Foraging cultures in Africa

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Anthropologists tend to group various ethnicities or communities according to the ways they choose to gain their subsistence. Some of these groups are pastoralists, horticulturists, or foragers. The communities that are grouped together according to such criteria tend to be very similar not only in their survival tactics, but in many other facets of life. Many hunter/gathering cultures, regardless of having glaring geographical differences, remain similar in many ways as well. In fact, such groups tend to live in similar ecosystems even when living across the globe. Obviously these areas that foragers have chosen to inhabit have dictated their lifestyle. The !Kung of South Africa and the Aborigines of Australia are two foraging groups that display more similarities than differences in their ways of subsistence and daily life.

Numerous similarities exist between the !Kung and the Aborigines. Both groups rely on the bounty of nature, rather than the domestication of animals or plants. Both groups are semi-nomadic, staying in one place for a season and moving as resources fluctuate. The group sizes of these two cultures usually span from 10 to 50 people depending on food/water levels. Both groups have low childbirth rates, practicing birth control or possibly infanticide in order to maintain this. They survive mostly on roots, nuts, green plants, small game, insects and occasionally large game. Both groups only have possessions that they can carry; they rarely keep an excess of food (sometimes they do for short periods of time) or transport non-functional art. They often wear art on their bodies in the form of clothing, jewelry, and painting. There is a loose division of labor among both groups, with both men and women gathering and usually only men hunting. These groups are considered to be highly affluent in that they have time for leisure. Therefore, their religions are well developed, colorful, and highly animistic. In addition these groups are highly organized

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