, slight bodies, small hands and feet and yellow-brown skin that wrinkle early. The women tend to store fat in their buttocks and have sharply hollowed backs. They look exactly like the characteristic profiles depicted in the San rock paintings. They store fat in their buttocks - a natural adaptation to their precarious existence in a harsh environment.

In time the whites encroached upon the San's traditional hunting grounds. Some Bushmen went to live with them and others moved on west and north in search of land where they could live freely. Today they are found only in the northwestern Cape, the Kalahari, Namibia and Botswana.

Most groups today are less nomadic than their forebears are. However, the desert San lives much as their ancestors did. They move in small clans, each with its clearly defined territory. The women gather wild melons such as tsamma - a source of food and water, roots and edible berries. The men hunt with wooden bow and arrow and use clubs and spears if necessary. The arrowheads are tipped with poison made from insect grubs. It acts slowly on the victim's nervous system.