Indigenous People In South Africa

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Looking at South Africa today, it is rather difficult to dilute the current demographics into indigenous people and non-indigenous people. Although the Khoisan are unquestionably the most indigenous people to Southern Africa, does this fact deny the positive indigenous status of many black people in Southern Africa? In order to solve this dilemma, the concept of ‘indigenous people’ must be defined. Currently there is only one definition that is legitimized and is presented by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 169 ( 1989 )( Saugestad 2001 : 44 ). Based on both Article 1 and Article 2 of the Convention, four requirements for being classified as ‘indigenous people’ emerges. The first requirement consists of being connected…show more content…
In the case of South Africa, the first settlers were the Dutch who arrived in 1651 under the authority of the Dutch East India Company. They wanted to use the Cape as a stop off point for ships to refuel and for crews to recover while on their way to the East ( Worden 1985 : 2 ). It was here when the Dutch first encountered the Khoisan, a group of indigenous hunter-gatherers who had no specific settlement and moved from place to place ( Sylvain 2002 : 1074 ). As the Dutch began to cultivate land and encroach on areas of land that the Khoisan once lived off of, Khoisan were shifted upward into the dry interior of the country or were forced into subordinate relations with settler farmers. This often lead to abuse and exploitation. ( Sylvain 2002 : 1081…show more content…
Baartman was born in this period of Khoi subordination and as a result, was most likely born and raised on a settler farm.The likelihood of this land once belonging to her community is very real. Her surname was assigned to her by the farm owners and directly translated means ‘bearded man.’ The name is also demeaning in that it is associated with feelings of barbarism and savagery ( Crais and Scully 2009 : 9- 10 ). As South Africa received more settlers and clashes between colonists and other ethnic groups intensified during the frontier wars, it became a country of extreme cruelty and violence. One such explorer of the time stated that , ‘firing small shots into the legs and thighs of a Hottentot is a punishment not unknown to some of the monsters who inhabit the neighbourhood of Camtoos River’ ( Crais and Scully 2009 : 24

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