The San have a family-based society that can count up to fifty people, the San society is egalitarian, in the village everything is lived and deliberated together, everything is shared with all the clan people.
The food is also subdivided, within the clan, in equal parts; the hunter who kills a prey has the right and honor to divide the flesh between all the hunters and who has stayed in the village.
The San do not have the concept of private property but things are available to everyone and in the tribe they all feel the same.
There are no political or religious leaders within the clan, only in some cases an elder plays a leading role in matters such as hunting and where to camp, this role is usually acknowledged by his experience.
The San are a nomadic population and individuals of a certain clan move within a territory, delimited by the presence of other families and clans; within their territory the San find the necessary resources for their survival.
The inhospitable territory in which the San live, the great basin of Kalahari, has pushed this population to develop a highly efficient division of labor and to develop specific skills.
What follows is a clear separation between the roles undertaken by men and women, this clear difference in tasks is typical of the hunter-gatherers, men are hunting, while women are gathering tubers, berries, honey and fruits .
The importance of women is very high within the group and often their opinions have the highest priority, especially when it comes to food.
The San women spend 3-4 days a week in the bush to harvest wild plants, looking for both edible and medicinal plants.
The San have managed to survive in one of the most inhospitable territories of the planet thanks to their deep knowledge of the environment, they know perfectly the animals and their habits and are able to recognize and use 400-500 local plants.
Thanks to the knowledge of the places where the plants grow, the San perfectly know where to go according to their needs, the plants not only provide balanced nutrition, but also moisture and water, that is derived from the tubers and roots, even in time of drought.
Some plants are used to treat wounds and illnesses, others are used in healing ceremonies.
The San men are formidable hunters, especially of antelopes; they use bow and poisoned arrows and engage with their prey in long pursuits.
Despite the great importance given to hunting, that is sacred, about 70/80% of their diet is made up of vegetables, including berries, nuts, roots and melons, mainly harvested by women.
Life inside the clan is marked by some key stages: for boys it is the first hunt, for girls puberty and later the wedding and traditional ritual dances.
The San believe that a menstruating girl should be kept in tight isolation, so that if she looks at a man, he would remain motionless in the position he is and would be turned into a talking tree.
While there are no special rites for birth or marriage, when a woman San has to give birth she is simply placed behind a bush to give birth to her child, it is said that after only an hour of giving birth the woman is able to resume her normal life; only in some cases they use an infusion made with devil's claw roots (Harpagophytum procumbens) to relieve the pain.
Marriage is an event that remains limited between the groom and the bride; there are no particular rites and ceremonies involving the clan.
With regard to marriage, however, there are some rigid rules to be observed: it is forbidden to speak, to meet and look at the mother-in-law, it is compulsory to avoid looking into the face the father-in-law, adultery and incest are punished with death; whenever twins are born, they are killed, as are the deformed infants.
Twins are seen as a dangerous anomaly, because the San’s beliefs tell how a man is made up of two bodies, one invisible, comparable to our conception of the soul, and the physical body; the twins, on the other hand, are considered only two physical bodies without the soul.
When a person dies, the San bury the body in a fetal position and cover it with a skin cloak, the few objects owned by the person are destroyed and abandoned over the tomb, at that point the clan moves away from that place and transfers the whole village elsewhere.
The San fear the spirits of the dead and, for this reason, never return to the place of the tomb; they believe that the spirit remains present and active in that particular point, so they do not want to offend it and not to incur in its anger, if they pass near a burial site, they throw a small stone as a gift.
The San did not develop complex religious beliefs and rituals, they only believe that there are 2 deities the evil Gauab, who is also the lord of the dead, and the beneficial Kang or Kaggen.