Bushmen (Dutch, Bosjesmans), a tribe of S. Africa, inhabiting both banks of the Orange river. The desert region occupied by them S. of the river is within the nominal limits of Cape Colony, and is designated as Great Bushman Land. The Bushmen resemble the Hottentots, but their figure is smaller and more spare, while their life of constant warfare and privation has given them a crafty, savage look, at variance with the simple, stolid expression of the Hottentots. Their language resembles the Hottentot dialect in its harsh, guttural, and snorting sounds, but the two people do not understand each other. They have no fixed residence, build no dwellings, but live in families and roam about, resting under trees, bushes, and other casual shelter, subsisting upon plunder, eating raw flesh, and when that fails living on snakes, mice, grubs, and vermin. In drinking they lie down. Their usual clothing is a mere sheepskin, although they wear caps or other garments when they can procure them. They are armed with knives, small bows and poisoned arrows, which they use with dexterity.
In their own language they are called Saab or Saan. A small number of them in Cape Colony, employed as menials, are comparatively civilized; but missionary efforts are not very successful among them, though active especially on the S. E. boundary, where Hottentots live together with Bushmen.