The traditional religion and mythology of the San people is poorly attested due to their interactions with Christianity.
The ǀXam prayed to the Sun and Moon. Many myths are ascribed to various stars.
ǃXu is the Khoikhoi word ǃKhub 'rich man, master', which was used by some Christian missionaries to translate "Lord" in the Bible, and repeated by San people in reporting what the Khoikhoi told them. It's used in Juǀʼhoan as the word for the Christian god. It has been misinterpreted as the "Bushman creator".
To enter the spirit world, trance has to be initiated by a shaman through the hunting of a tutelary spirit or power animal. The eland often serves as power animal. The fat of the eland is used symbolically in many rituals including initiations and rites of passage. Other animals such as giraffe, kudu and hartebeest can also serve this function.
One of the most important rituals in the San religion is the great dance, or the trance dance. This dance typically takes a circular form, with women clapping and singing and men dancing rhythmically. Although there is no evidence that the Kalahari San use hallucinogens regularly, student shaman may use hallucinogens to go into trance for the first time.
Psychologists have investigated hallucinations and altered states of consciousness in neuropsychology. They found that entoptic phenomena can occur through rhythmic dancing, music, sensory deprivation, hyperventilation, prolonged and intense concentration and migraines. The psychological approach explains rock art through three trance phases. In the first phase of trance an altered state of consciousness would come about. People would experience geometric shapes commonly known as entoptic phenomena. These would include zigzags, chevrons, dots, flecks, grids, vortices and U-shapes. These shapes can be found especially in rock engravings of Southern Africa.
During the second phase of trance people try to make sense of the entoptic phenomena. They would elaborate the shape they had 'seen' until they had created something that looked familiar to them. Shamans experiencing the second phase of trance would incorporate the natural world into their entoptic phenomena, visualising honeycombs or other familiar shapes.
In the third phase a radical transformation occurs in mental imagery. The most noticeable change is that the shaman becomes part of the experience. Subjects under laboratory conditions have found that they experience sliding down a rotating tunnel, entering caves or holes in the ground. People in the third phase begin to lose their grip on reality and hallucinate monsters and animals of strong emotional content. In this phase, therianthropes in rock painting can be explained as heightened sensory awareness that gives one the feeling that they have undergone a physical transformation.
Pictographs can be found across Southern Africa in places such as the cave sandstone of KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and North-Eastern Cape, the granite and Waterberg sandstone of the Northern Transvaal, the Table Mountain sandstone of the Southern and Western Cape. Images of conflict and war-making are not uncommon. There are also often images of therianthrophic entities which have both human and animal traits and are connected to the notion of trancing, but these represent only a fraction of all rock art representations. Most commonly portrayed are animals such as the eland, although grey rhebok and hartebeest are also in rock art in places such as Cederberg and Warm Bokkeveld. At uKhahlamba / Drakensberg Park there are paintings thought to be some 3,000 years old which depict humans and animals, and are thought to have religious significance.
Bodawpaya (Burmese: ဘိုးတော်ဘုရား, pronounced [bódɔ̀ pʰəjá]; Thai: ปดุง; 11 March 1745 – 5 June 1819) was the sixth king of the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma. Born Maung Shwe Waing and later Badon Min, he was the fourth son of Alaungpaya, founder of the dynasty and the Third Burmese Empire. He was proclaimed king after deposing his nephew Phaungkaza Maung Maung, son of his oldest brother Naungdawgyi, at Ava. Bodawpaya moved the royal capital back to Amarapura in 1782. He was titled Hsinbyumyashin (Lord of the White Elephants), although he became known to posterity as Bodawpaya in relation to his successor, his grandson Bagyidaw (Royal Elder Uncle), who in turn was given this name in relation to his nephew Mindon Min. He fathered 62 sons and 58 daughters by about 200 consorts.Cape Colony
The Cape of Good Hope, also known as the Cape Colony (Dutch: Kaapkolonie), was a British colony in present-day South Africa, named after the Cape of Good Hope. The British colony was preceded by an earlier Dutch colony of the same name, the Kaap de Goede Hoop, established in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company. The Cape was under Dutch rule from 1652 to 1795 and again from 1803 to 1806. The Dutch lost the colony to Great Britain following the 1795 Battle of Muizenberg, but had it returned following the 1802 Peace of Amiens. It was re-occupied by the UK following the Battle of Blaauwberg in 1806, and British possession affirmed with the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814.
The Cape of Good Hope then remained in the British Empire, becoming self-governing in 1872, and uniting with three other colonies to form the Union of South Africa in 1910. It then was renamed the Province of the Cape of Good Hope. South Africa became a sovereign state in 1931 by the Statute of Westminster. In 1961 it became the Republic of South Africa and obtained its own monetary unit called the Rand. Following the 1994 creation of the present-day South African provinces, the Cape Province was partitioned into the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, and Western Cape, with smaller parts in North West province.
The Cape of Good Hope was coextensive with the later Cape Province, stretching from the Atlantic coast inland and eastward along the southern coast, constituting about half of modern South Africa: the final eastern boundary, after several wars against the Xhosa, stood at the Fish River. In the north, the Orange River, also known as the Gariep River, served as the boundary for some time, although some land between the river and the southern boundary of Botswana was later added to it. From 1878, the colony also included the enclave of Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands, both in what is now Namibia.German South West Africa
German South West Africa (German: Deutsch-Südwestafrika) was a colony of the German Empire from 1884 until 1919. With an area of 835,100 km², it was one and a half times the size of the mainland German Empire in Europe at the time. The colony had a population of around 2,600 Germans.
In 1915, during World War I, German South West Africa was invaded by the Western Allies in the form of South African and British forces. After the war its administration was taken over by the Union of South Africa (part of the British Empire) and the territory was administered as South West Africa under a League of Nations mandate. It became independent as Namibia in 1990.Hsinbyushin
Hsinbyushin (Burmese: ဆင်ဖြူရှင်, IPA: [sʰɪ̀ɴ pʰjú ʃɪ̀ɴ]; Thai: พระเจ้ามังระ; 12 September 1736 – 10 June 1776) was king of the Konbaung dynasty of Burma (Myanmar) from 1763 to 1776. The second son of the dynasty founder Alaungpaya is best known for his wars with China and Siam, and is considered the most militaristic king of the dynasty. His successful defense against four Chinese invasions preserved Burmese independence. His invasion of Siam (1765–1767) ended Siam's Ayutthaya Dynasty. The near simultaneous victories over China and Siam has been referred to as testimony "to a truly astonishing elan unmatched since Bayinnaung." He also raised the Shwedagon Pagoda to its current height in April 1775.
The deputy commander-in-chief during his father's reunification campaigns (1752–1759), Hsinbyushin as king pursued an expansionist policy against his neighbors. By 1767, his armies had put down a rebellion in Manipur, captured the Laotian states, temporarily defeated Siam, and driven back two invasions by China. But his reckless decision to wage two simultaneous wars against China and Siam nearly cost the kingdom its independence. The third Chinese invasion of 1767–1768 penetrated deep into central Burma, forcing Hsinbyushin to hastily withdraw his armies from Siam. While the reinforced Burmese armies defeated the Chinese, and reached an uneasy truce in 1769, the Chinese threatened another invasion for another decade, and prevented Hsinbyushin from renewing the war with Siam.
The specter of war kept the state heavily militarized, setting the stage for army commanders to mistreat the population. In 1773, the army command provoked a rebellion by ethnic Mon troops, only to suppress the mutiny with "undue severity". The warlord behavior by local governors and army commanders only increased in 1774 when Hsinbyushin suffered from what turned out to be a long illness that would ultimately claim his life. In 1775, periphery vassals states of Lan Na and Manipur both revolted. He died in June 1776 while the Burmese forces were still engaged in Siam and Manipur. The Burmese armies withdrew from Siam right after his death, leaving Lan Na in Siamese hands.
While most of his military victories were short-lived, the present-day Burmese control of Taninthayi Region, northern and eastern Shan State and Kachin State is an enduring result of his reign.Khoikhoi
The Khoikhoi (updated orthography Khoekhoe, from Khoekhoegowab Khoekhoen [kxʰoekxʰoen]; formerly also Hottentots) are the traditionally nomadic pastoralist non-Bantu indigenous population of southwestern Africa. They are grouped with the hunter-gatherer San under the compound term Khoisan.While it is clear that the presence of the Khoikhoi in southern Africa predates the Bantu expansion, it is not certain by how much, possibly in the Late Stone Age, or displaced by the Bantu expansion to Southeastern Africa.
The Khoikhoi maintained large herds of Nguni cattle in the Cape region at the time of
Dutch colonisation in the 17th century. Their nomadic pastoralism was mostly discontinued in the 19th to 20th century.Their Khoekhoe language is related to certain dialects spoken by foraging San peoples of the Kalahari, such as the Khwe and Tshwa, forming the Khoe language family.
The two main Khoikhoi subdivisions today are the Nama people of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa (with numerous subtribes) and the Damara of Namibia. Their total number is estimated at close to 300,000 people.The Griqua people are a mixed-raced population in South Africa, of partial Khoikhoi and partial European ancestry. They developed their own ethnic identity in the 19th century and settled in Griqualand.Khoisan
Khoisan (), or according to the contemporary Khoekhoegowab orthography Khoe-Sān (pronounced: [kxʰoesaːn]), is a catch-all term for the "non-Bantu" indigenous peoples of Southern Africa, combining the Khoekhoen (formerly "Khoikhoi") and the Sān or Sākhoen (also, in Afrikaans: Boesmans, or in English: Bushmen, after Dutch Boschjesmens; and Saake in the Nǁng language).
Khoekhoen, specifically, were formerly known as “Hottentots”, which was a derogatory onomatopoeic term (from Dutch hot-en-tot) referring to the click consonants prevalent in the Khoekhoe languages, as they are in all the languages grouped under "Khoesān". Dutchmen in the early Cape settlement would ply Khoekhoen with liquor as an inducement for them to perform a ritual dance. The lyric accompanying the dance sounded, in Dutch ears, like “hot-en-tot”.
Sān are popularly thought of as foragers in the Kalahari Desert and regions of Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and South Africa. The word sān is from the Khoekhoe language and simply refers, often in a derogatory manner, to foragers ("those who pick things up from the ground") who do not own livestock. As such it was used in reference to all hunter-gatherer populations of the Southern African region who Khoekhoe-speaking communities came into contact with, and was largely a term referring to a lifestyle, distinct from a pastoralist or agriculturalist one, not any particular ethnicity. While there are attendant cosmologies and languages associated with such a radical lifestyle, the term is an economic designator, rather than a cultural or ethnic one. However, Khoekhoen is considered to have ethnic meaning, as it refers to a number of historical populations of speakers of closely related languages that are considered to be the historical pastoralist communities in the South African Cape region, through to Namibia, where Khoekhoe populations of Nama and Damara people are prevalent ethnicities.
These Khoekhoe nations and Sān are grouped under the single term Khoesān as representing the indigenous substrate population of Southern Africa prior to the hypothesised Bantu expansion reaching the area, roughly between 1,500–2,000 years ago.
Many Khoesān peoples are the direct descendants of a very early dispersal of anatomically modern humans to Southern Africa, before 150,000 years ago. Their languages show a vague typological similarity, largely confined to the prevalence of click consonants, and they are not verifiably derived from a common proto-language, but are today split into at least three separate and unrelated language families (Khoe-Kwadi, !Ui-Taa and Kx'a). It has been suggested that the Khoekhoeǁaen (Khoekhoe peoples) may represent Late Stone Age arrivals to Southern Africa, possibly displaced by Bantu immigration.
The compound term Khoisan / Khoesān is a modern anthropological convention, in use since the early-to-mid 20th century. Khoisan is a coinage by Leonhard Schulze in the 1920s and popularised by Isaac Schapera. It enters wider usage from the 1960s, based on the proposal of a "Khoisan" language family by Joseph Greenberg.
Khoesān peoples were historically also grouped as Cape Blacks (Afrikaans: Kaap Swartes) or Western Cape Blacks (Afrikaans: Wes-Kaap Swartes) to distinguish them from the Niger-Congo-speaking "Bantoid" or "Congoid" blacks of the other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Derived from this is the term Capoid used in 20th century anthropological literature. An equivalent term derived from the compound Khoisan is Khoisanid, in use primarily in genetic genealogy.The term Khoisan (also spelled KhoiSan, Khoi-San, Khoe-San) has also been introduced in South African usage as a self-designation after the end of apartheid, in the late 1990s. Since the 2010s, there has been a "Khoisan activist" movement demanding recognition and land rights from the Bantu majority.List of religions and spiritual traditions
While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a
[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic."
A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.Naungdawgyi
Dabayin Min (Burmese: ဒီပဲယင်းမင်), commonly known as Naungdawgyi (Burmese: နောင်တော်ကြီး [nàʊɴdɔ̀dʑí]; 10 August 1736 – 28 November 1763) was the second king of Konbaung Dynasty of Burma (Myanmar), from 1760 to 1763. He was a top military commander in his father Alaungpaya's reunification campaigns of the country. As king, he spent much of his short reign suppressing multiple rebellions across the newly founded kingdom from Ava (Inwa) and Toungoo (Taungoo) to Martaban (Mottama) and Chiang Mai. The king suddenly died less than a year after he had successfully suppressed the rebellions. He was succeeded by his younger brother Hsinbyushin.Religion
Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings or "some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life". Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of deities), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places, that aim mostly to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life, the universe, and other things. Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs.There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, but about 84% of the world's population is affiliated with one of the five largest religion groups, namely Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion. The religiously unaffiliated demographic includes those who do not identify with any particular religion, atheists, and agnostics. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs.The study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social scientific studies. Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief.Religion in South Africa
South Africa is a secular state with a diverse religious population. Its constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Many religions are represented in the ethnic and regional diversity of the population. Christianity, especially in its Protestant forms, predominates.San people
The San or Saan peoples, also known as the "Bushmen" (also Sākhoen, Sonqua, and in Afrikaans: Boesmans, after Dutch Boschjesmens; and Saake in the Nǁng language), are members of various Khoesān-speaking indigenous hunter-gatherer groups that are the first nations of Southern Africa, and whose territories span Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and South Africa. There is a significant linguistic difference between the northern peoples living between the Okavango River in Botswana and Etosha National Park in northwestern Namibia, extending up into southern Angola; the central peoples of most of Namibia and Botswana, extending into Zambia and Zimbabwe; and the southern people in the central Kalahari towards the Molopo River, who are the last remnant of the previously extensive indigenous Sān of South Africa.The ancestors of the hunter-gatherer Sān are thought to have been the first inhabitants of what is now Botswana and South Africa. The historical presence of the San in Botswana is particularly evident in northern Botswana's Tsodilo Hills region. In this area, stone tools and rock art paintings date back over 70,000 years and are by far the oldest known art. Sān were traditionally semi-nomadic, moving seasonally within certain defined areas based on the availability of resources such as water, game animals, and edible plants. As of 2010, the Sān populations in Botswana number about 50,000 to 60,000.From the 1950s through to the 1990s, Sān communities switched to farming because of government-mandated modernisation programs. Despite the lifestyle changes, they have provided a wealth of information in anthropology and genetics. One broad study of African genetic diversity completed in 2009 found that Sān people were among the five populations with the highest measured levels of genetic diversity among the 121 distinct African populations sampled. Certain Sān groups are one of 14 known extant "ancestral population clusters". That is, "groups of populations with common genetic ancestry, who share ethnicity and similarities in both their culture and the properties of their languages".Despite some positive aspects of government development programs reported by members of Sān and Bakgalagadi communities in Botswana, many have spoken of a consistent sense of exclusion from government decision-making processes, and many Sān and Bakgalagadi have alleged experiencing ethnic discrimination on the part of the government. The United States Department of State described ongoing discrimination against San, or Basarwa, people in Botswana in 2013 as the "principal human rights concern" of that country.San rock art
The San, or Bushmen, are indigenous people in Southern Africa particularly in what is now South Africa and Botswana. Their ancient rock paintings and carvings (collectively called rock art) are found in caves and on rock shelters. The artwork depicts non-human beings, hunters, and half-human half-animal hybrids. The half-human hybrids are believed to be medicine men or healers involved in a healing dance.”Gall writes, “The Laurens van der Post panel at Tsodilo is one of the most famous rock paintings.” High on this rock face in Botswana is the image of a “magnificent red eland bull” painted, according to Van der Post, “only as a Bushman who had a deep identification with the eland could have painted him.” Also on this rock face is a female giraffe that is motionless, as if alarmed by a predator. Several other images of animals are depicted there too, along with the flesh blood-red handprints that are the signature of the unknown artist. The Drakensberg and Lesotho is particularly well known for its San rock art.
Tsodilo was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001; not all the art covered by this is by San people or their ancestors.Satanic panic (South Africa)
The Satanic panic is a moral panic about alleged widespread Satanic ritual abuse which originated around the 1980s in the United States, peaking in the early 1990s, before waning as a result of scepticism of academics and law enforcement agencies who ultimately debunked the claims. The phenomenon spread from the United States to other countries, including South Africa, where it is still evident periodically. South Africa was particularly associated with the Satanic panic because of the creation of the Occult Related Crimes Unit in 1992, described as the "world's only 'ritual murder' task force". According to anthropologist Annika Teppo, this was linked with powerful conservative Christian forces within the then-dominant white community in the last years of apartheid. Christian belief is a prerequisite to serve in the unit. The concern with the alleged presence of Satanism and occult practices has continued into the post-apartheid era.South African Council of Churches
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) is an interdenominational forum in South Africa. It was a prominent anti-apartheid organisation during the years of apartheid in South Africa. Its leaders have included Desmond Tutu, Beyers Naudé and Frank Chikane. It is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa.Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all African countries that are fully or partially located south of the Sahara. It contrasts with North Africa, whose territories are part of the League of Arab states within the Arab world. The states of Somalia, Djibouti, Comoros and the Arabic speaking Mauritania are however geographically in sub-Saharan Africa, although they are members of the Arab League as well. The UN Development Program lists 46 of Africa’s 54 countries as “sub-Saharan,” excluding Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia.The Sahel is the transitional zone in between the Sahara and the tropical savanna of the Sudan region and farther south the forest-savanna mosaic of tropical Africa.
Since probably 3500 BCE, the Saharan and sub-Saharan regions of Africa have been separated by the extremely harsh climate of the sparsely populated Sahara, forming an effective barrier interrupted by only the Nile in Sudan, though the Nile was blocked by the river's cataracts. The Sahara pump theory explains how flora and fauna (including Homo sapiens) left Africa to penetrate the Middle East and beyond. African pluvial periods are associated with a Wet Sahara phase, during which larger lakes and more rivers existed.The use of the term has been criticized because it refers to the South only by cartography conventions and projects a connotation of inferiority; a vestige of colonialism, which some say, divided Africa into European terms of homogeneity.Traditional African religions
The traditional African religions (or traditional beliefs and practices of African people) are a set of highly diverse beliefs that include various ethnic religions. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural, include belief in a supreme creator, belief in spirits, veneration of the dead, use of magic and traditional African medicine. The role of humanity is generally seen as one of harmonizing nature with the supernatural. According to Lugira, "it is the only religion that can claim to have originated in Africa. Other religions found in Africa have their origins in other parts of the world."ǀKaggen
ǀKaggen (more accurately ǀKágge̥n or ǀKaggən, sometimes corrupted to Cagn) is Mantis, a demi-urge and folk hero of the ǀXam people of southern Africa. He is a trickster god who can shape shift, usually taking the form of a praying mantis but also a bull eland, a louse, a snake, and a caterpillar.ǃXu (god)
ǃXu, also ǃXu꞉ba and sometimes ǃXo or ǃXo꞉ba, is a San rendering of the Khoikhoi word ǃKhu 'rich' and its derivation ǃKhub 'rich man, master', which was used by some Christian missionaries to the Khoikhoi to translate the word "Lord" in the Bible. Bleek reports that the ǂKxʼaoǁʼae rendered the word as ǃXo and the Naro as ǃXu꞉ba or ǃXo꞉ba when repeating things what the Khoikhoi had told them. It has entered the Juǀʼhoan language as the name of the Christian god.
Xu, a crater on Rhea, the second largest moon of Saturn, is named for ǃXu as the supposed "Bushman" Creator.