The knowledge of Fynbos begins thousands of years ago with the history of the Bushmen - the natives who first occupied the lands and the mountains of southern Africa - in particular the Western Cape - and whose existence today is perilously close to extinction due to uncaring Governments and ruthless mining companies.
The Bushmen (a collective name for the Khoisan, San and Hottentots) were hunter-gatherers, small in size and brown skinned. The many artifacts which have been found in modern times, such as stone implements, indicate their relatively advanced way of surviving. More revealing are the so called Bushmen paintings found in the caves where they often dwelled.
Peace loving, they cherished family life and spiritual beliefs.
God lived everywhere in Nature. The spirit of their ancestors appeared in many forms around them and often within them. It is easy to understand how they came to glean such indepth knowledge of the unique flora of the Western Cape.
|They were able to extract poison from certain plants, used for dipping their spears and arrows into before hunting for food. And they were able to heal their sick with medicinal plants. As warriors they were no match to the tall, black, warring Nguni people (modern day Xhosa , Zulu and Swazi) who infiltrated from the northern parts of southern Africa and East Africa in search for new pastures for their cattle. Later the Europeans arrived and many more Bushmen perished. Nevertheless there were a number of scientifically inclined Europeans who acquired valuable information from the Bushmen.