Ancient Influence on Botswana

It is a well-known fact that history has molded us into what we are today. We often neglect the past, and do not appreciate the influence it has in our modern world. Sometimes, we view ancient history as fables and fail to realize the greatness of our ancestors. Although I am African, I have very little knowledge of my ancient history as many of us do. It is fascinating to learn of the great kingdoms that ruled ancient Africa, and their continued influence on many countries Such as Botswana. The infamous Bantu people were a very prominent tribe in precolonial Africa and had a great influence on central to southern Africa especially Botswana as their expansion thought sub-Saharan Africa grew. However, Botswana was not only settled by the Bantu people but also by the San and Khoi people.

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The Bantu, San and Khoi group all initially migrated from northern Africa to the south looking for uninhibited land. The website KnowBotswana states that, the Bantu were the “first settlers in the Cape area in South Africa in 300A.D.” The Bantu groups were later followed by the San people into the Cape area but were driven out and were the first to settle in Botswana. Eventually, the Khoi and Bantu people followed the San’s into Botswana. As previously stated, ancient history has a huge influence in present civilization or society. Today San people are predominantly found in Botswana after  continuously being pushed out by other tribes from the Cape area.

To understand the influence that these tribes have had on Botswana today, it is important to truly know who they were and what they did. The San groups were also known as the Bushmen or the Khoisan, they were hunter gathers.  The Khoi who are also known as Hottentots or KhoiKhoi were herders. Why is this important? Aside from the fact that these groups are still relevant today their evolved trades play a role in Botswana’s economy. Aside from their mass production or mining of diamonds Botswana is also a seller of beef to European countries. This stems from their roots of herders which is still very prevalent today in Botswana.

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However, the Bushmen (San and Khoi people) were sadly overthrown by a more superior group called the Tswana speakers. The Tswana speakers moved north of the Cape area in the 14th century into Botswana. They were skilled in agriculture, iron working practices, and had various dialects. This intimidated the San and Khoi people who at this time felt inferior to the Tswana people. The superiority of the Tswana people eventually caused the Bushmen to retreat into the Kalahari which is basically desert land.

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There is so much more ancient history about African nations such as Botswana that is accessible to us on websites such as thuto.org, knowbotswana.com, and so on. The most fascinating thing that I learned as I researched the history of Botswana is the fact that it can be traced by inscriptions and paintings of the ancient people. The migration of the San people into Botswana was traced by similar inscription and paintings by the San people in northern Africa found in caves and beautiful stone structures in southern Africa. Sometimes we look at how advanced we have become and belittle the intelligence and greatness of those who came before us but without them where would we be.

3 responses to “Ancient Influence on Botswana

  1. Priscilla E Sintim

    Thanks for the feedback Olubunmi! History truly reflects and impacts our present and past.

  2. Aisha Mohamed Nasir Mohamed Alzaabi

    It honestly amazes me how our past or history influences our present and future inscriptions and paintings of the ancient people in which we can trace the migration of the San people.

  3. Olubunmi Afolake Akintola

    Lovely article Priscilla ! I found it so fascinating that activities that they carried out way back like cattle rearing could still have a significant impact on their economy today and I totally agree that we belittle the intelligence and greatness of our ancestors; Despite the early times they still found a way to make inscriptions and paintings that have today revealed who they were and how they lived.

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