The !Kung San, as well as other groups of San in the Kalahari desert, exist in
small, nomadic groups living distantly from other peoples. Within the groups
there are hereditary leaders, sometimes considered chiefs, but they have limited
authority. Traditionally, social order was enforced through ridicule, forced
separation and sometimes even
Because of the disconnect between most of the nomadic groups, Bantu and
European immigrant groups have been able to oppress and dispossess the !Kung.
In fact, there are is some evidence that in the past San people have been
hunted for sport. The !Kung exist outside of the political arena with a small
voice in the national political
process.11 Not being recognized
as one of the tribal groups recognized in the constitution of Botswana, the
!Kung and other San groups have been absorbed into the Griqua sub-group, which
is an Afrikaans-speaking people of predominantly Khoisan
Having no social identity in the government, as well as populating a large
amount of Southern Africa, the !Kung have been losing more and more rights over
time being forced to settle into smaller and smaller amounts of land.
For the !Kung, a political system does not have any functional use. Having
group consensus is much more important than focusing on any specific leader.
With the way their society is set up, there is no one part of their group that
is more important than any other part.
Within the !Kung, conflicts over political pressures are minimal. There are
no true leaders within the village, instead everything is handled through
discussion and group consensus. When conflict does arise, it is dealt with
swiftly by the entire community and the problem is either removed or resolved
External to the !Kung things are a different matter. The African government
has gained increasing interest in the "unclaimed" land of the Kalahari desert.
Due to the !Kung's unrecognized identity in the political arena, they have
become more and more ignored by the government which has resulted in a loss of
of their home lands as well as a loss in their own cultural identity.
The !Kung do not place much importance on the title of leader, focusing more
on the group as a whole. They have no room in their society for a leadership
hierarchy, instead placing more emphasis on the group as a whole.