How did the Khoe San people end up in southern Africa?

Archaeologically, culturally and linguistically – science has taught us that the Khoe and San people are the first inhabitants of southern Africa. Our Ancestors arrived here before Nguni speaking people did around 1,800 years ago. We entered southern Africa between 250,000-300,000 years ago.

The question remains: Where did the Khoe San originate and why did We end up in southern Africa? Khoe and San origins and arrival in southern Africa are the focus of this discussion.

Research into human genetics and DNA has advanced immensely in recent times. DNA, the “blueprint” of human beings bodies, helps scientists to identify relationships and origins of diverse people.

DNA molecule

Scientists have proven that Khoe San, Twa and Ethiopian people have the most ancient DNA structures on Earth; not only in Africa. Phylogenetics, the study of hereditary DNA differences between humans, has confirmed the Khoe San, Ethiopians and the Twa people as the roots of humanity.

Twa people of Central Africa

DNA is made of Y and X chromosomes. Typically, chromosomes determine the sex of humans. Naidoo et al. write:

The distribution of major Y-chromosome haplogroups in the Khoe-San and other African groups coincide with the emerging picture of African demographic history; with E-M2 linked to the agriculturalist Bantu expansion, E-M35 linked to pastoralist eastern African migrations, B-M112 linked to earlier east-south gene flow, A-M14 linked to shared ancestry with central African rainforest hunter-gatherers, and A-M51 potentially unique to the Khoe-San.

Naidoo’s language is complex. To simplify, the researchers argue that Khoe and San people acquired the E-M2 gene after mixing with the Nguni arrivers in southern Africa. The B-M112 gene links Khoe and San to Africans who migrated from East Africa to the South. Thirdly, the A-M14 gene connects Khoe and San people to the Twa (derogatorily called ‘Pygmies’) who live throughout central and in pockets of West Africa.

The genetic map (phylogeny) of the Khoe San people helps Us to understand our origins. What we can conclude is that Khoe San people did not originate only in southern Africa. Our genes reveal that we are family with East and West Africans. Importantly, there were also humans living in the South before the Khoe and San. These are the Ancestors of the Khoe and San.

It is suggested that the ancestors of the modern Khoisan expanded to Southern Africa before 150,000 years ago, possibly as early as before 260,000 years ago, so that by the beginning of the MIS 5 “megadrought“, 130,000 years ago, there were two ancestral population clusters in Africa, bearers of mt-DNA haplogroup L0 in southern Africa, ancestral to the Khoi-San, and bearers of haplogroup L1-6 in central/eastern Africa, ancestral to everyone else.

The Khoe and San people, Our Ancestors, have genes that are unique to Us. No one else on Earth has them. They are not found in any other human group unless those genes are variations of Ours.

This is powerful knowledge for descendants of the Khoe and San. To know that You are the Mothers and Fathers of human civilisation reveals that We can achieve anything We put our minds to. Such knowledge also helps us to understand our relationships with other African and non-African groups.

Those who acknowledge our Roots of Humanity will respect us; however, those who are ignorant, whether deliberately or through lack of knowledge, will continue to show us contempt.

This is fine: We are who we are and that’s the way it’s going to be.