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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:On Becoming Herders: Khoikhoi and San Ethnicity in Southern Africa
Author:Smith, Andrew B.ISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00020189008707727
Abstract:In 1977, when he published his thesis, R. Elphick offered a new perspective on hunter/herder relationships in the Western Cape of South Africa. He suggested that these were different parts of an economic cycle in which on the upward phase the people with cattle would be named Khoikhoi, while on the downward phase the people without cattle would be called San. This has provoked a debate among researchers, only some of whom accept Elphick's blurring of the hunter/herder economic boundary. Historical documents, particularly those of the early 19th century, show that the term 'Bushman' was widely used for anyone seen in the 'bush', while 'Hottentots' had already formed a category of dependants who worked for Dutch people. Aim of this article is to examine other data (archaeological evidence from the Early Iron Age and Later Stone Age) to show the difficulty of accepting hunting and herding as just separate components of the same economy in Southern Africa. The conclusion is that different productive methods worked to keep herders and hunters apart. Even when there was a good relationship between them, the San were regarded as of a low class and would have been denied access to the pastoral means of production. Bibliogr.