Our raw materials are sourced through a well-established network of rural harvesting programs that fortify our commitment to the promotion of sustainable harvesting of Southern Africa’s precious botanical resources. As a licensed collaborator on a bio-prospecting license with our joint venture partner, Afrigetics Botanicals sales help to create a royalty payment to the national bio-prospecting fund which is distributed by DEA to traditional knowledge owners.
We alsoacknowledge that the San are the original holders of much of the powerful botanical knowledge that Southern Africa holds. With this in mind Afrigetics distributes a share of our profits from the sales of our retail products range to the San Council.
Who are the San? (From WIMSA website)
The San, ‘Bushmen’ or Basarwa are the living descendants of the first populations that inhabited in southern Africa over 20,000 years ago. They are famous the world over for their distinctive ‘click’ languages (see box), their rich culture rooted in thousands of years of hunting and gathering, and their unrivalled knowledge of the lands they inhabit. Despite all this, they are also among the most disadvantaged people in the region.
Until very recently, most San were hunter-gatherers, using their exceptional knowledge of local flora and fauna to subsist in some the world’s most inhospitable lands, including the Kalahari Desert. People lived in bands of 10 to 40 people, which contrary to popular stereotypes occupied well defined territories, where they the had access to water, plant foods, game, and other resources. With no centralised leadership structures, decisions were made by consensus. Material possessions were distributed on an egalitarian basis, and men and women, though they had different roles, were treated as equals. There was no sense of collective San identity. Rather, communities labelled themselves by local groupings, which were usually based on linguistic differences. The extent to which San were reliant solely on hunting and gathering and how much they interacted with other groups is still being debated and documented by anthropologists, but there is no doubt that the traditional way of life has all but come to an end in most parts of southern Africa.
With the expansion of socially dominant African groups as well as European settlers and their farming economies, San communities were dispossessed of vast tracts of their traditional lands. Gradually, they were either pushed towards the margins of their ancestral territories, or incorporated into the new social order as impoverished landless labourers. In the wake of this upheaval, some communities lost languages, cultural practices and important pieces of indigenous knowledge and many became riddled by social problems. The present day 100 000 San, belonging to more than 13 different language groups, continue to live in the southern African region. The vast majority of these are in Botswana and Namibia, whose populations number 46 000 and 38 000 respectively. In Angola there are 7000 San and in South Africa there are 6000. Zambia and Zimbabwe also contain small San communities numbering just a few hundred.