The San are the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa, where they have lived for at least 20 000 years. San has received the attention of anthropologists and the media with their survival and hunting skills, wealth of indigenous knowledge of the flora and fauna of Southern Africa, and their rich cultural traditions.
A belief that was prevalent for many years was that the San in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana and Namibia were descendants of fugitive people driven from better-watered parts of southern Africa. In fact, archaeological evidence reveals that the Kalahari has been occupied by hunter-gatherers for millennia.
These peoples have been extensively studied by anthropologists and archaeologists, seeking parallels between modern hunter-gatherers and their ancestors. The San, however, are not 'living fossils': like any other people they change with circumstances. Kalahari hunter-gatherers today retain many aspects of ancient lifestyles, but are not isolated from the modern world and the money economy.