The Khoisan are known as the first inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa, are commonly given the pejorative name of bushmen (men of the bush) and southern Angola is part of their habitat. Khoisan is the name given to a family of ethnic groups, the Khoikhoi and the San, as they share similar physical and language characteristics. They use click consonants when they speak, and their history is thought to go back thousands of years. They are currently at risk of extinction, as only a few populations still survive in southwest Africa.
Recent estimates reveal that of the estimated 100,000 Khoisan in Africa, some 5000 live in southern Angola; the largest majority of the populations live in Botswana (50,000), Namibia (35,000), South Africa (5000), and the remaining populations scattered across Zambia and Zimbabwe.
traditionally hunter-gatherers, but have been forced to switch to herdsmen and farming as a result of government-mandated moderization programs as well as the increased risks of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle in the face of technological development.
The name Khoisan comes from Khuá-San, which in general terms means ‘Men’ both in Khoikhoi and in San. But in the Khoikhoi language, the word has another connotation and actually means ‘Men of Men’.
Khoisan languages, known for their use of clicking sounds, are not spoken very widely across Africa, and are to all intents and purposes limited to the Kalahari region spanning Angola, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. The most spoken Khoisan group languages are Kwadi and Sandawe.
Present day Khoisan are frequently claimed to be direct descendants of the first hunter-gatherers to inhabit the full expanse of western Africa but they later disappeared with the arrival of the Bantu, around 2000 years ago. Their disappearance could down to the occupation of their hunting grounds by Bantu farmers.
This theory is backed up by archaeological palaeolithic remains and the many pre-historic archaeological sites found there. In fact, right in the middle of the Namib Desert, near the Angolan region of Virei, there is a large area with cave paintings in Tchitundo-Hulo or Tchitundulo; some caves even have evidence of dwellings from the Stone Age. They are said to be one of the most beautiful collections of cave paintings of Angolan pre-history.” (Adapted from TAAG Austral Magazine)