The Bushmen are also called San. They have lived in southern Africa for over 1000 years, long enough for each subgroup to have a language that is very different than the others. One of these subgroups is the Vasekela. Each subgroup has their own language. The Vasekela live in Namibia, Angola and South Africa.
Europeans contacted the Bushmen around 1550. During this time, the Bushmen retreated from both Black Bantu peoples as well as White Europeans. As time went on, the Bushmen only had the most difficult places to live. They have given themselves the name that roughly translated to “the people” and outsiders have a name which means, “animals without hooves.” That name indicates they view outsiders as being like dangerous predators.
Living in the hardest places to survive has given them rare abilities. They are excellent game trackers, and they know how to find adequate food and water in the desert. Their social interactions are egalitarian; leaders hold limited power.
In the bush, Vasekela Bushmen gender roles are pragmatic. Men usually hunt while women find food and water. Yet both genders will do what it takes to care for their families, and there is no shame in changing roles. Women get married at age 19, usually to a man in his 20s. Half of their first marriages end in divorce, usually because of personal incompatibility. Domestic violence is rare because the village unit is so close that neighbors intervene.
In recent years the Bushmen have worked on other people’s farms or tended livestock, and they are paid with food. Their nomadic lives have been hampered by ranchers who fence in land. Cattle muddy the water and eat the brush that once benefitted the Vasekela Bushmen and their game.
Bushmen women are now dependent on their husbands, and domestic violence is more common. Homes are spread out, and there is no one to intervene.
The traditional beliefs of the Vasekela Bushmen include a supreme God, the creator. He is all-knowing. He punishes mankind through the weather. They also worship ancestral spirits and include shamans in some spiritual practices.
Though they have their traditional practices, the Vasekela Bushmen are also Christianized. Some have faith in the living Christ to help them through these difficult times.
The Vasekela Bushmen need God’s intervention to help them adjust to a changing world. They have been pushed around, marginalized and patronized. Their future is dark since they have to work for others instead of living independent lives. Women are especially vulnerable in the new world they face.
Pray for the Lord to lead the Vasekela Bushmen into a brighter future.
Pray for them to learn new, valuable skills that will help them prosper economically.
Pray for their leaders to point them to the risen and victorious Christ who can guide them through uncertainties.
Scripture Prayers for the Vasekela Bushman, Maligo in Namibia.
|Profile Source: Joshua Project|
|People Name General||Vasekela Bushman, Maligo|
|People Name in Country||Vasekela Bushman, Maligo|
|Population this Country||1,500|
|Population all Countries||20,000|
|Progress Scale||2 ●|
|Frontier People Group||No|
|Pioneer Workers Needed|
|ROP25 Name||Vasekela Bushman|
|Region||Africa, East and Southern|
|National Bible Society||Website|
|Persecution Rank||Not ranked|
|Location in Country||Kavango East and Zambezi regions; Otjozondjupa region: southeast of Omataku river. Source: Ethnologue 2020|