There is a great deal of mystique surrounding the Bushman/San and their tracking prowess. Fuelled by storytellers from Laurens van der Post to latter-day mythologists, the legends live on, rendered now deeply poignant by the plight of the remaining ancients. People on the brink. The Ju/’hoansi of Nyae Nyae in Namibia are the last standard-bearers of Southern Africa’s hunter-gathers. For, uniquely and tragically, only they have the full suite, however precarious: their striking click language, access to wild land, the legal right to hunt and gather by traditional means, and a slender, unbroken knowledge bridge to millennia upon millennia of savanna-attuned living. They hold the flinted keys to surviving and thriving in a pre-agricultural, pre-industrial world. With lessons, perhaps, for a grasping post-industrial world.

I went to the remote //xa/oba settlement in north-eastern Namibia because there, Louis Liebenberg* told me, I would find three old-way geniuses, /ui-Kxunta, /ui...

Subscribe now to unlock this article.

Support BusinessLIVE’s award-winning journalism for R129 per month (digital access only).

There’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in SA. Our subscription packages now offer an ad-free experience for readers.

Cancel anytime.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.