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A global team of geneticists and geologists have determined that "anatomically modern humans" originated from a region that's presently called the Okavango Delta. This area has northern Botswana as its center, and is connected to parts of Namibia and Zimbabwe. This—not some location in the Middle East, a region torn to pieces by oil and the Abrahamic religions—is the actual Eden. If an Eve ate fruit and talked to a snake, it was done here 150,000 years ago. If an Adam dreamt of boning a female companion, he felt this longing near "an enormous lake which sustained our ancestors for 70,000 years." Humans were isolated here, and evolved here into who we all are now—the Aussie couple visiting the Great Wall of China, the protester on a lamppost in Chile, the man sitting in the White House...

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The gates of our Eden were opened by the same processes that closed it, changes in climate. The Independent reports:

Between 110,000 and 130,000 years ago, the climate started to change and fertile corridors opened up out of this valley. For the first time, the population began to disperse – paving the way for modern humans to migrate out of Africa, and ultimately, across the world.
There were three migrations from this Eden. One went southeast, another northwest, and the third remained. The last became the San people of Botswana. Those who hold a very low opinion of their skin color and way of life call them Bushmen. But if you want to see who you are, whoever you are and wherever you come from, the San are as close as you will ever get to the ground of your kind of being.

The findings of this research were published on October 28, 2019, in the most prestigious scientific journal in the world, Nature. The article has this title: "Human origins in a southern African palaeo-wetland and first migrations."

Here is the opening of its abstract:

Anatomically modern humans originated in Africa around 200 thousand years ago. Although some of the oldest skeletal remains suggest an eastern African origin, southern Africa is home to contemporary populations that represent the earliest branch of human genetic phylogeny... Genetic divergence points to a sustained 70,000-year-long existence of the [human] lineage before an out-of-homeland northeast–southwest dispersal between 130 and 110 ka. Palaeo-climate proxy and model data suggest that increased humidity opened green corridors, first to the northeast then to the southwest... Taken together, we propose a southern African origin of anatomically modern humans with sustained homeland occupation before the first migrations of people that appear to have been driven by regional climate changes.

These findings will clearly force a rethinking of the most famous South African film, The Gods Must Be Crazy. It may indeed be more important, or at least more informative, than the "Book of Genesis." Directed by a white African, Jamie Uys, the film is about the capitalist, Western-centered society crashing into the older world of the San (the proper name of this group of humans). The San think Westerners (both white and black) are just plain nuts, and pin-point the problem of Western craziness (which spreads to the San tribe in the movie) as an empty Coca-Cola bottle. The spent commodity literally falls from the sky.


In this film, which is pretty bad (but so are many sections of Genesis), it was felt or (indirectly) expressed that the San were a very old people. There was something deep about them and their ways. And it wasn't just that they lived simple lives. They were clearly humans with a lot of time collected in their culture and relationships with their environment. The film knew they were special in a temporal way. And this feeling proved to be correct. In 2008, it was understood that the San had been around and in isolation for over 100,000 years. In 2016, they became the prime suspect for the origin of the human animal. In 2019, we now have genetic evidence.

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But I think, in light of the Nature article, we should read Maru, a 1971 novel by the great writer Bessie Head. She had no mercy when it came to revealing the truth about her society in Botswana, which was structured by white supremacy. At the top were the Europeans, in the middle, Asians, and at the bottom, Africans. The San were not even human enough to be at the bottom.

Bessie Head writes:

The white man found only too many people who looked different. That was all that outraged the receivers of his discrimination, that he applied the technique of the wild jiggling dance and the rattling tin cans to anyone who was not a white man. And if the white man thought that Asians were a low, filthy nation, Asians could still smile with relief—at least they were not Africans. And if the white man thought Africans were a low, filthy nation, Africans in Southern Africa could still smile—at least they were not Bushmen.... In Botswana they say: Zebras, Lions, Buffalo and Bushmen live in the Kalahari Desert. If you can catch a Zebra, you can walk up to it, forcefully open its mouth and examine its teeth. The Zebra is not supposed to mind because it is an animal. Scientists do the same to Bushmen and they are not supposed to mind, because there is no one they can still turn round to and say, 'At least I am not a...'.

And now we find out that, by strong genetic and geological evidence, this order might be totally backwards. The Bushman, or Masarwa, which, as Head explains in Maru, is the same as saying "nigger"—it's "a term of contempt which means, obliquely, a low, filthy nation"—are actually at the top, and we all fall and spread out from the ancestor that they are much closer to. History is never kind to racists.

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