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Khomani Cultural Landscape

South AfricaNamakwa Region


Khomani Cultural Landscape 

The Khomani Cultural Landscape is located in the northern section of the country, along the border with Botswana and Namibia, and coincides with the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park (KGNP). The wide stretch of sand is related with the culture of the once nomadic Khomani San people and the tactics that allowed them to adapt to difficult desert circumstances from the Stone Age to the present.

They developed ethnobotanical knowledge, cultural customs, and a worldview based on their environment's geographical peculiarities. The Khomani Cultural Landscape is a testament to the way of life that formerly flourished in the area and shaped the landscape over thousands of years.

The terrain contains historical, migratory, livelihood, memory, and resource markers of the Khomani and associated San peoples and other communities, both past and present, and attests to their adaptive responses and interactions to exist in a desert environment. The Khomani and associated San people were once nomadic peoples and are now one of South Africa's last indigenous communities.

They devised subsistence techniques to cope with the harsh environmental conditions, as well as ethnobotanical and veld knowledge, cultural activities, and a worldview in which geographical characteristics represent symbolic links between humans, wildlife, and the soil.

Thanks to the survival of the last speakers of the !Ui-Taa languages in the Khomani community, the Khomani are actively reclaiming their knowledge, rituals, and traditions, reviving a rich associative environment.

The Khomani Cultural Landscape reflects the Khomani and related San people's ethos of living lightly on the land and seeing themselves as part of nature, in a landscape where a respectful relationship between humans, plants, and animals connects them to this land in a unique way that epitomises sustainability.

The Khomani Cultural Landscape was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.

(Source UNESCO)


  • South AfricaNamakwa Region

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