n Acta Academica - Introduction

Supplement 2
  • ISSN : 0587-2405


The hunter-gatherers, also known as Bushmen or San, inhabited the present KwaZulu-Natal for 10 000 to 20 000 years. During that time, they named features in the landscape, and place names in the region were derived from their languages. Approximately two thousand years ago, the ancestors of the Zulu penetrated the region in small groups. Interaction with the Bushmen (or San) at different levels led the Zulu to adopt many Bushman place names which they adapted to their phonological and later orthographic systems. In due course, the Bushmen (San) became extinct, being killed or absorbed by the Zulu. Many of their place names survived, however, but were adapted into the Zulu phonological and orthographic systems to such an extent that they are no longer recognisable as Bushman (San) names, except through research and the application of validation criteria.

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