Day 12: Black History Month – Khoe San history does not start with apartheid

Khoe San history is ancient and stretches many centuries before lost European explorers stumbled on Our shores in the 1600’s.

However, “colonial” thinking is alive in media houses, among journalists and in some educational institutions in South Africa.

These institutions and people suppress the ancient story of Our People.

The suppression of Khoe Black History is an attempt to maintain “white supremacy” in the economy of South Africa and landlessness among the masses of Black People. How is this?

Let us consider the history of the Khoe San people who were the first Africans in the South to encounter, resist and be oppressed by European colonialists.

Since the origin of humankind in Africa the Khoe and San people lived close to the environment as hunter-gatherers or pastoralists.

Pastoralists, the Khoe, maintained livestock and grew crops. Hunters and gatherers, the Sanqua (San) people, did not.

The San lived in geographical areas until food that grows beneath the ground and animals they hunted ceased to be in abundance.

The Khoe and San had belief systems that existed for thousands of years before the arrival of European pirates.

But because the Khoe and San lived a simple and uncomplex life, they were looked down upon by Europeans.

Europeans believed that people, land and animals should be exploited, destroyed if necessary, to make a profit.

Indeed there were attempts to wipe the Khoe San from off the Earth and they were hunted as if they were animals.

This was for refusing to give up the hunter-gatherer and pastoralist ways of life.

Khoe San who refused to be servants on Voortrekker farms and homes were also criminalised.

This philosophy is called “capitalism”.

To erase the history of the Khoe and San people and to expropriate land to make them homeless and “poor”, Europeans called Our people a series of names.

Some of these names include “Boesmans” by the Voortrekkers and “Bushpeople” by the British.

Instead of calling the indigenous Khoe San by their ethnic names, such as “Goringhaiqua” in the now “Western Cape”, or the Sanqua who roamed the open plains or the “Griqua” who lived further to the East

Europeans inflicted cultural genocide against Khoe and San groups by refusing to acknowledge their Ancestral names, cultures and traditions.

European arrivals in southern Africa


Denial of Khoe and San cultural identities preceded and continued to accompany European expropriation of land in South Africa for centuries.

The Voortrekkers, British and other settlers hated and had no respect for indigenous Khoe San ways of life.

After hundreds of years of European land expropriation, cultural destruction, genocide and marginalisation of the Khoe and San in the colonial economy, the apartheid regime chose a new name for Our People: coloureds.



To the Voortrekkers, called “Afrikaners” during Apartheid, legally naming the Khoe and San descendants “coloureds” “was the nail in the coffin” to permanently keep them landless, maintain expropriated land and to maintain “white” economic supremacy.

In 2021, the use of “coloured” identity is still employed by the South African government, descendants of European settlers and some descendants of the Khoe and San who want to be called “coloureds”

The main reason is to maintain landlessness among Khoe San descendants and gangsterism.

There is a small pocket of “coloured” narcistic people on social media who are interested in personal attention and not true liberation of the Khoe San.

They foreground “coloured” and apartheid history over Khoe San identities.

In so doing, they impose an apartheid identity on the indigenous Khoe and San people.

They forget that “coloured” identity started in 1948 under Apartheid.

Khoe and San identity exists since the beginning of humanity.




There is great violence in the media and social spaces against Khoe and San identities.

This is because once the first people of southern Africa reclaim their indigenous identities and culture the colonial and neo-apartheid economy will cease its dominance.



It is important to remember that long before there was colonialism, apartheid and “coloured” labels in Africa Khoe San culture was alive.