"You can't protect a culture from outside," he says. "The law is there to help protect it. But if the people don't want to protect it themselves, they lose it."
Four dunes away from David Kruiper's traditional Bushman home, Katrina Rooi, 68, and her two sisters, Trooi Brow, 75, and Fytjie Kooper, 81, are doing their best to keep San culture alive.
They have built their grass huts on one of the six farms bought for the San by the government at a cost of $2.5 million.
Rooi remembers her father going hunting with bow and arrow for springbok and gemsbok in the Kalahari. While indiscriminate hunting is now illegal, she still goes daily into the bush to search for plants and herbs.
A dying language
"It's from this food that we have got so old," she says in Afrikaans, the common tongue of most San these days, although the three sisters can still speak traditional Khomani-San, the "click" language.
"So we can say scandal about the others, and they don't know what we are talking about," says Rooi with a laugh, adding that she tries to pass on the old language to the youngsters with only marginal success.
"We are the only three here who can speak Bushmen's language," says Fytjie Kooper, the oldest sister. "We got it from our mother's breast, our language. But we have to die, and it's going to die with us. Once all three of us are gone, there will be nothing."
None of the three sisters is conscious of all the talk of a new millennium.
"I know nothing of it," confides Kooper.
"I haven't even tried to find out what it means," says Rooi.
The only potential threat to them is that the farm water pump, next to their settlement, might not work if the power grid is hit by the Y2K bug. If the pump, which normally operates on alternate days, fails, the sisters will simply wait for the local police to bring an emergency supply of water.
Fleeting concern over such potential inconvenience is dwarfed by the overwhelming satisfaction of acquiring their own land on which to follow traditional lifestyles.
New life in the old life
"I have heard that when we go into this year 2,000 we will get absolutely a different kind of feeling -- a happiness that comes over your whole body," says Rooi. "If we can stay in Witdraai, I will climb this tree and sit on top of it in happiness.
"We had to live among the white people, and it was hard. We didn't understand the modern way of life. Now we have moved from the dead life we have had [in recent years] to a new life. We want to live the way we lived."
Rooi's days are now consumed by a routine that sees her up before dawn, sweeping out the grass hut after an eye-opening cup of coffee. When the men and children -- there are 20 family members in the compound -- rise, she makes their beds. Then she waters the tiny plot in which she is growing maize, beetroot and cucumber.
Next, she heads into the bush to forage for traditional food and medicines. After cooking and eating, she rests before picking up her needle to make Bushman beadwork to sell to tourists on their way to the national park. She retires to bed at sunset.
Across the compound, her sister, Trooi Brow, is pounding millet the way her ancestors did centuries ago -- between two flat stones -- for the chicken that roam the sandy lot.
"This is the place of our forefathers," she says with obvious satisfaction. "Now we want to stay in one place. We don't want to travel any more. We want to be buried here."
Along the rutted dirt road from Witdraai on the way to the Kalahari-Gemsbok National Park is the tiny San community of Welkom, a settlement of two dozen small brick houses, perched atop the endlessly rolling dunes.
Family with a future
There, Andries Vanwyk, 31, lives in a two-room, oil-lamp-lighted home with his wife, Elsie, 31, and their 10-year-old daughter Kalahari, named after the desert outside.
He literally scrapes a living, using a needle to scratch and burn animal figures into pieces of bone, through which he bores holes with a bow drill, offering them as key rings to passing tourists at $6.50.
He, too, knows little about any new millennium, but he views the land transfer as particularly benefiting his daughter.
"Our children will have a wonderful future," he says. "It's going to be a good time."
A final word from community leader Petrus Vaalvooi on the return of the Khomani-San's ancestral lands: "In the whole history of the Bushmen, it's the best chance we have ever had."