Women's traditional gathering gear is simple and effective: a hide sling, a blanket, a cloak called a kaross to carry foodstuffs, firewood, smaller bags, a digging stick, and perhaps, a smaller version of the kaross to carry a baby. They kill their game using arrows and spears tipped in diamphotoxin, a slow-acting arrow poison produced by beetle larvae of the genus Diamphidia.Historical evidence shows that certain San communities have always lived in the desert regions of the Kalahari; however, eventually nearly all other San communities in southern Africa were forced into this region.Each of these terms has a problematic history, as they have been used by others to refer to them, often with pejorative connotations.Representatives of the people from WIMSA and the South African San Institute attending the 2003 Africa Human Genome Initiative conference held in Stellenbosch reiterated that they prefer to be described by either their individual group names or the collective term San.
They make important family and group decisions and claim ownership of water holes and foraging areas.
In this area, stone tools and rock art paintings date back over 70,000 years and are by far the oldest known art.
The San were traditionally semi-nomadic, moving seasonally within certain defined areas based on the availability of resources such as water, game animals, and edible plants.
The age rule resolves any confusion arising from kinship terms, as the older of two people always decides what to call the younger.
Relatively few names circulate (approximately 35 names per sex), and each child is named after a grandparent or another relative.