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Bantu Migration from the North
Probably around the third century AD, Bantu people gradually began to settle along the eastern coastline of Southern Africa (modern Natal). In appearance these peoples are much larger and darker than the Khoe.

They practised mixed agriculture, keeping herds of cattle but they also cultivated crops from the north such as millet, sorghum, bulrush, pumpkins, vegetables and melon.

They had a sophisticated iron age economy with trading routes across the region with particular centres of manufacturing producing copper, gold ornaments and salt.

The Bantu were militarily more powerful than the Khoekhoe and San, with a strong hierarchy of chiefs and monarchs, iron weapons and permanent settlements, sometimes large enough for thousands of people.

However, they remained in the lowlands in the east of the country because rainfall elsewhere, in the mountains and west of the Kei River, was insufficient to support their agriculture.

Thus the Bantu and KhoeSan occupied different parts of the region and could coexist. Indeed, there is much evidence of trade and interaction between them. The Khoekhoe commonly wore iron and copper jewelry, and the Bantu used Khoe pottery.

The Xhosa and Zulu Bantu languages took up some use of clicks and it is clear that there was intermarriage (Nelson Mandela, for instance has some KhoeSan heritage). Eventually warfare broke out as the Bantu encroached upon the San in the mountain areas of the east - but this only occurred in recent centuries.



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