San people egalitarian in cultural practice and belief was cause by their hostile living environment and their foraging society. Base on egalitarian, the San society was develop with less social stratification and sex stratification. Since San lacked of wealth and property, everyone in their society was equal and their social structure was base on Kinship bonds. The San used to live in small family groups called band and they had their own territory, the rights to use the land are inherited bilaterally. The membership in the band is determine by family bonds and residency, and the band don’t have any chief political leader, but the people within the band tend to listen to someone who gain respect and trust and who lived with them for a long time. Within the band they share resources to each other and since they are hunters and gatherers, they move around in search of food and water resources. Sometime when resources are low within the band’s territory, they would hunt and gather on land owned buy other band.
However, permission must be obtained first. In San cultural they didn’t have warfare and people didn’t fight for resources, they practiced egalitarian to share resources and it is the only way for them to survive in the Kalahari environment. In their society, both female and male played a significant role for survival, therefore male and female achieved the same social status in their society. Not only the women played an important role in San offspring, they also produced most of the food resources; they collected nuts and berries for their basic daily diet. Men are responsible for hunting, they hunted for small animals that provided them with rich animal protein, but the food they produced was minimal. Even thought that San men produced less food than the women, their role was very important in food production cause they can get the most valuable food sources. But since women provide most of the food, their social status was almost equal to the men.
Women can practice everything that the men do in the society, and base on the book Nisa by Shostak the gender base violence in San society is very low. San believe in one powerful god, while at the same time recognizing the presence of lesser gods like spirit. Every San male or female can participate their religious ceremony, San believe that both men and women can obtain the energy called “n/um” by trance dancing and they believe the energy allow them to communicate with the gods and heal sickness. Not like other society San women are allow in such religious practice, but women didn’t practice as much as the men because the women think that to obtain the n/um could cause them great pain.
The San also practice a traditional custom called Hxaro, Hxaro is a custom base on giving and receiving gifts, the gifts value doesn’t necessary need to be equal and the receivers don’t need to return the gifts right away. The Hxaro practice allows the San to promote friendship and alliance with other bands. It also shows how San value the practice of giving and sharing. In San cultural both religious and custom are practice in an egalitarian way, everyone in their society is allows to practice. The San people were once living in an environment where people cannot survive with limited food resources and limited surface water. But because they practice egalitarian in cultural and belief, they were able to survive thousand of years in the Kalahari Desert.
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