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The origin of livestock herding in South Africa

When: Wednesday, 24 August 2016 - Wednesday, 24 August 2016
Where: Braamfontein Campus East
Senate Room, 2nd Floor, Senate House
Start time:17:30

In his inaugural lecture, Professor Karim Sadr will discuss the origin of livestock herding in South Africa.

Professor Karim Sadr has been working on the question of the origin of livestock herding in South Africa ever since he arrived here a quarter of a century ago.

Worldwide, farming and herding are seen as the precursors of 'civilization' or better said 'complex societies,' so studying how, when and why hunters, gatherers, foragers and fishers decided to grow their own food rather than extract it from nature is important.

In South Africa, the oldest evidence for food production, sheep bones to be precise, is only 2 000 to 3 000 years old; relatively recent compared to places like the Near East and China, or even South America. Twenty-five years ago the conventional view was that the first herders in South Africa were an immigrant Khoe-speaking population from farther north who brought sheep and cattle with them.

It seemed clear what route the foreign herders took and how they interacted (or did not) with the local indigenous people, the San hunter-gatherers. Now we know that the matter was a bit more complex. In his inaugural lecture, Professor Sadr will attempt to describe some of this complexity.

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