Grade 5 term 1 timeline: Hunter-gatherers and herders in Southern Africa

Khoikhoi dismantling their huts, preparing to move to new pastures. Aquatint by Samuel Daniell (1805). The Khoikhoi practiced pastoralism for thousands of years in southern Africa.

8985 BCE                             

  • The San are believed to have first populated Southern Africa

15 CE    

  • Khoikhoi herders migrated southward and converted many San to herding which weakened hunter-gatherer social cohesion

215 CE  

  • Iron Age farmerssettled in the summer rainfall regions. They initially lived and worked alongside the San, however, they eventually became more powerful in terms of population size and land ownership. The San lost their dominance.


  • Europeans arrived in the Cape of Good Hope
  • The San were forced out of their homes and had to give up their land
  • Thousands of San died from diseases such as small pox


  • The Lynton panel was removed from the Lynton farm in the Eastern Cape and taken to a South African Museum


  • Several thousand San people were still hunting large game with poisoned arrows and gathering plant food in the Kalahari Desert in Namibia


  • The Department of Nature Conservation began to take over large sections of the traditional hunting lands of the Kalahari San for game and nature reserves.


  • The San had lost the majority of their land
  • A law passed in 1970 meant that a group of San called the ‘!Kung’ lost 90% of their traditional land in NyaeNyae.                                              


  • The Lynton panel featured as one of the premiere attractions in the international exhibition, "Africa: the Art of a Continent".


  • South Africa’s new coat of arms was introduced
  • The San figure from the Lynton Panel is used as the focal element of the coat of arms

Last updated : 08-Feb-2017

This article was produced by South African History Online on 08-May-2015

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