Early historyThe broad ethnic designation of "Khoekhoen", meaning the peoples originally part of a pastoral culture and language group to be found across Southern Africa, is thought to refer to a population originating in the northern area of modern Botswana. This culture steadily spread southward, eventually reaching the Cape approximately 2,000 years ago. "Khoekhoe" groups include Nama people, ǀAwakhoen to the west, and Khoemana, ǀKx'abakhoena of South and mid-South Africa, and the Eastern Cape. Both of these terms mean "Red People", and are equivalent to the Xhosa language, IsiXhosa term "amaqaba". Husbandry of sheep, goats and cattle grazing in fertile valleys across the region provided a stable, balanced diet, and allowed these lifestyles to spread, with larger groups forming in a region previously occupied by the San people, subsistence foragers. Bantu languages, Ntu-speaking agriculturalist culture is thought to have entered the region in the 3rd century AD, pushing pastoralists into the Western areas. The example of the close relation between the ǃUriǁ’aes (High clan), a cattle keeping population, and the !Uriǁ’aeǀ’ona (High clan children), a more-or-less sedentary forager population (also known as "Strandlopers"), both occupying the area of Cape Town, ǁHuiǃgaeb, shows that the strict distinction between these two lifestyles is unwarranted, as well as the ethnic categories that are derived. Foraging peoples who ideologically value non-accumulation as a social value system would be distinct, however, but the distinctions among “Khoekhoe pastoralists”, “San hunter-gatherers” and “Bantu agriculturalists” do not hold up to scrutiny, and appear to be historical reductionism.
Arrival of EuropeansKhoe-speaking peoples traded with seafarers from all over the globe for centuries, going back into ancient times, and this undoubtedly included some Europeans, perhaps even Roman vessels, but Portuguese discoveries, Portuguese explorers and merchants are the first to record their contacts, in the 15th and 16th centuries AD. The ongoing encounters were often violent. In 1510, at the Battle of Salt River, Francisco de Almeida and fifty of his men were killed and his party were defeated by ox-mounted !Uriǁ’aekua ("Goringhaiqua" in Dutch approximate spelling), which was one of the so-called Khoekhoe clans of the area that also included the !Uriǁ’aeǀ’ona ("Goringhaicona", also known as "Strandlopers"), said to be the ancestors of the !Ora nation of today. In the late 16th century, Portuguese, French, Danish, Dutch and English but mainly Portuguese ships regularly continued to stop over in Table Bay en route to the Indies. They traded tobacco, copper and iron with the Khoekhoe language, Khoekhoe-speaking clans of the region, in exchange for fresh meat. Local population dropped after smallpox contagion was spread through European activity. The Khoe-speaking clans suffered high mortality as immunity to the disease was rare. This increased, as military conflict with the intensification of the colonial expansion of the Dutch East India Company, United East India Company that began to enclose traditional grazing land for farms. Over the following century, the Khoe-speaking peoples were steadily driven off their land, resulting in numerous northwards migrations, and the reformulation of many nations and clans, as well as the dissolution of many traditional structures. "Khoekhoe" social organisation was thus profoundly damaged by the colonial expansion and land seizure from the late 17th century onwards. As social structures broke down, many Khoekhoen settled on farms and became bondsmen (bondservants, serfs) or farm workers; others were incorporated into clans that persisted. Georg Schmidt, a Moravian Church, Moravian Brother from Herrnhut, Saxony, now Germany, founded Genadendal in 1738, which was the first mission station in southern Africa, among the Khoe-speaking peoples in Baviaanskloof in the Riviersonderend Mountains. The colonial designation of "Baasters" came to refer to any clans that had European ancestry in some part and adopted certain Western cultural traits. Though these were later known as Griqua (Xirikua or Griekwa) they were known at the time as "Basters" and in some instances are still so called, e. g., the Bosluis Basters of the Richtersveld and the Baster community of Rehoboth, Namibia, mentioned above. Arguably responding to the influence of missionaries, the states of Griqualand West and Griqualand East were established by the Kok dynasty; these were later absorbed into the Cape Colony of the British Empire. Beginning in the late 18th century, Oorlam communities migrated from the Cape Colony north to Namaqualand. They settled places earlier occupied by the Nama. They came partly to escape Dutch East India Company, Dutch colonial conscription, partly to raid and trade, and partly to obtain herding lands. Some of these emigrant Oorlams (including the band led by the outlaw Jager Afrikaner and his son Jonker Afrikaner in the Transgariep) retained links to Oorlam communities in or close to the borders of the Cape Colony. In the face of gradual Boer expansion and then large-scale Dorsland Trek, Boer migrations away from British rule at the Cape, Jonker Afrikaner brought his people into Namaqualand by the mid-19th century, becoming a formidable force for Oorlam domination over the Nama and against the Bantu languages, Bantu-speaking Herero people, Hereros for a period.
Kat River settlement (1829–1856) and Khoena in the Cape ColonyBy the early 1800s, the remaining Khoe-speakers of the Cape Colony suffered from restricted civil rights and discriminatory laws on land ownership. With this pretext, the powerful Commissioner General of the Eastern Districts, Andries Stockenstrom, facilitated the creation of the "Kat River" Khoe settlement near the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony. The more cynical motive was probably to create a buffer-zone on the Cape's frontier, but the extensive fertile land in the region allowed people to own their land and build communities in peace. The settlements thrived and expanded, and Kat River quickly became a large and successful region of the Cape that subsisted more or less autonomously. The people were predominantly Afrikaans language, Afrikaans-speaking !Gonakua, but the settlement also began to attract other diverse groups. Khoekua were known at the time for being very good marksmen, and were often invaluable allies of the Cape Colony in its Xhosa Wars, frontier wars with the neighbouring Xhosa people, Xhosa politics. In the Xhosa Wars, Seventh Frontier War (1846–1847) against the Gcaleka, the Khoekua gunmen from Kat River distinguished themselves under their leader Andries Botha in the assault on the "Amatola Mountains, Amatola fastnesses". (The young John Molteno, later Prime Minister, led a mixed Commando in the assault, and later praised the Khoekua as having more bravery and initiative than most of his white soldiers.) However harsh laws were still implemented in the Eastern Cape, to encourage the Khoena to leave their lands in the Kat River region and to work as labourers on white farms. The growing resentment exploded in 1850. When the Xhosa people, Xhosa rose against the Cape Colony, Cape Government, large numbers Khoeǀ’ona joined the Xhosa rebels for the first time. After the defeat of the rebellion and the granting of representative government to the Cape Colony in 1853, the new Cape Government endeavoured to grant the Khoena political rights to avert future racial discontent. Attorney General William Porter was famously quoted as saying that he "would rather meet the Hottentot at the hustings, voting for his representative, than meet him in the wilds with his gun upon his shoulder". Thus, the government enacted the Cape Qualified Franchise, Cape franchise in 1853, which decreed that all male citizens meeting a low property test, regardless of colour, had the right to vote and to seek election in Parliament. However, this non-racial principle was eroded in the late 1880s by a literacy test, and later abolished by the Apartheid Government.
Massacres in German South-West AfricaFrom 1904 to 1907, the Germans took up arms against the Khoikhoi group living in what was then German South-West Africa, along with the Herero people, Herero. Over 10,000 Nama, more than half of the total Nama population at the time, may have died in the conflict. This was the single greatest massacre ever witnessed by the Khoikhoi people.Jeremy Sarkin-Hughes (2008) ''Colonial Genocide and Reparations Claims in the 21st Century: The Socio-Legal Context of Claims under International Law by the Herero against Germany for Genocide in Namibia, 1904–1908'', p. 142, Praeger Security International, Westport, Conn.
ReligionThe religious mythology of the Khoe-speaking cultures gives special significance to the Moon, which may have been viewed as the physical manifestation of a supreme being associated with heaven. Thiǁoab (Tsui'goab) is also believed to be the creator and the guardian of health, while ǁGaunab is primarily an evil being, who causes sickness or death. Many Khoe-speakers have converted to Christianity and Islam in Namibia, Nama Muslims make up a large percentage of Namibia's Muslims.
World HeritageUNESCO has recognised Khoe-speaking culture through its inscription of the Richtersveld as a World Heritage Site. This important area is the only place where transhumance practices associated with the culture continue to any great extent. The International Astronomical Union named the primary component of the binary star Mu1 Scorpii, Mu¹ Scorpii after the traditional Khoekhoe language name ''Xami di mûra'' ('eyes of the lion').
List of Khoekhoe peoplesThe classification of Khoikhoi peoples can be broken down roughly into to groupings: Northern Khoikhoi & Southern Khoikhoi (''Cape Khoi'').
Northern KhoikhoiThe Northern Khoikhoi are referred to as the Nama people, Nama or Namaqua and they have among them 11 formal clans: * Khaiǁkhaun (Red Nation, Namibia, Red Nation) at Hoachanas, the main group and the oldest Nama clan in Namibia * ǀKhowesen (Direct descendants of Captain Hendrik Witbooi (Namaqua chief), Hendrik Witbooi) who was killed in the battle with Germans on 29 October 1905. The , Khowesin, reside in modern-day Gibeon, Namibia, Gibeon under the leadership of Ismael Hendrik Witbooi the 9th Gaob (meaning captain) of the , Khowesen Gibeon, Namibia, Gibeon, situated 72 km south of Mariental, Namibia, Mariental and 176 km north of Keetmanshoop just off the B1, was originally known by the name Khaxa-tsûs. It received its name from Kido Witbooi first Kaptein of the ǀKhowesin. * ǃGamiǂnun (Bondelswarts) at Warmbad, Namibia, Warmbad * ǂAonin (Southern Topnaars) at Rooibank * ǃGomen (Northern Topnaars) at Sesfontein * ǃKharakhoen (Fransman Nama) at Gochas. After being defeated by German Empire, Imperial Germany ''Schutztruppe'' in the Battle of Swartfontein on 15 January 1905, this Nama group split into two. Part of the ǃKharakhoen fled to Lokgwabe, Botswana, and stayed there permanently, the part that remained on South West African soil relocated their tribal centre to Amper-Bo. In 2016 David Hanse was inaugurated as chief of the clan. * ǁHawoben (Veldschoendragers) at Koës * !Aman at Bethanie which was led by Cornelius Frederick * ǁOgain (Groot Doden) at Schlip * ǁKhauǀgoan (Swartbooi Nama) at Rehoboth, Namibia, Rehoboth, later at Salem, Namibia, Salem, Ameib, and Franzfontein * Kharoǃoan (Keetmanshoop Nama) under the leadership of Hendrik Tseib split from the Red Nation in February 1850 and settled at Keetmanshoop. Among the Namaqua are also the Oorlam people, Oorlams who are a southern Khoikhoi people of mixed-race ancestry that trekked northwards over the Orange River and where absorbed into the greater Nama identity. The Oorlams themselves are made up of 5 smaller clans: * ǀAixaǀaen (Orlam Afrikaners), the first group to enter and permanently settle in Namibia. Their leader Klaas Afrikaner left the Cape Colony around 1770. The clan first built the fortress of ǁKhauxaǃnas, then moved to Blydeverwacht, and finally settled at Windhoek. * ǃAman (Bethanie Orlam) subtribe settled at Bethanie, Namibia, Bethanie at the turn of the eighteenth century. * Kaiǀkhauan (Khauas Nama) subtribe formed in the 1830s, when the Vlermuis clan merged with the Amraal family. Their home settlement became Naosanabis (now Leonardville, Namibia, Leonardville), which they occupied from 1840 onward. This clan ceased to exist after military defeat by German Empire, Imperial German ''Schutztruppe'' in 1894 and 1896. * ǀHaiǀkhauan (Berseba Orlam) subtribe formed in 1850, when the Tibot and Goliath families split from the ǃAman to found Berseba. * ǀKhowesin (Witbooi Orlam) subtribe was the last to take up settlement in Namibia. They originated at Pella, Northern Cape, Pella, south of the Orange River. Their home town became Gibeon, Namibia, Gibeon. These Namaqua inhabit the Great Namaqualand region of Namibia. There are also minor Namaqua clans that inhabit the Little Namaqualand regions south of the Orange River in north western South Africa.
Southern Khoikhoi (''Cape Khoi'')The southern band of Khoekhoe peoples (Sometimes also called the Cape Khoi) inhabit the Western Cape and Eastern Cape Provinces in the south western coastal regions of South Africa. They are further divided into 4 subgroups, Eastern Cape Khoi, Central Cape Khoi, Western Cape Khoi and Peninsular Cape Khoi.
The Eastern Cape Khoi* Hoengeyqua. * Damasonqua. * Gonaqua.
Central Cape Khoi* Inqua. * Houtunqua. * Gamtobaqua. (''possible historical subgroup of the Houtunqua''). * Attaqua. * Gouriqua. * Chamaqua.
Western Cape Khoi* Cochoqua. * Hessequa. * Chainoqua. * Chairiguriqua.
Peninsular Cape KhoiGoringhaiqua: The Goringhaiqua are a single tribal authority made from the two houses of the Goringhaikona & Gorachouqua.
Early European theories about Khoekhoe originsEuropean theories about the origins of the Khoekhoe are historically interesting in their own right. Of the European theories proposed, notable is that summarised in the commissioned ''Grammar and Dictionary of the Zulu Language''. Published in 1859, this put forward the idea of an origin from Egypt that appears to have been popular amongst men of learning in the region. The reasoning for this included the (supposed) distinctive Caucasian elements of the Khoekhoe's appearance, a "wont to worship the moon'", an apparent similarity to the antiquities of Old Egypt, and a "very different language" to their neighbours. The ''Grammar'' says that "the best philologists of the present day ... find marked resemblances between the two". This conviction is echoed in an introduction to the Zulu language, which avidly often comments upon the language's various resemblances to Hebrew.
See also* Herero and Namaqua genocide * Nama people * San religion * Griqua people * History of South Africa * Khoisan * Sarah Baartman (1789–1815), aka "Hottentot Venus", South African Khoikhoi woman exploited as a freak show attraction in Europe
Further reading* P. Kolben, ''Present State of the Cape of Good Hope'' (London, 1731–38); * A. Sparman, ''Voyage to the Cape of Good Hope'' (Perth, 1786); * Sir John Barrow, 1st Baronet, Sir John Barrow, ''Travels into the Interior of South Africa'' (London, 1801); * Wilhelm Bleek, Bleek, Wilhelm, ''Reynard the Fox in South Africa; or Hottentot Fables and Tales'' (London, 1864); * Emil Holub, ''s:Seven Years in South Africa, Seven Years in South Africa'' (English translation, Boston, 1881); * G. W. Stow, ''Native Races of South Africa'' (New York, 1905); * A. R. Colquhoun, ''Africander Land'' (New York, 1906); * L. Schultze, ''Aus Namaland und Kalahari'' (Jena, 1907); * Carl Meinhof, Meinhof, Carl, ''Die Sprachen der Hamiten'' (Hamburg, 1912); * Richard Elphick, ''Khoikhoi and the Founding of White South Africa'' (London, 1977)