First people communities are the groups of hunter-gatherers and herders, representing the oldest human lineages in Africa, who migrated from as far as East Africa to settle across southern Africa, in what is now Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. These groups, known today as the Khoisan, are represented by the Bushmen (or San) and the Khoe (plural Khoekhoen). In First People, archaeologist Andrew Smith examines what we know about southern Africa’s earliest inhabitants, drawing on evidence from excavations, rock art, the observations of colonial-era travellers, linguistics, the study of the human genome and the latest academic research.
Richly illustrated, First People is an invaluable and accessible work that reaches from the Middle and Late Stone Age to recent times, and explores how the Khoisan were pushed to the margins of history and society. Smith, who is an expert on the history and prehistory of the Khoisan, paints a knowledgeable and fascinating portrait of their land occupation, migration, survival strategies and cultural practices.