In Vastness of Africa’s Southern Deserts, an Ancient People Continue Their Way of Life
by Jose Pedraza, age 14
The Kalahari is a huge desert located in southern Africa. Because of the dry climate nothing really grows. The things that do grow are small plants such as are thorn bushes, and a few small trees.
The San people of southern Africa have found a way to make the desert their home. There are about 50,000 of them living in the Kalahari and Namib deserts. Some of them still live their ancestors’ lifestyle of hunting and gathering. They split into groups of 12 to 50 people searching for food. In the dry seasons, when food and water are scarce, they split into groups with even fewer people.
San people collect rainwater underground by digging a one-yard deep hole in the soil. They then put grass in the hole so that when the water enters, it won’t drain into the dirt. Once the water is in the hole, they collect it by sucking it out through a hollow reed and putting it into ostrich eggs and gourds for transport and storage.
Women are the gatherers within the San tribe. They collect wild plants, roots, and nuts. They also hunt snakes, hares, and frogs. Men are the hunters of the bigger animals such as wildebeests and warthogs. They use bows with poisoned arrows to kill their prey.
Living in the desert poses a variety of problems. The desert heat and scarcity of water and food makes it a hard place to live. The San people have to go through a lot to get what they need to survive. But skills their ancestors help them continue a way of life. It is a way of life that has existed in the vast and beautiful Kalahari desert for thousands of years.
[Source: Living In The Kalahari]