The South African San Institute (SASI) was registered in 1996 as a non‐governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to serving the San communities of Southern Africa (mostly South Africa, Namibia and Botswana). The San’s distinct hunter‐gatherer culture stretches back over 20,000 years, and their genetic origins reach back over one million years. Recent research indicates that the San, the aboriginal peoples of Southern Africa, carry the oldest genetic heritage of contemporary humanity. At the same time, they are a highly marginalised impoverished community with low levels of education and very high levels of unemployment. Over the past 20 years SASI has provided legal, advocacy, socio‐anthropological and related services, in a series of programmes dedicated to the practical empowerment of the San people.