The human migration story is a fascinating story. Our scientists tell us that human life began on the Eastern side of Africa. We are all Africans having spent the majority of our existence roaming her lands. Apparently it was only about 60,000 to 70,000 years ago that our Homo Sapien migration began and successfully branched out far and wide.
Archaeologists tell us that as of today’s findings there were other attempts of Homo species that migrated out of Africa as far back as 1.8 – 1.9 million years ago; in particular the now extinct Homo-Heidelbergensis and Homo-Erectus. It is today’s humanity that is traced back to the Home Sapiens through shared DNA markings.
“How, when, and why both fellow Homo species and our own Homo sapiens started moving all over the place is hotly debated. The story of early human migration covers such an immense time span and area that there cannot be but one explanation for all of these groups of adventurous hunter-gatherers going wandering around”. (1)
So for the purpose of my story, I will stick with what is known so far about Homo Sapiens and the belief we are descendants of them. How do we know this? It is from mapping our genetic footprints that this lineage can be traced. Apparently these DNA markers are found in modern peoples today and can be traced to the farthest reaches of our planet. Through this shared DNA we truly are all brothers and sisters of Mother Earth.
“The billions of human beings living today all belong to one species: Homo sapiens.
As in all species, there is variation among individual human beings, from size and shape to skin tone and eye color. But we are much more alike than we are different. We are, in fact, remarkably similar. The DNA of all human beings living today is 99.9% alike.
We all have roots extending back 200,000 years to the emergence of the first modern humans in Africa, and back more than 6 million years to the evolution of the earliest human species in Africa. This amazing story of adaptation and survival is written in the language of our genes, in every cell of our bodies—as well as in the fossiland behavioral evidence”. (2)
Fossils of the first “modern” Homo sapiens have been found in the Omo Valley in a place called Omo Kibish, an area now known as Ethiopia. These fossils show that Homo Sapiens were living in this part of the world at least 200,000 years ago.
As a side note, Omo Kibish is in the general area of where the Mursi, Hamar and Karo tribes live today. I’ve talked about these tribes in a previous blog to help us get a picture of where we possibly came from; check the blog out, “Human history as we see it today”. It seems their traditional ways may not have changed too much; they are still hunter gatherers, and still practise ancient traditional ways.
Research tells us that the first “successful” migration of Home Sapiens off the African continent took place from the Horn of Africa, known today as Somalia, across to Yemen and then beyond. Migration to other parts of Africa possibly began way before this time.
“Geneticists say that the oldest gene pattern amongst modern humans is that of the Khoe-San. It dates back to about 80 000 years ago. All other peoples on the planet, Europeans, Black Africans, Asians, North and South Americans, Australians are all descendants from this original gene type”. (3)
It’s from this mapping of DNA that the San, also known as the Bushmen who live in the southern parts of Africa are believed to be direct descendants from this migration. Many of their traditional practises have been carried through to present day allowing us a glimpse into our own historical past.
“Archaeologists tend to agree that the San are the descendants of the original Homo sapiens (modern day man) who occupied South Africa for at least 150 000 years”.
“The San are the best model we have for the hunter-gatherer lifestyle that saw so many generations through the Stone Age, and it is tempting to say that the history of the later Stone Age is the history of the San.”
The earliest hunter-gatherers in southern Africa were the San people. The San were also known as ‘Bushmen’, a term used by the European Colonists that is now considered derogatory. The San populated South Africa long before the arrival of the Bantu-speaking nations, and thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. (4)
From what we are told, they are from one of the oldest cultures still found on Mother Earth, approximately 100,000 + years old. They are our ancestors; how cool is that.
The San are a tribe that have fascinated me ever since reading Laurens Van Der Post book “The Lost World of the Kalahari”. Their story is very disturbing and tragic and follows the same struggle as many, many indigenous peoples. Their civilisation is an advanced lifestyle of living within nature with deep respect and sense of responsibility to all life, along with a much greater awareness and connection of the spiritual realm. I think it is safe to say that in general humanity today has lost touch with that awareness and connection. There is much we can learn from the San, and the many, many other indigenous peoples choosing to live within their own ancient cultural beliefs.
The Sans natural disposition is happiness, loving and respect. Their culture is full of laughter, singing and dancing; these qualities are built into all parts of their daily life. They work together with other life forms such as the Honey Diviner bird to gather their precious honey. They respect all killings for food, and give thanks for that gift. They use all parts of their kill, nothing is wasted. They take only what they need from the land and waste naught. They have remarkable survival abilities to survive in such harsh conditions.
They have, and are still persecuted for their cultural ways of life with a belief through our ignorance that they are uneducated and not civilized. This I find not only very sad, but I am amazed at how arrogant and ignorant modern humanity is. I say this not in a derogatory manner, I say it as fact. There is a belief that modern man is more intelligent and wiser than indigenous peoples. It is this mentality that has been at the core of all the persecutions and destruction, and bad decisions towards indigenous cultures on every continent on Mother Earth; it still continues to this day. Here we have a culture that can teach us so much; how to be happy, how to be sustainable, how to appreciate our land, yet we don’t see any of that. Somehow we have blinders on that keep us on a track to a life that is not sustainable. That is prone to greed, bribery and corruption, and which is causing great damage to Mother Earth, and humanity.
It’s interesting to realise that we all started at this place of cave dwellers, hunter gathers, and very much connected to Mother Earth. Now we are space seekers, consumer machines and disconnected to our land. It’s time to take off our shoes and walk barefoot again, allow ourselves to become grounded once again to Mother Earth; to reach out to our brother and sisters of the world; to work together to find ways forward that are in sync with our lands.
The San story is too long to write on this page. I will attempt to introduce you to one of our oldest ancestors in my next blog.
Ciao until then.