The Life of the San People

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The life of the San People

Theresa Coleman
ANT101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Prof. Kathryn Grant
April 8, 2013

The culture of the San people in Africa is very interesting to say the least. The San people are a foraging band, which mean that they love to hunt and gather the things that they need. According to Nowak (2010), “foraging is the oldest form of lifestyle dating back to the Paleolithic period, at least a million years ago”. The San people were also known to be called Bushmen. The San people were an independent nation of people. They depended on themselves to get what they wanted and needed to survive. The San people were always moving where there was a lot of water and food. Researchers were stating that foragers struggled to survive. Always on the edge of starvation, and they had to work hard to feed their family.

The San on the other hand is a hard working band of people who took care of their own families. They may live in one of the most marginal environments in the world it does not stop them from taking care of their families. The women collect enough food in one day to feed their family for a week, whereas the men may hunt for meat for a couple of days in that same week. With the rest of the week the San people play and visit with family and friends. To many people that doesn’t sound like a bad way of life. The San people may not have many material items but what they do have is true family wealth. If one part of the family is having problems then the other family members come to bat and help out.

The San practice generalized reciprocity. It just means that if one part of the family needs something then the other family members pitch in without looking for something in return. There aren’t too many tribes out there that are practicing this form of reciprocity. The San people don’t tend to say which one brought in the most or biggest catch to brag because whatever they have it is shared down the...
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