The !Kung San of the Kalahari Desert Essay

The !Kung San of the Kalahari Desert Essay

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The !Kung San of the Kalahari Desert are one of the most highly researched groups by anthropologists. They refer to themselves as the Zhun/twasi, which means, “the real people”. The !Kung San people inhabit Southern Africa, and are commonly referred to as Bushmen. Being that the !Kung San are a nomadic people; their bands are usually only seen as being fairly low in population. These people, who also inhabit parts of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, Swaziland, and Mozambique, have a fascinating lifestyle due to the hostile environment that the Kalahari offers (Bushmen, 2011).
The !Kung people’s lifestyle brings one word in mind to me; flexible. They rely on hunting and gathering for their subsistence. As a people they are very appreciative of what the land has to offer, as they are completely dependent on it. They must remain flexible because the land may not always provide. The land they occupy is a very harsh environment. During the wet season it averages about five to forty inches of rain. Temperatures are also extreme. During winter months the temperature is often below zero, while summer months are over 100F. Because of their basic system of food acquirement, it helps mold the other aspects of the !Kung San life (Lee, 1979).
The subsistence retrieval methods are very different between the men and the women. Women do the gathering, and men do the hunting. The men are physically more adapted to be able to protect themselves while away from camp then women. It is also the women’s role to take care of the children, which requires her to be close to or at camp. Men set off to go hunting often for days at a time. Game is often not plentiful, so traveling long distances to make a kill is often necessary. W...

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...d. At one point in time the San people were able to hunt and prosper from the mass amounts of land available because there wasn’t a want from anyone else to inhabit them. However, now their land is being taken by intensive-agriculturalists, and without that land they cannot live as they once did. Many bands are now becoming tainted by the ways of Westerners and no longer live the peaceful and simplistic lifestyle the long to.

Works Cited

Bushmen. (2011). Retrieved November 6, 2011, from
Lee, Richard B. (1979) The !Kung San : men, women, and work in a foraging society. Cambridge,
New York : Cambridge University Press, 1979
Mongongo. (2011). Retrieved November 6, 2011 from
Shostak, M. (1981). Nisa: The life and words of a !Kung woman. New York: Random House.

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