Topic: Hunter-gatherers and herders in southern Africa

Suggested contact time

One term/15 hours

This content must be integrated with the historical aims and skills and the associated concepts listed in Section 2

Background information: The content listed below applies to the last 10 000 years of the Later Stone Age. Older Stone Age periods go back over hundreds of thousands of years.

Farmers entered southern Africa about 1 700 years ago. Hunter-gatherers were not marginalised or out-competed, but shared the southern African farming landscape with farmers over much of the last 1 700 years.

Focus: The way of life of the hunter-gatherers and herders, the earliest inhabitants of southern Africa, and how we find out about them.

Content and concepts

South Africa from 10 000 thousand years ago: people of the Later Stone Age


How we find out about hunter-gatherers and herders - 2 hours

•         Stories

•         Objects

•         Rock paintings

•         Books

•         In the present we find out about them by observing living societies (ethnography)


San hunter-gatherer society in the Later Stone Age - 8 hours

•         Lived off the environment (A deep knowledge of the environment meant the San knew when wild resources were seasonally available. They moved to coincide with that availability.)

•         The invention of the bow and arrow, which contributed to hunting effectiveness

•         Social organisation: all things were meant to be shared equally within a group

•         Plant medicines

•         San beliefs and religion

•         Rock art

            o Where, when, how and why it was created

                        o Interpretations of rock art

                        o South African Coat of Arms and the Linton Rock Art Panel



Khoikhoi herder society in the Later Stone Age - 2 hours

•         Pastoral way of life

•         How San and Khoikhoi shared the same landscape



Revision, assessment (formal and informal) and feedback should take place on an ongoing basis - 3 hours

Learners should read and write for part of every lesson.

Evidence of learner’s work, including assessments, should be kept in the learner’s notebook.

Note: LTSM writers should not include detail on modern San in the Kgalagadi or in Namibia.

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