One week with the most ancient humans

When the totalitarianism of the Western civilisation and its economic system is condemning to death not only the traditional knowledge that is lost along with these tribes but ultimately humanity itself
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Nikolaos Gryspolakis Jan 31. 2016
by Nikolaos Gryspolakis

The San people (aka Bushmen) with the 100,000 year old civilisation are the common ancestors of humanity. They continue to be relentlessly displaced and abused by the black and white invaders of their ancestral lands in Southwestern Africa. Nowadays they are only found in small isolated populations across the area.

I found myself in Somelo of Botswana, a refugee camp in the middle of Kalahari desert unknown to most locals, thanks to the love of a friendly taxi driver for anthropology and Greek civilisation. While most locals had no idea what Greece even was, Laidon was eager to know more about the culture of my country which he admired for its ancient civilisation.

Thanks to Nostra, the only person around who could speak English, I was able to interview and photograph the elders, many of who had been alive in the beginning of the 20th century before any contact was made with other peoples. I was the second white person to ever step foot in their village and acknowledging that their civilisation is quickly vanishing they were eager to share with me all the information they could afford about their civilisation and how they used to be able to survive in the desert without disease or lacking food and water. The only outsider I saw was a half-Greek half-Ndebele local politician who visits them every 4 years -before elections- bringing with him a few bottles of wine; at the same time there is no water, electricity or any other public services in the area.

My Western scientific mind was challenged multiple times by the radically different understanding the San have of life and the world. From the snake healer who was able to control the behaviour of the snakes using potions and herb mixtures, to the entirely different approach of love, time, commitment, purpose of life and human relationships.

Resilience of any ecosystem is defined by its diversity. The totalitarianism of the Western civilisation and its economic system is condemning to death not only the traditional knowledge that is lost along with these tribes but ultimately humanity itself.
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