Colonialism developed theories to justify its seizure of land and these theories skewed and falsified history along with race-theories and classification of Africans into convenient fabricated race-silos called Bantu and Khoisan. Underpinning this colonial paradigm of history born out of the academic disciplines of ethnography, anthropology, and some in the realm of linguistics was the colonizing cornerstone of “divide and rule”. The father of race-classification in South Africa was the German anthropologist and linguist – Wilhelm Bleek, in the 19th century, who entrenched the notion of the “Bantu race” based on a broad linguistic family of over 700 languages spoken widely across Sub-Saharan Africa. Another German ethnographer and race-theorist Leonhard Schultz, at the beginning of the 20th century, while doing horrific experiments on Nama people in concentration camps during the German genocide of the San and Nama in Namibia, invented the word and theory of a so-called “Khoisan race”. The 19th century colonial historian George McCall Theal, a Canadian, along with British amateur scientist Mary Barker and her archaeologist brother Thomas Bowker argued that all Africans in South Africa were recent invaders of the land held by old Hamitic descendants - a people who shared lineage with Europeans. These were identified as Bushmen. Thus, the false theory of a so-called “First Nation” linked to Caucasian  indigeneity was born, emphasizing that South Africa was Terra Nullius – an empty land with just a few Bushmen said to be Hamites connected to Caucasian lineage  with no notion of landownership and ancestrally linked to white people. All other Africans were considered recent migrants contesting over land with Europeans who were said to have arrived at the same time as the black invaders. Apartheid and other theories of “Firstism” are primacy theories based on the lie of the Empty Land – Terra Nullius or Nobody’s Land. What is known as the second Hamite myth in the 19th century which argues that the San and, by association, the Khoe, are sub-groups of brown Caucasians has never had any scientific substance and was a flip-flop on a completely opposite first Hamite myth in earlier times that argued that black people were natural slaves ordained by God to be such.

All indigenous African people in South Africa are related

Today science has put to rest all of these erroneous theories. The Peopling of South Africa followed the same patterns of how societies developed all over the world. Between 2500 years ago and 2100 years ago a series of migratory drifts, followed earlier migratory drifts that go back thousands of years, to give us the configuration of African peoples of Mzantsi – the South. By the time of the European invasions in 17th Century South Africa, the whole of South Africa was populated by multi-ethnic African peoples. There was no empty land and there was no situation of only one or two ethnic groups – San and Khoe being sole occupants, being displaced by black invaders. Indeed, all Africans in South Africa had some degree of San and Khoe ancestral-cultural heritage, besides there also being distinct San and Khoe societies.

The notion of ‘racial purity’ was another of the European “Race-theories” that has come crashing down as a result of modern day inter-disciplinary approaches between archaeology, genetics, social history, and anthropology. Two of the three Foundation Peoples – the Khoe and Kalanga were born of multi-ethnic roots, and even the San today can be shown to have multi-ethnic admixture.

In Southern Africa, around its river systems – the Zambezi, Sashe, Limpopo, down to the Kai !Gariep and right on down to the Camissa we can see that the peopling of Southern Africa took place around rivers and expanded from there. It involved the coming together of many ethnicities which slowly evolved into societies, states, and kingdoms. The earliest society to emerge in this manner were the forebears of the San around 12 000 years ago from migrations of early humans going back 200 000 years ago. The early Khoe and Kalanga were multi-ethnic societies that emerged between 2200 – 1800 years ago in Southern Zimbabwe, Northern Botswana, and the Limpopo regions of South Africa, and fanned out across the whole of Southern Africa. Every modern day Southern African society has San, Khoe and Kalanga at their roots, including a range of other ethnicities that drifted into the region over time. With the foundation of the multi-ethnic Mapungubwe state it started the first modern social revolution age of proliferation of pastoral kingdoms. By 1300 much of the different root elements of the peopling of South Africa had taken place. Smaller societies grew larger and some were swallowed up by others as kingdoms emerged. Some kingdoms were even confederated into an empire under the Rozvi MaMbo pastoral kingdom that broke away from the Mutapa kingdom and unleashed a second social revolution in Southern Africa. Over century later as the Rozvi empire declined, Shaka using Rozvi military technology and tactics spearheaded a new social revolution in Southern Africa which when looked at together with the impacts of colonial expansion, the great trek, discovery of diamonds and gold, and the wars that went with each of these disruptions, it can be seen to have greatly impacted of African social identities.

All of this went into the peopling of South Africa and thus the notion of ‘nobody’s land’ or the land only being occupied by San and Khoe is an untruth created by Europeans to justify the notion that they had a natural God-given right to the land of South Africa. This lie has created deep divisions among Africans in South Africa along the fault lines first developed by the European social scientists of race-theory here mentioned. There was never a sudden alien black invasion of a land solely occupied  by brown people who descended from the Hamites and who therefore share European roots. All Africans in South Africa share roots.


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