: Using contemporary people as proxies for ancient communities is a contentious but necessary practice in anthropology. In southern Africa, the distinction between the Cape KhoeSan and eastern KhoeSan remains unclear, as ethnicity labels have been changed through time and most communities were decimated if not extirpated. The eastern KhoeSan may have had genetic distinctions from neighboring communities who speak Bantu languages and KhoeSan further away; alternatively, the identity may not have been tied to any notion of biology, instead denoting communities with a nomadic "lifeway" distinct from African agro-pastoralism. The Baphuthi of the 1800s in the Maloti-Drakensberg, southern Africa had a substantial KhoeSan constituency and a lifeway of nomadism, cattle raiding, and horticulture. Baphuthi heritage could provide insights into the history of the eastern KhoeSan. We examine genetic affinities of 23 Baphuthi to discern whether the narrative of KhoeSan descent reflects distinct genetic ancestry. Genome-wide SNP data (Illumina GSA) were merged with 52 global populations, for 160,000 SNPs. Genetic analyses show no support for a unique eastern KhoeSan ancestry distinct from other KhoeSan or southern Bantu speakers. The Baphuthi have strong affinities with early-arriving southern Bantu-speaking (Nguni) communities, as the later-arriving non-Nguni show strong evidence of recent African admixture possibly related to late-Iron Age migrations. The references to communities as "San" and "Bushman" in historic literature has often been misconstrued as notions of ethnic/biological distinctions. The terms may have reflected ambiguous references to non-sedentary polities instead, as seems to be the case for the eastern "Bushman" heritage of the Baphuthi.

Genetic heritage of the Baphuthi highlights an over-ethnicized notion of “Bushman” in the Maloti-Drakensberg, southern Africa / Daniels, R. J.; D'Amato, M. E.; Lesaoana, M.; Kasu, M.; Ehlers, K.; Chauke, P. A.; Lecheko, P.; Challis, S.; Rockett, K.; Montinaro, F.; Gonzalez-Santos, M.; Capelli, C.. - In: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HUMAN GENETICS. - ISSN 1537-6605. - 110:5(2023), pp. 880-894. [10.1016/j.ajhg.2023.03.018]

Genetic heritage of the Baphuthi highlights an over-ethnicized notion of “Bushman” in the Maloti-Drakensberg, southern Africa

Capelli C.
2023-01-01

Abstract

: Using contemporary people as proxies for ancient communities is a contentious but necessary practice in anthropology. In southern Africa, the distinction between the Cape KhoeSan and eastern KhoeSan remains unclear, as ethnicity labels have been changed through time and most communities were decimated if not extirpated. The eastern KhoeSan may have had genetic distinctions from neighboring communities who speak Bantu languages and KhoeSan further away; alternatively, the identity may not have been tied to any notion of biology, instead denoting communities with a nomadic "lifeway" distinct from African agro-pastoralism. The Baphuthi of the 1800s in the Maloti-Drakensberg, southern Africa had a substantial KhoeSan constituency and a lifeway of nomadism, cattle raiding, and horticulture. Baphuthi heritage could provide insights into the history of the eastern KhoeSan. We examine genetic affinities of 23 Baphuthi to discern whether the narrative of KhoeSan descent reflects distinct genetic ancestry. Genome-wide SNP data (Illumina GSA) were merged with 52 global populations, for 160,000 SNPs. Genetic analyses show no support for a unique eastern KhoeSan ancestry distinct from other KhoeSan or southern Bantu speakers. The Baphuthi have strong affinities with early-arriving southern Bantu-speaking (Nguni) communities, as the later-arriving non-Nguni show strong evidence of recent African admixture possibly related to late-Iron Age migrations. The references to communities as "San" and "Bushman" in historic literature has often been misconstrued as notions of ethnic/biological distinctions. The terms may have reflected ambiguous references to non-sedentary polities instead, as seems to be the case for the eastern "Bushman" heritage of the Baphuthi.
2023
Genetic heritage of the Baphuthi highlights an over-ethnicized notion of “Bushman” in the Maloti-Drakensberg, southern Africa / Daniels, R. J.; D'Amato, M. E.; Lesaoana, M.; Kasu, M.; Ehlers, K.; Chauke, P. A.; Lecheko, P.; Challis, S.; Rockett, K.; Montinaro, F.; Gonzalez-Santos, M.; Capelli, C.. - In: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HUMAN GENETICS. - ISSN 1537-6605. - 110:5(2023), pp. 880-894. [10.1016/j.ajhg.2023.03.018]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2944251
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