Out of Africa to the World
The emergence of our species of Homo Sapiens, the only surviving Homo Sapiens species today, have a single East African root, even though they are likely to have a small element of breeding with Archaic Humans who are today extinct. What ever one’s ethnicity, whether from San to European, our roots go back to a common ancestor. All of the ethnic groups that exist today are relatively recent manifestations based on ancient first people. In Southern Africa, the San peoples as we know them today and who lived from Angola, Congo and East Africa all the way down to the Western Cape, emerged out of an evolving development process from 40 000 years ago to around 12 000 years ago. The societies of San that we know today by a range of names and locations are the survivours of ethnic groups who probably first emerged as survivours from earlier Homo Sapiens around 5 000 years ago. Between 2000 and 3000 years ago slow migrations of other Africans engaged with those San in Angola, Zambia, Southern Tanzania and Sofala, and through to Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana and new Southern African peoples evolved from this interaction. The new groups carried strong characteristics in their diaspora from the other parts of Africa wherever they had ancestors.
By the time the Europeans arrived not only were there diverse descendant San ethnic societies living across South Africa but so were there diverse descendent societies of Khoe migrants, Kalanga migrants and other African peoples who moved freely from Limpopo to the southernmost reaches of the Cape across the length and breadth of South Africa.
The Europeans concocted a false history of South Africa being a land free of any people, other than a few San and Khoe who were considered alternatively as either a noble savage primitive pre-human (part human and part beast) or a Hamite migrant people related to Europeans but locked in time. Using these theories the Europeans argued that South Africa was Terra Nullius, ‘nobody’s land’ or an ‘empty land’ there for the taking. They argued falsely that an alien black race of so-called ‘Bantu’ had invaded South Africa just as the European arrived. They went as far as calling themselves and the San and Khoe who they believe were an appendage of the Europeans, to be the “First People” or “First Nation” in South Africa and that all Africans who they saw as ‘black’ and ‘Bantu’ to be invader aliens. Regardless of facts that contradicted this erroneous belief, the Europeans propagate it through controls on education and literature. To this day the notions of “First People” and “first Nations” still holds currency. Over the last 2000 years every African society in South Africa can show through social history, archaeology and genetics that their forebears were in South Africa and that they have cousin connections across ethnicities.
For a better understanding of the racist theories and myths that ultimately underpinned the ideology of Apartheid, it is recommended that one reads the ideas of the originators of race theory and race classification in South Africa – Wilhelm Bleek; George M Theal; William Holden; Mary Barber; Thomas Bowker; Leonhard Schultz and Isaac Schapera. Their legacy permeates the academic disciplines of archaeology, ethnology, anthropology, genetics, paleontology, and social history. It also can be heard in everyday discourse where emphatic race concepts are projected as fact.