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The San (Bushmen) were the first people to inhabit Southern Africa. There are many various reports about when the first settlement was started. The San mainly survived by hunting and picking berries and other fruits. After the Europeans settled in the Cape, the 200,000 Bushmen either became slaves or were forced to pull back in other areas of Southern Africa. There are only about 100,000 San left today in Southern Africa and just a few of them still live the same way they used to. Most of them are working on farms in Botswana and Namibia.


The Khoikhoi were closely related to the San peole of Southern Africa. When the Europeans with their Dutch leader Jan van Riebeeck came to the Cape in 1652, the Khoikhoi had lived in Africa already for about 30,000 years. The Khoikhoi were known to the Europeans as Hottentots ("hottentot" meant someone who stutters in the Dutch dialect of the Colonists). They were named that because of the clicking sounds typical to their language. The Khoikhois were traditional herders who had many sheeps and cettle. But their traditional life changed with the new European settlers. They were defeated in various battles for land and had to work on farms.

Jan van Riebeeck

Jan van Riebeeck was born on April 16th, 1619 in the Netherlands. He worked as a doctor in East Asia from 1639-1648. He made his way to South Africa in 1651 as leader of an expedition after the British decided against a colony there. They arrived at the Cape on April 6th, 1652. Their duty was to found a base to supply the sailors that were on their way to India with fresh water, meat and vegetables. Jan van Riebeeck began to grow vegetables and fruits in his own garden. He also started trading with the indigenous people. Van Riebeeck stayed as leader of the colony till 1662. He returned to Dutch-India where he died in 1677.

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