Khoisan Peoples and King Solomon’s Mines

5 February 2014

At… … we have another story that brings to mind early SIS Workshops and the various writings of Nell Kluitman. In these, the impression was left that Khoisan people, such as the Hottentots, were generally disliked by the Bantu majority. The latter were latecomers to the region, and the view has always been that Khoisan people (including especially the Bushmen) were indigenous to the region and represent an archaic strand of humanity. Nell Kluitman hinted darkly that some of the Khoisan people allied themselves with enemies of the Bantu tribes and some kind of friction has simmered over many years.

New Scientist repeats the consensus view that southern Africans remained isolated from other ethnic groups until recent centuries – but a DNA study has thrown up a problem that may actually provide an explanation of some of the things Nell Kluitman wrote for SIS. It seems that genes from Mediterranean people (such as Sardinia, southern Italy, and Iberia) have been found among Khoisans in southern Africa. It has been estimated these genes entered the region between 900 and 1800 years ago – long before European explorers sailed anywhere near the Cape of Good Hope. One tribe, the Khoe-Kwadi, has up to 14 per cent of southern European genes. They are thought to have migrated from East Africa and so a DNA study of Khoisan speakers in that region was conducted, and one tribe had 50 per cent of southern European genetic material. The Khoe-Kwadi appear to have connections with this tribe, and the claim is that some of them migrated south at some point in the last 1500 years. The big mystery now is – how did a tribe in East Africa aquire genes from southern Europeans. The clue may well be something similar to what Nell Kluitman suggested – the Phoenicians. These people, in the Iron Age, absorbed a goodly number of Sea Peoples (and they appear to have had an origin in southern Europe, including Sardinia). The historical Phoenicians appear to have been a mixed people, descended from the local indigenous Canaanites, and the Sea Peoples who arrived in the wake of the LB Age destructions.

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