The Info List - Khoikhoi

The Khoikhoi
(/ˈkɔɪˌkɔɪ/; "people people" or "real people") or Khoi, spelt Khoekhoe in standardised Khoekhoe/Nama orthography, are a group of Khoisan
people native to southwestern Africa. Unlike the neighbouring hunter-gatherer San people, the Khoikhoi
traditionally practised nomadic pastoral agriculture.[1] When European immigrants colonised the area after 1652, the Khoikhoi
maintained large herds of Nguni cattle
Nguni cattle
in the Cape region. The Dutch settlers referred to them as Hottentots (/ˈhɒtənˌtɒts/; Dutch: Hottentotten), in imitation of the sound of the click sounds that are characteristic of the Khoekhoe language.[2] Since the late 20th century, the Khoikhoi consider that exonym derogatory[3][4][5][6] and offensive.[7][8] Archaeological evidence shows that the Khoikhoi
arrived in present-day South Africa
South Africa
from Botswana
through two distinct routes:[9]

travelling west, skirting the Kalahari to the west, then down to the Cape travelling southeast out into the Highveld
and then southwards to the south coast

The largest group of the Khoikhoi
is the Nama. (See also Damara people.)


1 History

1.1 Early history 1.2 Arrival of Europeans 1.3 Griqua 1.4 Kat River settlement (1829–1856) and the Khoi in the Cape Colony 1.5 Massacres in German South-West Africa

2 Culture

2.1 Religion 2.2 World Heritage

3 See also 4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links


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A Khoikhoi

Early history[edit] The Khoikhoi, originally part of a pastoral culture and language group to be found across Southern Africa, originated in the northern area of modern Botswana. This ethnic group steadily migrated southward, eventually reaching the Cape approximately 2,000 years ago. Khoikhoi subgroups include the Namaqua to the west, the Korana of mid-South Africa, and the Khoikhoi
in the south. Their husbandry of sheep, goats and cattle grazing in fertile valleys across the region provided a stable, balanced diet, and allowed the Khoikhoi
to live in larger groups in a region previously occupied by the San, who were subsistence hunter-gatherers. Advancing Bantu in the 3rd century AD encroached on the Khoikhoi
territory, pushing them into more arid areas. There was some intermarriage between migratory Khoi bands living around what is today Cape Town
Cape Town
and the San. But the two groups remained culturally distinct, as the Khoikhoi
continued to graze livestock and the San to subsist on hunting-gathering. Arrival of Europeans[edit] The Khoi first encountered Portuguese explorers and merchants around AD 1500. The ongoing encounters were often violent. Local population dropped after the Khoi were exposed to smallpox by Europeans, who carried it as an endemic disease. The Khoi suffered high mortality as they had no acquired immunity to the new infectious disease. The Khoi waged more frequent attacks against Europeans when the Dutch East India Company enclosed traditional grazing land for farms. Over the following century, the Khoi were steadily driven off their land, which effectively ended their traditional life. Khoikhoi
social organisation was profoundly damaged and, in the end, destroyed by colonial expansion and land seizure from the late 17th century onwards. As social structures broke down, some Khoikhoi
people settled on farms and became bondsmen (bondservants) or farm workers; others were incorporated into existing clan and family groups of the Xhosa people. Georg Schmidt, a Moravian Brother from Herrnhut, Saxony, now Germany, founded Genadendal
in 1738, which was the first mission station in southern Africa,[10] among the Khoi people in Baviaanskloof in the Riviersonderend Mountains.

Adam Kok, leader of the Griqua nation

Griqua[edit] See also: Griqua people Early European settlers sometimes intermarried with indigenous Khoikhoi
women, resulting in a sizeable mixed-race population now known as the Griqua. 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. Another group were the Griqua. Like other mixed-race peoples and the Khoikhoi, they left the Cape Colony
Cape Colony
and migrated into the interior. Responding to the influence of missionaries, they formed the states of Griqualand West
Griqualand West
and Griqualand East; these were later absorbed into the Cape Colony
Cape Colony
of the British Empire. Kat River settlement (1829–1856) and the Khoi in the Cape Colony[edit]

Khoi marksmen played a key role in the Cape Frontier Wars

By the early 1800s, the remaining Khoi of the Cape Colony
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" Khoi 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 the Khoi 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-speaking Gonaqua Khoi, but the settlement also began to attract other Khoi, Xhosa and mixed-race groups of the Cape. The Khoi were known at the time for being very good marksmen, and were often invaluable allies of the Cape Colony
Cape Colony
in its frontier wars with the neighbouring Xhosa. In the Seventh Frontier War (1846–1847) against the Gcaleka
Xhosa, the Khoi gunmen from Kat River distinguished themselves under their leader Andries Botha
Andries Botha
in the assault on the "Amatola fastnesses". (The young John Molteno, later Prime Minister, led a mixed Commando in the assault, and later praised the Khoi as having more bravery and initiative than most of his white soldiers.)[11] However harsh laws were still implemented in the Eastern Cape, to encourage the Khoi 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 rose against the Cape Government, large numbers of Khoi for the first time joined the Xhosa rebels. After the defeat of the rebellion and the granting of representative government to the Cape Colony
Cape Colony
in 1853, the new Cape Government endeavoured to grant the Khoi 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".[12] Thus, the government enacted the 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.[13]

prisoners of war in German South-West Africa, 1904

Massacres in German South-West Africa[edit] See also: Herero and Namaqua genocide From 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. 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.[14][15] Culture[edit] Religion[edit] The religious mythology of the Khoikhoi
gives special significance to the Moon, which may have been viewed as the physical manifestation of a supreme being associated with heaven. Tsui'goab is also believed to be the creator and the guardian of health, while Gunab is primarily an evil being, who causes sickness or death.[16] Many Khoikhoi
have converted to Christianity and Nama Muslims make up a large percentage of the Namibia's Muslims.[17] World Heritage[edit] UNESCO
has recognised Khoikhoi
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
International Astronomical Union
named the primary component of the binary star Mu¹ Scorpii after the traditional Khoikhoi
name Xami di mura ('eyes of the lion').[18] See also[edit]

South Africa
South Africa

Herero and Namaqua genocide Nama people Khoikhoi
mythology Griqua people History of South Africa Hottentot Venus


^ Richards, John F. (2003). "8: Wildlife and Livestock in South Africa". The Unending Frontier: An Environmental History of the Early Modern World. California World History Library. 1. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 296. ISBN 9780520939356. Retrieved 17 November 2016. The nomadic pastoral Khoikhoi
kraals were dispersed and their organization and culture broken. However, their successors, the trekboers and their Khoikhoi
servants, managed flocks and herds similar to those of the Khoikhois. The trekboers had adapted to African-style, extensive pastoralism in this region. In order to obtain optimal pasture for their animals, early settlers imitated the Khoikhoi
seasonal transhumance movements and those observed in the larger wild herbivores.  ^ Rev. Prof Johannes Du Plessis, B.A., B.D. (1917). "Report of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science". pp. 189–193. Retrieved 5 July 2010. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Strobel, Christoph (2008). "A Note on Terminology". The Testing Grounds of Modern Empire: The Making of Colonial Racial Order in the American Ohio Country and the South African Eastern Cape, 1770s–1850s. Peter Lang.  ^ Desmond, Adrian; Moore, James (2014). "Living in Slave Countries". Darwin's Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin's Views on Human Evolution. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 103.  ^ Jeremy I. Levitt, ed. (2015). "Female "things" in international law". Black Women and International Law. Cambridge University Press. p. 291.  ^ "Bring Back the 'Hottentot Venus'". Web.mit.edu. 15 June 1995. Retrieved 13 August 2012.  ^ "Hottentot". American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Fifth ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 2011.  ^ "'Hottentot Venus' goes home". BBC News. 29 April 2002. Retrieved 13 August 2017.  ^ Pre-colonial Cultures in South Africa: The San and Khoikhoi About.com ^ The Pear Tree Blossoms, Bernhard Krueger, Hamburg, Germany ^ Molteno, P. A. (1900). The life and times of Sir John Charles Molteno, K. C. M. G., First Premier of Cape Colony, Comprising a History of Representative Institutions and Responsible Government at the Cape. London: Smith, Elder & Co.  ^ Vail, Leroy, ed. (1989). The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0520074203. Retrieved 7 April 2015.  ^ Fraser, Ashleigh (3 June 2013). "A Long Walk To Universal Franchise in South Africa". HSF.org.za. Retrieved 7 April 2015.  ^ 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. ISBN 978-0-313-36256-9 ^ Moses, A. Dirk (2008). Empire, Colony, Genocide: Conquest, Occupation and Subaltern Resistance in World History. New York: Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781845454524. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link) ^ "Reconstructing the Past – the Khoikhoi: Religion and Nature".  ^ "Islam in Namibia, making an impact". Islamonline.net.  ^ "IAU Approves 86 New Star Names From Around the World" (Press release). IAU.org. 11 December 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

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, Travels into the Interior of South Africa
South Africa
(London, 1801); Bleek, Wilhelm, Reynard the Fox in South Africa; or Hottentot Fables and Tales (London, 1864); Emil Holub, Seven Years in South Africa
South Africa
(English translation, Boston, 1881); G. W. Stow, Native Races of South Africa
South Africa
(New York, 1905); A. R. Colquhoun, Africander Land (New York, 1906); L. Schultze, Aus Namaland und Kalahari (Jena, 1907); Meinhof, Carl, Die Sprachen der Hamiten (Hamburg, 1912); Richard Elphick, Khoikhoi
and the Founding of White South Africa (London, 1977)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Khoikhoi.

has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Hottentots.

Cultural Contact in Southern Africa by Anne Good for the Women in World History website An article on the history of the Khoikhoi The Khoekhoe People of Southern Africa

v t e

Ethnic groups in Namibia

Bold denotes major ethnic groups.

Bantu peoples


Himba Herero Tijimba Ovambanderu Zemba


Ndonga Uukwambi Ongandjera Uukwaluudhi Ombalantu Uukolonkandhi Oukwanyama Mbadja


Damara Nama Caprivians Kavangos Tswana


Afrikaner British German Jewish Portuguese


Baster Cape Coloureds Oorlam


San Khoikhoi !Kung

v t e

Ethnic groups in South Africa



Bhaca Bhele Fengu Hlubi Ndebele Pondo


Swazi Ndwandwe Thembu Xhosa

Gcaleka Gqunukhwebe Gaika Xesibe


Fingo Khumalo


Basotho/S. Sotho

Bakoena Bataung Batlokwa

Pedi/N. Sotho

Balobedu Mabelane




Hlengwe Xika N'walungu Gwamba Tswha Rhonga Hlanganu Nhlave Bila Dzonga Copi Ndzawu Thonga


Ngona Lemba

Khoi and San


!Kung ǀXam


Nama Strandloper



Boer Cape Dutch Huguenots

British Germans Greeks Irish Italians Jews


Lebanese Portuguese


Cape Coloureds Cape Malay Griqua Oorlams


Chinese Indian


Japanese Koreans Pakistanis

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