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Fair Research Partnerships

March 2, 2017, was a historical day for the San communities of South Africa. They launched their own San Code of Research Ethics at the company gardens in Cape Town.

For decades the San have been of great academic interest, however, research relationships have often been inequitable or even exploitative. It was with the support of the TRUST project that the San were able to come up with their own code of ethics. Never before had a code been written by an indigenous group in Africa. Please scroll down for more information.  

The South African San Council is the main custodian of the code. The goal is to promote equitable and fair research relationships. If you wish to conduct research with the San communities, please contact the San Council before the time. 

Translations of the San Code

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25 Years of Research Experience

"In recent years San leaders have, with increasing confidence, arrived at the conclusion that most academic research on their communities was neither requested, nor useful, nor protected in any meaningful way. In many cases, dissatisfaction, if not actual harm was the result." (Page 4, The San Code of Research Ethics - Its Origins and History) 

This booklet describes 25 years of efforts to achieve fair and equitable research partnerships.

Documentaries on the San Code

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The San Code of Research Ethics



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Protecting San Indigenous Knowledge



The San Code in Rap

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!Khwa ttu Kids

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Black Diamonds - !Xun

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/Áuni Children - Kalahari

The Stream Al Jazeera English

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The Stream - Is there an ethical way to research indigenous people?

On August 16, 2018, The Stream Al Jazeera English broadcasted an episode dedicated to indigenous people, research practices and The San Code of Research Ethics. Click on the picture to watch. 

For more information on research ethics visit:

South African San Institute

7 Devon Road


Cape Town

South Africa

+27 (0)21 709 0807