The Dxeriku, Wayeyi, and Hambukushu are Bantus engaged in fishing, hunting, and raising livestock (pastoralism). The Xanekwe and Bugakwe are Bushmen, practicing hunting, fishing, and gathering wild plant foods.
Some members of these groups also live outside of Botswana in the north of Namibia, the south of Angola, and the southwestern part of Zambia. Due to the civil war of Angola and the Namibian war, the ethnic groups in these geographic areas have grown apart. The Angolan civil war has resulted with Angolan members in relative isolation.
The Bushmen (Bugakwe and Xanekwe) are also known as the San people and are the South African dwellers residing in small nomadic groups as gatherers and hunters. The other three ethnic groups are Bantus speaking the Bantu-related languages.
Subsistence strategies differ between the five ethnic groups. Xanekwe and Bugakwe are gatherers and hunters; the Bugakwe also scavenge in the swamps and the desert. The Wayeyi, Dxeriku, and Hambukushu engage in a mixture of hunting, fishing, farming, and gathering plant foods, and herding goats and cattle.
The Bugakwe males hunted with bow and poison darts, requiring great skill, and taking many days to track and hunt their prey. The hunter had to have complete familiarity with the environment and the behavior of the hunted. Children are taught to track each other at an early age, and this skill is enhanced as adults.
The male Xanakwe also hunted...
This type of hunting exists today, even though firearms were introduced in the latter part of the 1800's.
The males from all the groups are expert at fishing with hook and line, spear, nets, or bow and arrow. The men also were adept at building fences to protect their farms from wild animals. They tended the cattle, plowed the fields, made weapons, and built canoes.
The Xanekwe females collected swamp food, such as snare-caught small animals. The women were experienced in shallow-water-fishing with conical baskets (weirs). The Hambuktu, Wayeyi, and Dxeriku females were also adept at the same activities, they also worked in the fields and processed produce and grain. This encompassed weeding, planting, harvesting, separating, and processing the grain into flour using a pestle and mortar.
The children also assist with the economy depending on the ecology of the subsistence. The Xanekwe and Bugakwe chidren could only contribute minutely, because the high levels of skills needed to hunt and gather take time to acquire. The Wayeyi, Hambukushu, and Dxeriku young people contribute more since tasks take lesser time to learn. The male children can herd and tend to the goats and cattle. The young female inhabitants can perform the same agricultural tasks as the adult women.
The peoples from all the groups are involved in the economy of the market for nearly a century. The Xanekwe obtained leopard and zebra pelts with their extensive hunting skills to trade for necessities, such as clothing, axes, knives, and pots for cooking. All these groups hunted elephant for the ivory trade and also migrated to the South African mines as laborers. Internationally, the women of the Wayeyi and Hambukushu groups were