UPDATE 04. April 2021: Recent research from South Africa is redefining our timeline of human evolution
UPDATE 27. October 2016: Mallence - Uncut Interview by NBC Namibia in outlook on the Africa International Redemption Conference
GENOCIDE MEMORIAL | 1702-1869-2015 | on 2nd September 2015
313 YEARS CONTINUOUS GENOCIDE AGAINST THE SAN PEOPLE
The indigenous peoples and First Nations of the San group most affected are:
The /xam, //Xegwi, Saai, /'Auni, !Kung, #Khomani, !Xu and Khwe bushmen.
It is the greatest shame that the international community has not stood up yet to reconstitute the full rights of the very First Nation on Earth, the surviving common ancestors, brothers and sisters of all people of this world.
GENOCIDE MEMORIAL | 1702-1869-2015 | on 2nd September 2015 in Philippolis just north of the Gariep in Free State.
Following a meeting with the South African Government on 31st March 2015, where we demanded to recognise the genocide against our people, we bushmen will commemorate and decry the 313 years of Genocide against the San people, which raged since 1702 throughout 1869 and which lasts until today, 2015.
THE GREAT KAROO GENOCIDE | 1702-2014 | AGAINST THE SAN BUSHMEN
Every honest historian and observer knows and confirms that the San were and still are killed in Southern Africa, especially in what is today called the Republic of South Africa and its neighbours Botswana and Namibia, which are all originally lands of the San people, the aboriginal First Nation of Afrika.
One of the San skeletons at Addo Pass was found in soil layers dating 7,300 years back - long before any other peoples lived there. The 80,000 year old cave near St Blaize is an important San shelter in Mossel Bay. The San Cango Cave near Oudtshoorn in Klein Karoo is likewise an ancient San shelter and the Blombos Cave of the San in Western Cape is 70,000 years old.
Willem Bleek wrote about the /Xam people in the late 1800ds after interviews with late historical figures: "We need more research and open forum discussions. The /Xam people need restoration and their history must be told! The world must know, realize and recognize the genocide against the San People of Southern Afrika!"
While this continuous genocide against the San was at its worst in the massacre during 1774, it still continues today and happens now often in secrecy.
These massacres and killing sprees against the San people, the continuous marginalisation and impoverishment of our people, the targeted rape and forged marriages to force us to "be integrated" in a mixed South African society of takers shall no longer be kept a shameful secret and we will no longer be quiet in the Cape, from where it started .
We must address it in order to stop it.
In the Cape, at the Castle, there is still no mentioning about the killings of the San, while one speaks only of the "Khoi wars". Reason is that there is a specific leadership who does not want to recognize the massacres against the San, because their ancestors took part in killing the San.
The other indigenous groups from the frontier wars obtained recognition, but we, the aboriginal San People of Southern Africa, have not been recognized in our loss and grief and in our rights. Never were the San people mentioned, though the other indigenous groups were.
It is therefore important to no longer hide the real facts and an equal platform must be established for all the peoples who suffered at the hands of all the invaders.
The courageous first hero of the San - Koerikei - defended our lands already in 1702 for us - the San People - and in his spirit we shall decry the continuous genocide.
It was already difficult for him, because the San were at the time attacked from various angles with the most brutal killings occurring in the Eastern Cape, and it is still difficult for us - the descendants of the survivors of these massacres.
But fact is that these genocidal killings of the San people took place across a vast area and specifically at the following locations:
- Graaff Reinet District and Moordenaarsrivier
- Seekoei River
- Griqua town
THE TIME OF THE COMMANDOS, 1740 – 1802
During this time the San people were killed and massacred especially at the Sneeuberge by the commandos. While famous San hero Soai was killed by Sotho men at the Drakensberg, other San were killed in Drakensberg by the Colonialists. Heinous crimes against humanity were committed whereby the aggressors were cowardly killing even our women and children.
On 1 August 1775 alone, 122 San people were killed at the Seekoei River, while the other massacres happened at the Sneeuberg: Between December 1776 and March 1777 the Commando campaigns in the Sneeuberg.area were carried out by a mere 30 Europeans and 26 KhoiKhoi - hardly enough men to deal with the hundreds and thousands of their declared "enemies" - the San.
They killed 144 San people during that time and there are more than 40 graves in Middelburg in the Eastern Cape to proof it. These graves can be found in the oldest town of the Eastern Cape, but there are no records of these graves listed or mentioned by the churches, who colluded in the murder of the aboriginal San.
In the Eastern Cape there were two groups of commandos formed during that time: The Trekboer's Commandos and the Basters' Commandos. The first group were the Colonialists and the other group was formed by the "Basters", who were actually the Griqua.
While most San were hanged by the Griqua at the Galgboom in what is today Griquatown, Abraham Vigilland - the famous San hero - was killed by poison in his tea at Kookfontein in the Northern Cape.
The Trekboer's Commandos went into the direction of present-day Kenhardt, shooting actually every San man, woman and child they came across. In all, 200 peaceful hunter-gatherers were brutally murdered.
Meanwhile additional Basters' Commandos killed the San people also at the Karee Mountains.
In the Transkei, they murdered hero Nonqaba in Tsolo. Nonqaba was the key defender of all the San in Transkei.
By 1774 the antagonism between the colonists and the San had reached alarming proportions and the Company decided to take action against the San. It appointed a commandant for the whole of the northern frontier and established a large expeditionary force, comprised of burghers (citizens), KhoiKhoi people and Basters (Griqua) – to scour the 500-kilometre boundary between Piketberg and the Sneeuberg near present-day Graaff-Reinet. Task was to capture or kill as many San as possible.
According to official reports, 503 San were killed and 239 captured during the first of several large-scale operations that would eventually lead to the virtual annihilation of the San in the south-western Cape. A record compiled by the Graaff-Reinet magistracy in 1836 shows that 2504 San were killed and 669 taken prisoner along the Graaff-Reinet frontier alone during the last decade of VOC rule(1786-95).
The Basters, who later became officially known as the Griqua under Adam Kok II, and the Griqua leadership still stand to apologise and to seek forgiveness from the San people for having committed these murderous acts against the San people.
Between 1844 - 1847 the Zuurberg Mountain Pass was built with people rounded up and conscripted into forced labour. A killed San family was found and excavated in 1945 on a farm 2 km west of Kammadagga.
At the Addo Pass more killed San families were found and excavated during 1969.
The town of Philippolis in the Free State of today's South Afrika stands at the core of the history on the genocide against the San.
Philippolis was founded as a missionary outpost for the San in 1823 - making it the oldest settlement in Free State. It was named after John Philip of the London Missionary society.
When the Towerberge missionary station was closed, those San families were then also moved to Philippolis.
But then the San families were killed by Griqua leaders and their followers in Philippolis. Already Plippolis' early magistrate Andries Stockenstrom proclaimed that Philip had no right to give the land to Adam Kok and the Griqua. Early reports confirmed the brutality of Adam Kok and his people who slit the throats of many San and threw San children into bonfires.
The horrible massacres in Philippolis in 1827 killing the San, at Addo in the Zuurberg Mountain Village and at Bruintjieshoogte must never be forgotten.
We will commemorate the Genocide against the San with a memorial service at the van der Post Museum in Philippolis, Free State, South Afrika on 2nd September 2015. Our venue will start around 10h00.
The historical background will be addressed by different speakers and discussions held about the inequality in South Africa. The fact that the San and KhoiKhoi people have a different history and receive unequal present-day treatment by state authorities will be addressed. Even some academic people still discriminate against the San and favour to work with KhoiKhoi, because they are better educated in the modern sense. Actually the majority of the KhoiKhoi people in South Africa belong to the middle class while the aboriginal San are still forced to live in abhorrent poverty
We, however, stand for the San, who already 120 000 years ago lived here, long before all the other peoples arrived in South Africa. The true history must be kept honestly.
Books of the late Sir Lawrence Jan Van Der Post will be handed to the museum. The author wrote independently about the oldest humans - the San people.
With Regards and Greetings
CONTACT for participants:
/Xam Association of South Africa
Mr. Toetie Dow
Cell +27 (0)793-415-707 and +27 (0) 823-186-453
Nr 21 Marino Street Graaf Reinet
Tel +27 (0)498-924-036
Our international team, made up of researchers from South Africa, Canada, the UK, Australia, and Austria, has found evidence for complex symbolic behaviors 105,000 years ago.
Humans use symbols as a shortcut to communicate important ideas. Identifying the ancient roots of symbolism is limited to what preserves over time. Large calcite crystals from several kilometers away were found in the cave alongside stone tools. Why the crystals were brought there is unknown; they are not modified and do not seem to have a functional purpose. They may have been collected for their aesthetic properties, or included in ritual activities.
Crystals are collected by many people around the world to this day for ritual purposes. Early humans bringing crystals into Ga-Mohana suggests innovation in how people interacted with each other and their environment.
But such ancient innovation didn’t occur in a bubble: there is context to when and where innovation occurs. What brought people there in the first place, at that time, to begin using those tools and collecting those crystals?
Reconstructing past environments allows us to understand this context. And so, a major part of our research centered on working out what the area’s climate was like 105,000 years ago. To do so, we looked at Ga-Mohana’s rocks.
The southern Kalahari is often considered too arid to be important for human evolution. Our work contradicts the idea of an arid and empty interior. At some points, Ga-Mohana was much wetter than today, with pools of standing water and waterfalls tumbling down the hillside. The fact that the climate was very different then opens up possibilities about why this previously under-appreciated region must have played an important role in our species’ evolutionary history.
Archaeological and geological fieldwork allowed us to piece together this story.
Some kinds of rocks preserve traces of the past environment. The Ga-Mohana hillside is draped in deposits called tufa; these form from water leaking out of cracks in the bedrock. This occurs when underground aquifers are recharged with rain water and begin to overflow. Over time, these waters precipitate calcium carbonate and form tufa.
The tufa system is no longer active, apart from small drips during the rainy season. But the fossil tufas represent periods in the past when there was more water available. Similar structures are growing today at places like Sitting Bull Falls, New Mexico in the US. Knowing when the tufas formed at Ga-Mohana tells us when it was wetter there.
To find out how old the tufas are and when these wet periods occurred, we used a method called uranium-thorium dating. Uranium is radioactive, meaning that it decays at a constant rate over time and produces ‘daughter’ elements; thorium is one of them. When tufa forms, uranium is ‘locked’ into the crystal structure and begins to decay to produce thorium.
The uranium-thorium system acts like a clock that starts when the tufa is formed. By precisely measuring how much uranium and thorium is in the tufa today, we use the known decay rate to calculate when the ‘clock’ started. This method is routinely applied to cave deposits like stalagmites and flowstones but has not been used very much on tufa.
This is because dating tufas is not straightforward. Unlike protected caves, tufa forms in the open where sunlight, dust, and debris can contaminate the ages. It took several years of dedicated work to get around these problems: we chose the tufa samples in the field with care and used a sensitive laser to make images of the layers with the most uranium present. We could then target these layers for dating. This provided a real breakthrough.
In the end, we dated two layers from an ancient tufa waterfall to between 110,000 and 100,000 years old. This means that fresh water was flowing down the hillside at exactly the same time that people were living at the shelter. Such wet conditions at this time were unexpected, so we wanted to know what caused such a large increase in water to begin with.
To understand the reasons for the region being much wetter 105,000 years ago than it is today, we looked at how climate processes influence modern rainfall there.
We did this by comparing historical rainfall records to current major climate drivers. We then looked back into the past and used data from an ocean core (deep sea sediments drilled out of the ocean floor which record changes in the earth’s ocean and climate). These data show that parts of the Indian Ocean were warmer around 105,000 years ago. Climate systems are complex, but basically this would have increased the amount of rain in the southern Kalahari, filling the aquifer, and causing the build up of the tufa during this time period.
An important role
People were drawn to Ga-Mohana for many reasons. Surface water would have been one. The many ostrich eggshell fragments we also found were probably used as water carriers 105,000 years ago. Perhaps these were being filled with water as it flowed down the hillside. One possibility is that water carriers allowed our ancestors to travel further distances.
There is still more to be learned from Ga-Mohana, its artifacts, and its rocks. This will allow scientists to understand the role this space played in human evolutionary history better.
Mallence - Uncut Interview by NBC Namibia in outlook on the Africa International Redemption Conference
•Oct 27, 2016
NBC Journalist Peter Denk speaks to Mallence Bart-Williams about the historic relationship between Namibia and Germany and which steps ought to be taken to progressively move forward, prior to her key note speech at the Africa International Redemption Conference in Namibia.