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Journey from Cape Town – Walvis Bay (overland) – Niais (central Nambia) by James Edward Alexander 1836-37,
Compiled by Sian Sullivan for
Future Pasts and Etosha-Kunene Histories
Last updated 08/05/2020

© This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

James Edward Alexander (British) 1836-37

Image above = The route (in red) covered by James Edward Alexander in 1836-37 (inset, Cape Town to Kamies River), mapped with assistance of the cartographer R. Arrowsmith[1], source:, accessed 7 April 2015.

Journey summary:

Alexander journeyed north from Cape Town, across the Orange River (!Garieb) via Lilyfontein and Aris, to the Kamiesberg, the !Khuiseb River, west to Walvis Bay, and then east via ≠Gans / Gamsberg to Niais (Krumnek) near |Ae||gams (Windhoek), then back south to Cape Town.

Primary source material:
Alexander, J.E. 2006[1838] An Expedition of Discovery into the Interior of Africa: Through the Hitherto Undescribed Countries of the Great Namaquas, Boschmans, and Hill Damaras, Vols.1 and  2. Elibron Classics Series, orig. published by London: Henry Colburn.

1. Places marked on the online map accompanying this historical sequence of references are coloured in green in the text below. They can be found on the google map by searching on their name. Those still to locate on the map are indicated by this symbol - §.

2. Follow these links for
a full bibliography and set of abbreviations.

3. A double-asterix [**] is a marker that there is something to be checked or added at this point in the text.

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In 1834 James Edward Alexander, a Captain in the British armed services, receives an invitation from the Royal Geographical Society in London ‘to perform an African Expedition of Discovery’[2], ‘with a view to the extension of knowledge of geographical knowledge and commerce’, westwards from Delagoa Bay – today’s Maputo in Mozambique[3].

Capn. James Edward Alexander[4]

In 1836, by independent means and ‘no hope of pecuniary gain’, but harbouring ‘a strong desire to attempt to discover some of the secrets of the great and mysterious continent of Africa’[5], Capn. James Edward Alexander journeys by sea to the cape of Good Hope (via Portugal, thence by ‘the flag-ship Thalia, on ‘a voyage of observation among the Colonies of Western Africa’), hoping ‘to promote trade, to civilize the native tribes that might be visited, and to extend a knowledge of our holy religion’[6]. He arrives to find southern Africa ‘in commotion’, the Zulus (or Zoolas as Alexander calls them) having ‘risen on the Portuguese’ at Delagoa (present day Maputo), slaying ‘the Governor and some of his people’[7], and that ‘some of the native tribes were carrying on a war of extermination against each other’[8]. He writes that ‘[i]t was evidently not the time for geographical research’[9], and starts to consider a different route. He notes that:

[i]t is remarkable that during the three centuries and a half which have elapsed since the celebrated Portuguese navigator, Bartolomeo Diaz, first doubled the ‘Cape of Storms,’ the progress of discovery should have advanced so slowly, that up to this day, the whole of the western region of Southern Africa, has hitherto remained comparatively a blank in our maps. The Great Fish River, supposed to extend upwards of three hundred miles from north to south, and said to receive, both from the eastward and from the westward, more than twenty tributaries, was only indicated by a dotted line; of the range and height of the mountains and elevated plains near it, no trace existed, and of their geological structure and general features, we were utterly ignorant.[10] 

He states further that although European travellers have by this time reached the southern bank of the Gariep (Orange) River, ‘neither in the last nor present century, is it recorded, that any European traveller has crossed within four hundred miles of its mouth, to the northern bank of the Orange River’[11], although he later remarks that his companion/employee the Englishman Robert Repp[12], after leaving the ‘South Seamen … at Angra Piquena Bay’ had stayed ‘about the Orange river for some time’[13].

Alexander, as a public emissary from the Cape[14], particularly seeks ‘to become acquainted with the Damaras’, a nation he identifies as ‘inhabiting between the 21st and 24th parallels’[15]. This ‘chief object of geographical research’ was soon to be known as more complex in that ‘Damara’ is simply the Nama or Khoe name for black people generally, and since it was Nama people that early European travellers first encountered in the western part of southern Africa, they also used the term Dama in this way. This has given rise to a confusing situation in the historical literature whereby the term ‘Damara’, as well as the central part of Namibia that in the 1800s was known as ‘Damaraland’, in fact referred to cattle pastoralists who called themselves Herero.

In any case, Alexander ‘determined to explore the country to the north of the Orange river, on the west coast’[16], a journey requiring, as he says, going ‘forth into the wilderness single-handed’[17] – although of course he was assisted every step of the way by the diverse team of guides and workers he appointed whilst in the Cape[18] and by the local people he encountered on his journey. His intention, in which he did not succeed, was to reach the Herero via Windhoek and to trade in cattle to supply the inhabitants of St. Helena island through Walvis Bay on the Atlantic[19] Through what he refers to as his exchange of ‘civilized for savage life’, he states that:

[i]t is earnestly to be hoped that extended intercourse with the natives beyond the Orange river will result from this expedition, for their benefit and for that of our colonists; and that from the Cape, the blessings of civilization and religion will proceed by degrees, towards the Mountains of the Moon[20].

His daily recorded tracks – ‘ a route of nearly four thousand miles… all of which, to the north of the Kamies[21], or Lion Mountain, has never appeared in any former map of Southern Africa’, are later corroborated by the geographer J. Arrowsmith[22]. Throughout his journey he shoots specimens for the expedition’s ‘natural history collection’, including ‘several long-tailed finches and handsome doves’ near the Swart Doorn/Black Thorn river in the vicinity of Clanwilliam[23], ‘birds and plants’ near Lilyfontein[24].

On 10th September Alexander leaves Cape Town (which he describes as ‘destructive to the lower classes, from the cheap wine and brandy’), having stocked up with a variety of guns and appropriate ammunition, an array of geographical measuring instruments [most of which broke], an ‘air pump for extracting poison’, various musical instruments ‘to keep my own people “alive,” and the natives in good humour’[25], and a quantity of items ‘for bartering with the natives for food’[26]. These included:

saws, hatchets, files, brass wire, knives, tinder-boxes, needles, beads, buttons, cotton shirts, shawls, handkerchiefs, red caps, and one hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco[27],

the latter considered essential to procure assistance and food ‘when all else fails to move the natives of South Africa’[28]. These items were often used in ‘opening shop’, as he puts it repeatedly - at which the commodities he brought would be exchanged for livestock, especially cattle[29], an event that frequently ended up in rather drunken parties[30].

Alexander notes the necessity of being accompanied by Europeans as well as natives, ‘who might combine, for evil, against their master’, and his attendants, bound to him for a year, are comprised of two Englishmen (Charles Taylor, in charge of stores and skilled in natural history and preserving ‘objects’, and Richard Repp in charge of cattle[31], an Irishman (John Elliot, private 27th Enniskillen Regiment, in charge of arms[32]), Alexander’s ‘Portuguese servant’ (Antonio J. Perreira[33]), Magassee - a ‘Bengalee’ ex-slave in the Cape Colony (described as his ‘half wild follower’) ‘who had lived 18 years with the Caffers’[34], and two ‘Bastaards’ of ‘mixed South African race’ (Hendrik the wagon driver and Wilhelm the wagon leader[35]), one of whose wife Metje is permitted to accompany the expedition to ‘the limits of the colony’ as cook and washerwoman[36]. As they travel, his men add ostrich feathers to their hats to help with protection from the sun and which he says adds to their ‘rather picturesque appearance’[37]. Various colonial gentlemen escort James Edward Alexander on the first miles of his journey[38]: Sir John Herschel, the Surveyor General; Major K.H. Mitchell who becomes his father-in-law; Dr Murray – principal medical officer; Mr Maclear – astronomer; Mr George Thompson – traveler who in 1827 had reached the Orange River; and Mr J. Wingate ‘his school-fellow and esteemed friend’[39].

In the western Cape he stays at a Rhenish mission station, Wopertal, in the Cedar Mountains (now Cederberg, much of which is ‘Cederberg Wilderness Area’), where a ‘small Hottentot community, under Mr. Lepold, are employed in gardening, carpentry, and shoe-making, and are industrious and thriving’[40]. As Alexander travels northwards from Cape Town he asks Dutch ‘field cornets’[41], i.e. local ‘overseers’ for the Cape administration of divisions of the country called ‘wards’[42], for assistance with roads and accommodation, only some of whom oblige[43]. The land here is now seen as offering ‘an abundance of room for English settlers’[44], with farms worked by ‘free coloured farm servants’ for six to nine shillings a month, plus ‘clothes and tobacco [34] periodically; and meat, meal, and vegetables daily’[45].[46]

In the vicinity of ‘the village of Clanwilliam’, where ‘Hottentots’ outnumber ‘Whites’ by around two to one[47], he notes that ‘[a]t this time, in the colony generally, there was a very restless spirit abroad. The farmers were dissatisfied with the government on account of the sudden emancipation of their slaves’ for which they seem to be receiving reduced and inadequate compensation, and speak of wishing to move on to land beyond the limits of the colony[48]. At the nearby ‘Nieuwouds Farm’[49] he examines ‘some Boschman caves, three or four hundred feet above the level of the plain’ notable for ‘the paintings upon them’ thus:

[i]n one I saw, not far from Nieuwouds farm, there was a flock of sheep with their lambs represented in red ochre, the outlines of which were surprisingly accurate; whilst higher up is another cave, in which Boschmans are seen combating with javelin, bow and arrows; these traces of a rude people, who have long since disappeared from the locality[50], are very interesting.[51]   

Illustrating European use of a ‘farm-post’ system, some time later he visits field-cornet Nieuwoud’s ‘field residence’ near the Zwart Doorn (‘Black Thorn’) river (see below):

[i]n a sheltered nook among the hills were two circular huts, or wigwams, and three smaller ones, composed of bent boughs neatly covered with yellow rush mats; by them stood a couple of wagons; there were also circular kraals of bushes, for cattle[52].


He asserts his wish to introduce olive growing for oil in the Cape, to replace the fat-tailed sheep so beloved of the Dutch farmers[53]. In Clanwilliam district at this time some ‘370 places or farms are occupied … which pay taxes; but there are many more which pay none for want of being surveyed’, and Alexander notes that the Surveyor-General’s department is overstretched and surveyed farms ‘overlap each other on the map in the most extraordinary manner’[54]. He also notes that ‘[s]ome propose to extend the boundary of the colony to the Orange river’, in part so as to formally accommodate farmers who have been paying taxes to the Cape government so as to be under protection, but whose farms (applied for ‘[i]n the Dutch time’) were knowingly situated beyond the colony boundary, and who due to environmental variability ‘itinerate beyond it to feed and water their cattle’[55]. The ‘rights of the aborigines’ beyond the border, ‘the Bastaards and Namaquas’, are described as ‘overlooked in all this’, but they are considered not to object if they know they will be ‘better protected against robbery and oppression amongst themselves’, and Alexander suggests that ‘[a] small military post, or police station, manned by steady Bastaards or Namaquas, might advantageously be placed on the Kamiesberg, or else somewhere near the frontier, to look after the Boschmans or other troublesome neighbours’[56] – ‘the barbarous tribes beyond the boundary’[57]. At this point Alexander makes a number of recommendations for the rationalisation of district and subdistrict management and communications, and also notes desire for resident clergymen[58].

Alexander reports proposals ‘to extend the boundary of the colony to the Orange river’ because the Clanwilliam colonial limit (northwards at the Koussie River) is ‘badly defined’ and noting that: there are anyway ‘a number of farmers living beyond the Kowsie, or Buffalo river the limit of Clanwilliam, who have paid taxes to government for the last thirty years’, having ‘obtained their farms in the following strange manner’:

[i]n the Dutch time they applied for places beyond the Olifont river. Now, in these days, the information of the Cape authorities was very limited regarding the geography of the colony, and matters were conducted in so careless a manner, that the farms in question were granted, and it turns out that, not only are they beyond the Olifant river, but beyond the [Cape government] boundary also, which the applicants well knew when they applied for them. These farmers continue to pay taxes, that they might have a claim on colonial protection[59].

Further, ‘in seasons of drought, colonists, white and coloured, itinerate beyond it to feed and water their cattle’[60]. Yet, as Alexander observes, ‘in all this rights of the aborigines are overlooked - the Bastaards and Namaquas’[61]. He thus argues for the extension of the colony on the grounds that, ‘if these people are willing to be received into the colony, and think that they would thus be better protected against robbery and oppression among themselves; then there would be no objection to the extension of the limits’, and that ‘[a] small military post, or police station, manned by steady Bastaards or Namaquas, might advantageously be placed on the Kamiesberg [northern Cape], or else somewhere near the frontier, to look after the Boschmans, or other troublesome neighbours’[62].

At Heere-logement (‘Gentleman’s Lodging’) he finds a large open cave with rock art graffitied with the names of earlier travellers, including ‘F. Vailant, 1783’ [see 1700s], noting an engraving of an elephant, although ‘these have long since [been?] disappeared from this locality’[63].

At the Rhenish mission station, Ebenezer[64], he ‘found a small thatched chapel, dwelling-house, and school, and the rude huts of some Hottentots near the river’[65]. Illustrating the manner by which mission stations became established amongst Nama communities, he describes Ebenezer as follows:

[t]he site was ‘formerly called Doorn Kraal (thorn village or) pen) and was an old location of a tribe of Hottentots under a captain of the name of Louis. He and his people professed a desire to have missionaries with them; the land, amounting to 11,180 acres, was surveyed by government for them, and the German Baron, Von Wurmb, assisted with some missionaries, founded this institution in 1833, and that of Wopertal. At Ebenezer, there are at present only one hundred and eighty Hottentots on the books, but if the missionaries succeed in leading out the waters of the Olifant river over the land, and obtain additional grazing ground on the opposite side of the river, in which I assisted them as much as I could, there is little doubt that the institution will thrive[66].

At the Zwart Doorn / Black Thorn River, Alexander observes that the dryness of the country means farmers need larger tracts of land and also to move periodically with their livestock ‘in the Tartar fashion’ for water and grazing[67]. He notes that:

Leopards and Boschmans are sometimes troublesome in this district. One of the former lately killed eleven horses here, before it was destroyed itself. Boschmans hovering about the frontier too, carry off a single sheep or a cow now and then from the flocks and herds in the field and devour in some neighbouring dell among the mountains.[68].

The farmer Niewoud is noted as killing a sheep for them and giving them ‘a small present of tobacco’ to prevent them robbing him in times of scarcity[69]. Alexander describes Boschman here in the following terms:

The Boschman here, as elsewhere, have neither sheep nor goats, nor do they cultivate grain or melons. At one season of the year they catch with their dogs the fawns of the springbok; at another, the nests of the white ants are robbed of grass seed, and of the ants themselves, for food. Flights of locusts they delight in, and honey is sometimes most abundant; roots are found after rain by their green shoots; and in the months of July and August, ostrich eggs supply the wants of these ‘children of the desert’[70].  

Whilst here Alexander sends:

two Namaqua messengers with presents of shawls to the chiefs at the Warm Bath [north of the !Garieb/Orange] and at Pella, on the Orange river, to announce my approach, to say that I came with no hostile intent, but merely to see the country, and to endeavour to open a trade with the natives, and I requested the chiefs to meet me at Lily Fountain, on the Kamiesberg Mountain[71].

He announces his arrival in the area at the house of the field cornet, Engelbrecht, ‘five miles south of Lilyfontein[72] which probably looked not dissimilar to the earlier sketches of the farm by Patterson and Gordon in 1779, with wagons and the circular reed mat huts of local Nama pastoralist positioned alongside each other. At this time most of the settled places encountered by Alexander were inhabited by Nama people who lived in portable reed mats that could be rolled up and taken on pack-oxen when moving through the territory. Many of the early European traders and missionaries throughout the Cape Province and southern Namibia took on this type of dwelling to also live in mat huts.

Cattle farm belonging to field cornet Hermanus Engelbregt, near the Kamiesberg, drawn by Gordon, R.J. (shown in bottom right), 1779. Source:, accessed 10 May 2014, last accessed 18 April 2020.

Top painting by William Patterson is of the farm of field cornet Hermanus Engelbregt in 1779 (as also painted on the same journey by Gordon, see above). The bottom image is a 2004 photograph of the same site, by M. Timm Hoffmann and Rick Rohde. In 2004 the wheat fields which remain more-or-less the same size and shape as those painted in the late 1700s.

Farm Engelbregt in 2017. Photo: Sian Sullivan, 9 September 2017.

At Lilyfontein, disputes – ‘principally for cattle trespassing on corn land’ – were settled once a month, with appeals form council decisions made to ‘the field cornet of the ward, or magistrate of the district’[73]. Further:

[y]early a herd is appointed, and yearly the ponds must be cleared out for the cattle. For misdemeanors there is no flogging, but a fine of goats is imposed. If honey-beer is made, the maker of it is expelled the station, and no native dances are allowed, for they open the door to vice, the dancers being in the habit of remaining to sleep where they danced, and relations hearing of this, quarrels ensue[74].

After an excursion he writes that he:

returned to Lily Fountain, where I found Taylor [the Englishmen Charles Taylor, keeper of the store and natural history expert[75]] laid up with severe pains in the face, called zinkins in the Cape, arising from cold. I tried all sorts of remedies without effect-hot water, laudanum, &c., and he got no relief, till I made an old Namaqua cup him with a small horn, which he applied to his scarified check, and sucked at the small end till the blood flowed. The Namaquas are very fond of local bleeding [tattoos], and the backs and sides of many of them are thickly scored with the knife. They are not over particular about having a horn; the mouth itself being frequently applied to the wound[76].

Looking westwards from the mountains near the station, ‘an occasional ship could be distinguished by its lights’[77].


Regarding northern Cape practices of land appropriation and tax collection Alexander relates that:

The field cornets receive two hundred rix-dollars (15l.) a year, and are exempted from taxes, though "all the world" else is taxed; and yet the manner in which the opgaaf in this district is collected is most objectionable and oppressive. Instead of the field-cornets collecting the taxes, and sending, or taking, the amount to Clanwilliam, all the heads of families, white men, Bastaards, or free Hottentots, are obliged to go to Clanwilliam personally, in the month of April, the driest time of the year, (when the grass is burnt up and the water scarce), with the amount of their opgaap, whether it be thirty dollars or five[78]. Thus valuable time is lost on the road, the cattle suffer severely on the journey, though some people are obliged to walk, for want of horses, and all leave their families without proper protection from vagabonds.

The field-cornets are not in the habit of sending round the Government Gazette to the farmers as they ought to do; thus the people are kept in ignorance of the ordinances, and are not [68] aware of the new laws which may be framed for them to obey.

But the greatest injustice is yet to be told. One field-cornet had actually appropriated to himself no less than eight places, and to five out of the eight he had no right or claim. It would have taken a man two days, with two good horses, to have ridden round this functionary’s land. The following case of a certain field-cornet and his sons, exhibits the manner in which these gentry sometimes procure their places. An old farmer had occupied a loan place from government for twelve years. He died in the beginning of 1836, leaving a son Erasmus, who was lame, and who had no other means of subsistance than grazing cattle and sheep on the farm. Girt, the field-cornet's son, comes and turns his cattle on the place; Erasmus complains to Girt’s father, who says that Erasmus must leave the farm: that it was only a loan place; and that he, the field-cornet, being a government dienaar (officer), can do what he likes with the land.

But the usual mode resorted to here, and in other parts of the colony, to get land is this. [69] A farmer pretends that there is no water on his place, but that over the hill there is a fountain. He accordingly gets or takes the loan of the land about this, and thus excludes other settlers who might wish to locate themselves in the ward[79].  

He also writes, in judgement mostly of Dutch farmers, that ‘[t]he taint of slavery here [mostly involving ‘Hottentots’], as elsewhere, makes the white man lazy’, commenting on the severity by which farmers’ workers are sometimes treated[80]; as well as the evictions of incoming ‘Caffers’ who wandered to unoccupied land in the vicinity of Clanwilliam from the south-east of the country, and who only after being moved from their fields of corn were permitted to stay ‘on their location’[81]. Workers on white farms are reported as fleeing to their kindred ‘in the wilderness’ following ill treatment, indicating that at this time indigenous populations remained in more marginal areas[82]. He mentions ‘brandy-boors’ who travel with wagon-loads of wine and spirits to sell ‘to the Namaquas’[83].

In Little Namaqualand, south of Orange River, Alexander hears of Seal Island:

a small but productive seal island, between the Orange river and the Kowsie or Buffalo river, (the last the boundary of the colony). To this rocky island the Namaquas swim from the mainland, from which it is not far distant; and, in the months of November and December, they find abundance of seals there, for the purpose of breeding. The old ones will not leave the island as long as the whelps are on it, and are thus knocked on the head with six-feet poles. In the end of 1835 two traders (Eddington and Kennedy), with the assistance of the Namaquas, had got between four and five hundred sealskins off the island. These the Namaquas willingly gave up for five or six shillings each. They sold in the Cape for eighteen shillings; and in England from two to three pounds is got for good seal-skins. The natives dry the flesh of the seal, and subsist on it.
[86]Four or five of the Namaquas were lately drowned by being carried out to sea with the current whilst attempting to swim to the island, after this they were glad to have the assistance of Europeans to make a raft, and assist at the capture of the seals.

Further north, he encounters European traders [e.g. My Archer] and a recent ‘master of a merchant ship’ [Mr Anderson][85]. At Rooé Wall Bay (whose location had previously been kept secret by Mr Anderson), south of the Zwartlintjies River close to the mouth of the Spoek river, he observes that ‘drinking water is to be procured by digging on the beach’, and that ‘it is earnestly to be hoped that it [the Bay] may be the means of “opening up” the “section” of country in which it is situated’[86].

He is received by the German missionary Rev. Mr. Schmelen, as well as the Rhenish missionaries, Messrs. Lepold (of Ebenezer, see above) and Terlinden, at the London Mission station of Komakas, where ‘[i]n the valley, and opposite the buildings, were the mat huts of the Bastaards and Namaquas of the institution. To save the grass about the station for another season, most of the people of Mr. Schmelen were in the field with their flocks and herds, and only about thirty or forty were now present. There was a small wind-mill for grinding corn, also a good garden; and no less than five fountains of excellent water were in this green and secluded valley, in which the distant roar of the sea can be heard, and over which peace seemed to wave her olive branch’[87].

At Ukrikip (Scratch Claw Place), north of Komakas, ‘beside a pool of water lay two or three families of Little Namaquas in mat huts’[88]. He encounters a white man nearby who seeks to farm at ‘Ukrikip’ and the nearby ‘Nubip’ (where probably there is also a spring) even though these are beyond the colony boundary, saying that the Namaquas are simply lazy and should move further northwards[89].

At Kama, towards Orange River, where there were about a dozen Nama huts among the hills where the people stay from July to October spending the rest of the year near the Orange River[90]. The Nama people he encounters here ‘exhibited the old dress of Namaqualand’[91], but who also had ‘old muskets and long guns obtained from the colony’[92] as well as ‘the common brass tinder box’[93], and although there was little sign of cultivation around the hamlet, notes that ‘sometimes a little tobacco is grown by the people, and melons raised’[94]. A roll of tobacco, ‘some distance from the colony, will purchase an ox’[95]. Alexander describes the ‘Little Namaquas’ as:

a good people, they are neither vindictive nor blood thirsty [although] like other barbarous people they are quite regardless of the value of time - the men lie in the sun when not driven to the field to procure game whilst the women make and mend clothes, and milk the cows and goats. The Little Namaquas are sensual, and have two or three wives if they can afford to keep them - though the missionary does all he can to prevent this sinful practice. Through him also, they have a knowledge of religion. Though dancing is discouraged by the missionary, yet both it and the drinking of honey beer is practised privately.[96]     

He argues for their ‘protection’ by the Cape colony stating that the few hundred people living between the Kowsie and Orange Rivers are ‘ripe for colonization’ and:

would have no great objection to be placed under the colony. They could not, of course, pay taxes in money, but could give a fat ox annually, in token of allegiance to Her Majesty. It has always been the object of Mr. Schmelen (under whose charge these people consider themselves to be,) to impress on the minds of the Namaquas the necessity of conducting themselves as if they actually lived in subjection to the colonial laws; and they have, therefore, a very salutary respect for English authority. If placed under the colonial government, the people would be more under the control of the missionary; and of course no white man would be allowed, on any pretence whatever, to use their watering places or occupy their grazing grounds.
The presence of a resident magistrate, altogether unconnected with the farmer, is particularly required about the Kamies mountain, or at some other convenient place near the frontier, to protect the Namaquas who might be inclined to come there and barter their cattle for goods.

Ever alive to economic opportunities, Alexander says of the possibilities for trade with the Nama of the northern Cape that:

Many of the Namaqua tribes are very rich in cattle, which they would willingly barter within the border for cloth and cutlery; but they are afraid at present to venture into the colony without being adequately protected. I asked one or two of those living about the Orange river why they never took their cattle into the colony, but preferred going to Angra Piquena Bay [later Lüderitz] with their herds; before reaching which they often suffered most severely from thirst on the road, and when they did get there, they were often grossly imposed upon by the whalers[98]; obtaining only two quart bottles full of coarse powder, or forty bullets, for an ox; and even sometimes being made drunk, and getting nothing at all for their property[99]. To this they replied, that they had tried once to take cattle into the colony, but that the first farmers they met abused them - asked them whose cattle these were they had stolen; if they had been plundering the Damaras [Hereros]; and said, "Vordoem de Hottentots! what business have they with cattle?” So becoming afraid of violence, and seeing they had little chance of fair dealing [103] with the white men, they had never ventured to the borders of the colony again.

   One cannot conceive a more dastardly and selfish spirit than that which could induce white men to behave in the manner that some of the whalers do. The natives wish to deal fairly, and part with their property, in their ignorance, for the value of a few pence; and, not content with getting them on these terms, the captains and crews of some whalers actually rob the natives; careless of the bad effect which this conduct will have in future dealings between the ships and the Namaquas.

   On shore everything is promised: but when the natives are induced to go on board with their cattle, they are either frightened into parting with them for next to nothing, or they are made drunk, and sent on shore without any remuneration; and still, with all this, they prefer Angra Piquena to the colony[100]. 

Alexander’s recommendation is for a ‘a magistrate unconnected with the farmers … on the borders’, since the ‘magistrate at Clanwilliam is too far distant, and the field-cornets and the farmers are all [104] related or connected: everyone is oom or neef (uncle or nephew) to his neighbour, so that it is not very likely there can be much justice got out of a field-cornet, on the servant of his nephew complaining of ill treatment. Besides, most of the old farmers cannot get over their thorough contempt for the coloured races’[101].

At Aris, where Alexander first sees the Gariep / Orange River, he finds ‘a Namaqua village of about twenty huts’[102], from where he acquires a span of oxen[103], and finds under the leadership of Paul Lynx a settlement of ‘about one hundred people… with flocks and herds; they were very friendly disposed’[104], and have ‘troops of horses’ feeding on grass on islands in the river’s mouth[105]. He predicts, ‘[t]hat there will be white men sojourning on the banks of the Orange river at no distant day, I have little doubt; for I found, at convenient distances from the river, great store of valuable iron and copper ores, for which there is always a great and increasing demand in Europe’[106], for which,

[t]heir accessibility is their great recommendation here, also their being placed in a dry and healthy climate, and amongst tribes who can easily be conciliated with small presents, and who might even be tempted to assist in working the mines[107].

Timber, gum, shell lime, bees wax and honey are all remarked on for their possible availability for ‘the consumption of England’[108].

 on the !Garieb / Orange River at the time of Alexander’s visit[109].

Here, Alexander hears a case put by the Nama leader Paul Lynx that:

for ten or twelve years Paul Lynx’s people had caught the seals on the island before mentioned, had preserved their flesh, on which three hundred had annually subsisted, and had sold their skins. That lately, a white man, anxious to acquire possession of the Seal Island, though it was many miles beyond the border, had actually memorialized the Governor for it, and had shown them a paper which he said was the Governor’s answer to his memorial, granting him the Seal Island. He had asked Paul to put his mark to a paper, giving up the Seal Island, or allowing this trader alone to obtain the skins at his own price. The Namaquas then asked me if the Governor had any power to give away their Seal Island; and if I thought he had done so. I said he certainly had no power to grant to anyone an island which was at least forty miles beyond the border; and that the paper which had been shown them must be a forgery (which it was), and that they might rest assured that no Governor of the Cape would attempt to annoy them, or deprive them of their property. They then said, ‘[w]e shall shoot the [113] white man if he attempts to catch seals on our island.’ I told them on no account to use any violence; but that if any white man (besides their friends Eddington and Kennedy) belonging to the colony attempted to interfere with them, they ought to inform their missionary, Mr. Schmelen, and that he would lay the matter before the Governor of the Cape, and thus obtain justice for them, and the punishment of the intruders.[110] 

With the help of an old Bastaard called William Joseph whose son when hunting had happened upon the distinctive green stone holding copper, he makes an additional ‘interesting discovery’ of a large and accessible mass of high-grade copper near Aris. He relates that:

I brought away a quantity of this ore from the river, which was assayed by Sir John Herschel, at the Cape, and from a picked specimen, sixty-five per cent. of metal was the return; another [119] specimen, taken at random from the others, yielded twenty-eight per cent. in London. Now the richest of the South American mines yield only twenty-five. In consequence of the discovery of this accessible Orange river copper (and there is also I know rich copper one day's journey north-east of Keerom, within the colony), several men of business in London have communicated with me regarding the establishment of an Orange river copper company. The natives, as I mentioned before, are friendly disposed. None occupy the ground where the Orange river copper is, and if white strangers were kept under proper restraint and control, the natives would be pleased to see them among them, for the sake of the articles of European manufacture which would be introduced among them. The natives might even be induced to assist in working the mine.[111] 

Alexander also ‘subsequently found iron not far off’[112], and notes that, ‘as the site of these valuable ores of iron and copper is far beyond the colony, no expense would be incurred in purchasing a right to work them, and it is to be hoped that they will before long be turned to good account’[113].

Back at Lilyfontein in the northern Cape he finds the chief Abram ‘of the Bondelzwart (bundle of blacks) Namaquas’ waiting with an escort to see him. Abram expresses fear of the Damaras [Hereros] who are ‘very wild’, and states that he has no influence ‘beyond seven days journey north of the Warm Bath’ and ‘that he was at variance with the Oorlam Namaquas beyond him’[114]. Abram promises that ‘his swimmers’ will assist Alexander’s expedition northwards ‘over the Great river’[115]. At the mission school he describes ‘the proficiency of the children in reading and understanding the scriptures’ as ‘very great’, but remarks that children should be taught in English rather than Dutch[116].

Alexander describes a visit by a Namaqua who ‘had lately been at the kraal of Stuurman the robber chief, for whom a great reward had been offered by government’ after ‘Stuurman with a band of Corannas and Boschmans had … made an inroad into the north eastern part of the colony, and had destroyed several Dutch families, men, women and children, and had plundered and burnt their houses’[117]. Stuurman’s present ‘haunt’ was ‘on an island several days journey up the Orange river’ to which the Namaqua claimed he could guide a government party, the suggestion being that Alexander should be involved with this[118]. At this moment he states that none of his party ‘had ever been beyond the frontier before; and they now dreamt and talked of nothing but lions and Boschmans’[119]. He outspans at Silver Fountain where the Rev. Trelfall had a farmhouse with an irrigated garden where figs and peaches still remained, near where is found the grave of the murderer of Trelfall[120]. Here he is met by the Rev. Schmelen who has escorted Rhenish missionaries part of the way to Pella, and is shown the graves of two wives of German missionaries[121].

At a fountain at a mountain called Copper Berg (where copper is indicated) he notes that the water here has declined from being able to support a thousand head of cattle to be only able to support a few now, and that:

the old people said that much less rain had fallen within the latter years  that there was no sea rains now as there used to be, only thunder storms from the east; but they hoped that the following years would take a turn for the better.[122]   

At Bezondermeid, and still accompanied by the Rev. Schmelen, the German LMS missionary Rev. Mr Wemer was living in a mat hut like his Nama ‘flock’, acquiring water from a hole in the bed of a dry stream[123].

Alexander travels on without either missionary, although still accompanied by a Boer field-cornet as an escort
[124], ‘trusting to Providence’ for safety from ‘the three great dangers of South African travelling, savage men, wild beasts, and want of water’[125]. At Erebies: 

in a small hollow in the plain, beside a dam of water, stood two mat huts in a garden, containing tobacco, melons, pumpkins, and a few heads of wheat. At a corner of the garden, bushes were put up to conceal a person, who could thus shoot the pintailed grouse, which frequented the water in large coveys.[126]     

Just north of here he remarks that ‘[t]he appearance of nature here was as that of a land accursed’[127].
Source: from 200420

At Henkrees, five or six miles from the Orange, he meets ‘[a] respectable old Bastaard… Balli by name… the owner of a thousand head of cattle, or many horses and sheep’, whose ‘united families formed a small community of about thirty persons in mat huts’, and he remarks with concern that they are becoming ill from eating the meet of sheep with ‘blood sickness’, even though they are not poor and could avoid eating diseased meat[128]. Balli tells him of ‘great quantities of copper far up the Great Fish River[129], and of hills where malleable iron could be cut out’[130], as well as mentioning ‘the wars between the Namaquas and the negro Damaras [Hereros]’[131]. He also speaks of:

monstrous snakes which he had seen in the land, whose presence was indicated among long grass by their smell, which was most offensive to cattle, and whose bulk, when coiled up, occupied a space as large as an after waggon wheel.[132]   


[i]n the evening, the violin, tambourine, and castanets, set the party dancing. Some of the lusty Boors tried to cut capers, and the Namaquas performed a sort of reel, the men showing wonderful activity, springing into the air and striking their soles together, and the women sailing about in their large karosses, There was no impropriety shewn in this dance; and as the people seemed fond of it, I promoted it to keep them in good humour, by means of which I hoped to ‘progress’ more smoothly. I myself, of course, refrained from dancing, though very fond of it’[133].

Balli ‘was very civil’ and loans Alexander fresh oxen with which to cross the Orange, towards which he travels arduously through thick sand through the night[134].

Once over the Orange at the ford of the Karahas or Bustard, where a party of swimmers awaits on the north side although they do not need them on this occasion[135], Alexander meets the Nama chief Abram of Warmbad and his men, accompanied by ‘his’ missionary (Wesleyan) Rev. Mr. Jackson, ‘the only missionary, or white man, in Great Namaqualand’, his companion Mr Cook who had established himself with Abram’s tribe, being in Cape Town at the time[136]. Abram had indicated desire for a missionary which Alexander conveys as stemming not from a desire to improve himself and his people, but ‘to increase his influence in Namaqualand by the presence of a missionary at his kraal, who would also enable him to get a supply of gunpowder from Government, and would furnish [149] him with cutlery, cloth and other articles which he and his people coveted’[137]. Alexander’s opinion of Abram’s and ‘his tribe’s’ character notwithstanding, Alexander affirms that it is ‘desirable to endeavour to improve them by missionary influence’[138]. He notes that a lion had recently been killed by Abram and his people after it had killed two horses in the field[139], and that:

[i]t is not altogether safe to traverse alone the banks of the Orange. Besides lurking Boschmans, with their poisoned arrows, lions are to be met with, panthers, and, above all, baboons are to be dreaded. [140]   

Along the Orange, he has ‘some sport’ with his gun, returning to find that fish (moekul and carp) had been caught ‘in considerable quantities’ although the Nama refuse to eat any ‘saying they might be poisonous’, causing Alexander to remark:

Strange! that people who are often short of food, and are compelled to eat gum and roots, should neglect the inexhaustible supply which the Great River and its tributaries afford.[141]   

He names the highest summit opposite ‘the ford of the Karakas’ Mount Maconochie ‘after my friend Captain Maconochie, R.N., the first secretary of the Royal Geographical Society’, but adds that ‘during the journey, I named no other mountain or hill which had a native name. Nothing can be worse than giving European names, when there are already native designations’[142].

At Sandfontein, eight hours N-E of the ford:

[t]here were two or three mat huts … and the people in them were amusing themselves drinking honey beer, made with honey and water, mixed in a bambus [wooden container], and fermented by means of a root called ‘mor,’ but which I only saw when ground. This honey beer is quite sufficient for the purposes of intoxication[143].    

His field-cornet escort leaves him at Ahuries Fountain, ‘a hole in the bed of a periodical river’, where he is met ‘by another wagon from the Bath’[144], and on 27th of November he rides ahead:

with a guide, past Looris Fountain, where were a few Namaquas, also drinking beer, and then I reached a plain on which, beside some rocks, were two stone houses, surrounded with about fifty mat huts: this was the kraal of the chief Abram, and commonly called the Warm Bath’[145] (i.e. Nisbett’s Bath).

Here he observes a warm spring among rocks near the settlement whose ‘water continually bubbled up from two or three “eyes”’, and after ‘set[ting] the natives the example of ablution’ it becomes popular for people to bath here, clearing away the fat with which they used to protect skin from the sun[146]. From the fountain, ‘[a] stream ran from the fountain only six inches broad, and an inch and a half deep, yet this served to irrigate a [160] tobacco and melon garden below, in which the chief and some of his head men had plots’[147]. He states that ‘it is exceedingly difficult to induce the natives to part with their pack oxen on reasonable terms’, purchasing one ‘at last for a large printed cotton shawl, a knife, a tinderbox, twelve bullets, and a pound of canister [gun]powder’[148]. Lion are noted as present in the vicinity of the settlement[149]. Alexander ‘anxious to know what sport could be furnished in the neighbourhood’ gives ‘charges of powder and ball to eight or ten of Abram’s tribe’ but after a day ‘they returned empty-handed’ although he finds that ‘this was a trick of theirs; for there was game near, though these hunters chose rather to keep the ammunition than to expend it for my benefit’[150]. Here his ‘own people’ bring ‘plenty of honey… sometimes bitter from the strange wild plants from which the bees procured it[151].

At this point Alexander pronounces disparagingly that he:

… was anxious to ascertain the extent of knowledge among the tribe with which I now dwelt, to learn what they knew of themselves, and of men and things in general; but I must say, that they positively knew nothing beyond tracing game and breaking-in pack-oxen. They did not know one year from another; they only knew that at certain times the trees and flowers bloom, and that then rain was expected. As to their own age, they knew no more what it was than idiots. Some even had no names. [Forshadowing Galton in 1850] Of numbers, of course they were quite ignorant; few could count above five; and he was a clever fellow who could tell his ten fingers. Above all they had not the least idea of God or of a future state. They were literally like the beasts which perish.  
[Inaccurately he observes that…] Strange to say, these Namaquas have no word [166] for thanks… [and that] We found them tolerably honest, though Mr Cooke**, when he first arrived among them, had one of his sheep killed and eaten in the field

He relates a tale wherein Rev. Schmelen takes all the ‘charms’ from a ‘healer’ amongst the Bondelswartz, notes all their uses and then burns them all in a fire saying ‘this is the sign of hell, of the punishment which awaits those who place trust in witchcraft, and not in God’[153]. In the following pages he is at pains to emphasise that he ‘never saw or heard of a people with fewer ceremonies or observancies’ (perhaps a consequence of missionary presence), although he mentions women’s puberty rituals involving touching items such as ‘milk bambus in the houses – the rams in the fold’ ‘for good luck’, observances by healers, burial practices, etc.[154]. His respondents assert that there are no rainmakers in the land[155].

On Sundays at the Bath he ‘hoists the union jack on the waggon’ and after breakfast ‘Mr Jackson preached in Dutch to a crowded Namaqua congregation’ translated ‘sentence by sentence, into the Namaqua language, by a native schoolmaster’[156]. Here Alexander practices his men ‘at the target’ and finds them to be keen to try their guns, accessing gunpowder (often of very poor quality) from whalers through trading oxen on the coast[157].

In December, East of Warm Bath at the settlement of the son of Jager Afrikaner (the ‘celebrated robber thief’ – ‘Old Afrikaner’[158]) where there was ‘a good garden full of tobacco, maize and melons, and watered by two fountains’[159], he remarks that the Rev. Mr. Jackson, ‘exhorted them and reasoned with them on the sinfulness of making forays on the Damaras to plunder them of cattle [so this conflict was already happening and known about this far south], of beer-drinking, of having more wives than one’[160].

Early in 1837, whilst pausing at Warmbad waiting for rains to bring forth pasture, Alexander engages a new interpreter, he employs a new interpreter, an old man – Choubib – who could speak Dutch and offers to guide Alexander to Walvisch Bay, who arrives complaining of being robbed by ‘Henrick, a captain [of the ‘Haboobees, or “leather shoe wearers”’[161], i.e. the ||Hawoben / Veldschoendragers] under Abram’ [of ‘the treacherous Bondelzwarts’[162]], whose brother-in-law was ‘a Bastaard of the name Engelbreght’[163]. This Henrick, captain of the ||Hawoben / Veldschoendragers since this year, is !Nanib gaib ≠Arisemab, also known as Henrick Hendricks, the son of Ariseb (Kannamab) and !Nanis, also met by Alexander [21] who describes both !Nanib and his mother in unfavourable terms[164].

Alexander describes Great Namaqualand as in ‘a lawless state’ with acts of plunder of women’s beads and skins and of livestock and guns, not uncommon[165].

Here in Alexander’s text he describes Great Namaqualand stating that:

[t]he Great Namaquas may be said to extend along the 'Oup or Great Fish river, on both sides of it, and to occupy at different seasons its banks and those of the numerous streams which fall into it. Some districts of the country of the Great Namaquas, especially those east of the [p. 191] Great Fish river, in its upper part, produce plenty of grass for large herds of cattle; while beyond the sources of the Fish river, the country of the Kamaka or Cattle Damaras, or Damaras / of the Plains, is very fertile, the plains being grassy and full of cattle, whereas the Damaras of the Hills inhabit a region which is not generally adapted for grazing. Many parts of the Great Namaqua country are also very barren and mountainous.

All the large wild animals are to be found in the Namaqua country; but elephants are now several days’ journey east of the Fish river. Lions are every where found; most of which are of the usual light brown colour, whilst others are entirely black, with long hair; a third sort is white; a fourth has striped legs, like those of a tiger; and a fifth has a white neck. I saw the common lion and part of a white one, the others I heard of from the natives, and I feel confident that they exist. Two-horned rhinoceroses, both black and white, are now found in the upper parts of the Fish river; zebras are every where in the land; beautiful spotted panthers; plenty of [p. 192] giraffes or cameleopards, buffaloes, koodoos, gemboks, elands, hartibeests, klip-springers, springboks, and others of the deer tribe; hyenas, wild boars, jackals, polecats, rats and mice, are in great abundance. …

The Great Namaquas are taller than the Little Namaquas, but have the same general resemblances … Both sexes are fond of greasing the skin, and the women also bookoo themselves, that is, they rub the ground root of the bookoo plant, which has an agreeable smell, over their persons, and sometimes draw odd [p. 193] looking streaks of soot and grease on their faces.  

The Great Namaquas use the very same clicking dialect as the Little Namaquas do ...

The Great Namaquas are not a bloodthirsty people, though their fondness for cattle induces them occasionally to attack the Damaras of the Plains. Strangers who visit the Namaquas, are generally treated with kindness, and he is held in great contempt who eats, drinks, or smokes alone. … [the murder of Trelfall notwithstanding]

[p. 194] The huts are universally composed of bent boughs, covered with neatly woven mats, and are perfect hemispheres. These huts are easily removed from one place to another: the mats are rolled up and tied along with the boughs on the backs of oxen, the earthen cooking pots and milk bambus hang from forked sticks on each side, and the children, two or three, one behind the other, sit astride of the ox, and hold on by the upright sticks; the mother drives the ox, which is laden with her offspring, her house, and utensils.

The people at the Bath amounted to between five or six hundred souls; but these were not all the adherents of Abram; the others lay at different places, some distance from the Bath: perhaps his people may amount to two or three thousand souls. Abram’s country may be said to extend one hundred and eighty miles north of the Orange [p. 195] river and it is about one hundred miles broad. The Chief Kuisip is to the west of him; Amral to the north-east; the Africaners to the east; to the north-west are the Buys of Bethany; west is Kurusumop, and Paul Lynx is at the mouth of the Orange river [i.e. Aris].  

Abram’s people had plenty of cattle, sheep; and goats among them…

[p. 196] [Alexander speaks disapprovingly of] ‘a good deal of visiting for no good purposes’ ‘[d]uring the night..’[166]   

Eighteen miles south-east of Warmbad Alexander visits ‘a place among hills, called Twanos or “run over in a morning” where there ‘were only two huts … and before them was a garden, with one pumpkin in it and sixstalks of tobacco’[167]. Around this time he observes that ‘[s]ome of the people now killed four horses on an ostrich hunt. I never saw horsemen ride so unmercifully as the Namaquas do’[168].

Abram’s resistance to supporting Alexander’s onward journey is exhibited in the reluctance shown to provide livestock and a willing escort, leading Alexander to observe that:

[f]rom Abram I had got no assistance, though one would have thought, that for his annual present of powder and lead from the colonial government, he would have either offered me a present, according to Namaqua custom, or been active in getting sheep and other things I wanted to purchase; but no, he was brutally sulky and bad hearted, as usual.[169]   

Alexander departs northwards up the ‘Hoom River (now Hom River), having difficulty keeping track of his loose oxen, and the next day he is in fact joined by Abram and ‘his fighting men’, with whom he arrives at the waterhole, cut in the ‘Hoom ‘no less than ten feet deep’ of ‘Dubbee Knabies’ or place of the tamarisk [Dubbee; tsawis, i.e. Tamarix usneoides; Knabies = ‘place’], six hours from Warmbad[170]. At Dubbee Knabies there are two to three huts and ‘plenty of cattle and sheep of Abram’s and his people’ some of which ‘had the Damara mark on them’[171] (i.e. so Bondelswartz appear to have been raiding Herero cattle). The following morning he describes his party as having ‘altogether a wild look, with hats covered with ostrich feathers, and jackal tails (the Namaqua handkerchief) stuck in the muzzles of the guns’[172]. They travel another six hours to the cattle place of ‘Knabies’, and then to the reedy fountain of Kurekhas, ‘a favourite resort of lions’[173].

Slightly further north still, at Kanus (‘the place of the Kan bush’) Alexander sets out to the Robber Henrick’s[174] place (or “Räuber Heinrichs Platz” on Richter’s Map of 1845), situated east of the Great Karas Mountains at a tributary of the Gaiab River (Kainab River)[175] in the Karas mountains, to try and retrieve his guide Choubib’s cattle, in order to secure his services ‘to the sea’[176]. Alexander was only allowed to proceed as far as Kama Kam (meaning ‘two rivers’ and where the Bak River joins the Gurus River[177]) or ‘Klip Fontein’ (as Ridsdale later calls the fountains near Henrick’s place, and the main settlement of the Veldschoendragers between 1844 and 1846), and was not able to visit the capital of the Veldschoendragers [presumably ||Khauxa!nas]. It has been revealed recently (March 1988) that this place (Kama Kam situated on the modern day farm Narudas 268 near Groen Rivier 265 which is the literal translation of the Nama name Kamkam and where old stone ruins at the southern entrance to the Narudas Gorge are most probably of pre-colonial origin with European influenced structural elements but are most probably of a later period than the ruins of ||Khauxa!nas, and fit into Alexander’s and Ridsdale’s descriptions of the main settlement of the ||Hawoben in the 1830s and 1840s[178].

Sixteen miles east of Kanus Alexander arrives at yet another cattle place of Abram’s, called Aribanies[179], near where he greedily consumes gum dropped from trees[180].

At the settlement of Henrick, a Dutch speaking ‘captain under Abram’ (Bondelzwart leader of Warm Bath), between Warm Bath and the Karas Mountains, Alexander works to convince of the benefits of English protection through extension of the governance authority of the Cape Colony, explaining that:

the English, they were not afraid of Namaquas, Damaras [Hereros], or any people in the world;  that we had such a quantity of guns and ammunition, that no people could hurt us; but that in these times, notwithstanding our great power, we never oppressed anyone, and instead of our allowing, as in the old times of the Cape Government, the natives of the country to be deprived of their land, the present Governor of the Cape was giving the Hottentots land wherever he could find it vacant in the colony.[181] 

Although not completely resolving the dispute, and indeed appearing to exacerbate tensions between Abram and Henrick, Alexander returns to Kanus on 28 January 1837 and in the open country has ‘some excellent sport with innumerable springboks, which danced and bounded on each side of us’[182]. Arguably Alexander acts in a way that exacerbates local tensions, viz. later advising Abram to settle a dispute with Henrick by sending ‘a commando or armed party to take Henrick’s guns from him, which would be the best means of humbling his proud spirit and of bringing him to terms’[183]. He also writes of subsequent complaints of the Bondelszwarts:

of their plundering their neighbours of cattle, of their violating the wives of strangers who visited the Bath, of their robbing single travellers, of their having attacked the kraals of those with whom they had quarrelled, and mercilessly burning the huts with the women and children in them, and such like stories[184]… [and] [a]t Chubeechees [= ‘back ebony’, i.e. Choubib’s kraal on west side of Karas Mountains[185]] the people were very poor; for Henrick had robbed them of almost all their milk; there were, however, a few cows and goats left, and of the milk of these we shared[186].

Alexander proceeds to Bethany, after leaving Abram and his head people ‘small presents of knives, handkerchiefs, tinder-boxes, &c.’[187] At ‘Chubeechees’, Choubib’s people,

and also those from another kraal a mile down the river, came to the tent to dance. The fiddle, tambourine, and castenets were again in requisition, and the young people enjoyed themselves; and young and old were in great good humour, without, any improprieties being committed[188]. 

Here, Alexander observes some Damara (Herero) boys who had been kidnapped as herders by Bondelzwart Nama ‘during northern forays’[189]. He takes on one called Saul, around 10 years old, for ‘two handkerchiefs, and two strings of glass beads’ given to the old Nama woman with whom the boy is living in a very impoverished state that apparently included corporal punishment, saying ‘and thus a good specimen of Damara flesh and blood was bought for the value of about four shillings!’ (exclaiming imaginatively to the ‘Ladies of Peckham!’ contesting slavery in the West Indies, ‘believe me now, when I say that I did not purchase Saul to sell him again, or to ill use him. I bought him to tend my small flock, and with a view to his eventual emancipation, and education in England. He is now near you at school’ - and indeed on Alexander’s return Saul was educated ‘[a]t Woolwich, with the children of the Rifle Brigade’ at Alexander’s brother’s regiment[190]). Saul himself describes of his capture:

that his father, who had plenty of cattle and sheep, was absent at his tobacco garden, when one night there was a noise outside the huts. Saul went to look if the sheep were all right, when a party of Namaqua horsemen rushed forward, killed some of the Damaras [Hereros], and carried off the cattle. Saul trying to escape, was caught up and carried off by one of the horsemen. He was now highly delighted to leave the old lady, to be regularly fed, and to escape the sambok.[191]

At Chubeechees (and as elsewhere), Alexander describes what he refers to as ‘opening shop’:

… I made Robert[192] my head salesman. Shop was accordingly opened under the fly of the waggon, and gaily flowered shawls, red handkerchiefs, variegated beads, shining knives and tinderboxes, saws, hatchets, &c. were temptingly displayed before the assembled peopIe. Bullocks were driven past us for barter, and sheep dragged forward by the horns. Dirk parted with a fine bullock for a carpenter's brace and twelve bits; a slaughter cow for two choppers; another for a shirt, a handkerchief, knife, and tinderbox ; sheep for a tinderbox each; and so on, till we had got as many cattle and sheep as I then wanted. Beer was made, on which Choubib and Dirk got very drunk. On the 9th we managed to get under weigh again, and journeying northerly, kept the long line of the Karas Mountains at some distance from us on our left[?].[193] 

Northwards, at Nanebis ‘the usual residence of Chief Kuisip’[194] who he treats ‘with plenty of tobacco’[195] (in between Bethanie and the Karas Mountains), Alexander prepares for a skirmish with ‘the miscreant Henrick’[196], interpreted by an observer as indicating that ‘this white man has come into the country for no good, he is now preparing to take it from us-will probably go on to the sea and get a commando from a ship and kill us all’[197]. He woos Kuisip with food, tobacco and ‘a musical snuff box’[198] and, given tales of a country beyond ‘sharp with wild men [‘Boschmans behind every rock’[199]] and beasts’, accepts an offer from Chief Kuisip to accompany him with twelve men to the sea, asking only for ‘a musket for himself and some small articles for the escort’[200]. Prior to leaving, on 20th February 1837, he is treated to presentation of ‘a grand reed dance’[201], leaving Nanebis for the ‘Oup or Fish River on 22nd February[202], where the ‘Boshmans’ are described as having:

a peculiar mode of fishing; they make conical baskets of stick grass, which is as thick and hard as quills; some of them then tie a stone to the back of their necks, to keep them down in the water; and, wading in, they sit down in the river with the [p. 238] water up to their mouths, and the basket between their legs, the mouth of it to the front; other Boschmans wade so as to drive the fish towards the basket-men, who are sitting in line, and who, pushing the passing fish into their baskets, collect a number in them, then rising rapidly, they empty them on the bank, where sit their women, and then resume their place in the river[203].

Despite the aridity of the landscape, Alexander observes that the Namaquas only carry a small supply of water ‘in a bladder, stomach of a buck, or ostrich shell … and he is considered to be extraordinary provident who skins a goat by the neck, so as to make a water sack’[204]. West of the Fish River at ‘Habunap’ (‘devouring’), he finds:

the “lay places” of two or three Boschman families. They consisted of mere hollows scooped in the sand (like ostrich nests) under the bushes, and were strewed with dry leaves’ [stating further that] ‘[t]he habits of these people are more abominable, and they seem to have less regard to cleanliness than dogs: they had fled on our approach. This small community, we [p. 242] were told, lived on fish from the ‘Oup river, and on gum, ants and bulbs, according to the season of the year.[205]

Whilst in this area his oxen run off and his people looking for them are fearful of lighting fires in case of attack by Boschmans[206].

He seems to lose heart travelling through extremely dry territory north of Nanebis towards Bethany, writing:

I could not help, therefore, giving way to melancholy reflections. Cui bono? - of what use is it? I thought, traversing the wilderness in search of a land of promise to the north, if we are to be constantly losing the cattle, and probably perishing from thirst ourselves? Is it likely that this expedition will repay me for all the fatigue and hardship attending it, and will it be appreciated in England? We fear that this travelling may be, like virtue, "its own reward." Still we must not despond; it is sinful to do so. We must struggle on, à ma puissance, to the best of our ability.[207]

Late in March 1837 Alexander reaches ‘the long deserted station of Bethany[208], built at ‘one of the most abundant fountains in the land’ that had irrigated ‘a large field, once divided into gardens, and now exhibiting only the remains of former cultivation’[209]. He finds the chapel built by Schmelen to be in ruins [see 1821], but members of the Buys / Boois had returned and were living there in reed mats[210]. Alexander opens shop and ‘some more oxen and sheep were bartered for our goods, and the dance was kept up till a late hour at night: this, with a few pipes of tobacco, put all hands in high glee’[211].

After two days, Alexander travels north from Bethany on 9th March for Jan Buys’ place at ‘Nanees’ (‘corner’) in the Tamuhap hills where he finds ‘six huts on a grassy plateau, and plenty of cattle and sheep’[212], and Jan and Hendrik Booi of the Bethany-Orlams assisted and guided him [on his further travels to the north along the east side of what he calls the ‘Great ‘Un’uma’ (bulb) mountains[213]. As he travels northwards he observes Namaqua women wearing ‘tortoise shells full of buku attached to her girdle’[214] and Namaquas playing ‘a very noisy game called “Hous”’ in which ‘[t]hree or four men sat down on the sand opposite to three or four others, with four rows of holes, twenty-six in each row, between them, into each of which holes two or three seeds were distributed, and [p. 272] changed about from one hole to the other accompanied with shouts, screams, and vociferations the most extraordinary-although they played for nothing’[215]. He remarks on the tracking skills of Henrick Buys / Boois, saying that ‘[a]s to tracing foot-marks, the Namaquas, like other African hunters, can track a man or beast by marks on the sand, among stones, or by bushes, which would be perfectly unnoticed by a white man’s eye’[216].        

Alexander makes the first mention of the ‘Berg Damara’ saying:

Here we left behind us Great Namaqua land proper, were on the confines of the country of the Boschmans, whilst the extreme limit south of the negro Damaras of the Hills was on our left [?] on the table land of the Great ‘Un’uma range[217].


the country we were now about to enter, though occasionally visited by the Great Namaquas, was principally traversed by Boschmans [‘Damara’?] of the same general appearance and language as the Namaquas, but darker, and not so well dressed, and possessing neither flocks nor herds. They are also exceedingly wild, and it is necessary to keep always a very good lookout that they do not steal the cattle, or murder those who pass through their broad plains, or approach their craggy mountains[218]. [and north of the Humabib river] … I saw marks of human feet, when suddenly plunging into a hollow, we found ourselves close to three or four huts of stakes and bushes, and beside one of them was an old man, who seemed about to fly from us as his people had just done.  

This was a Boschman, and Kuisip [also a Buys / Boois headman] calling to him that there was no danger, he sat down on [p. 282] the ground. He was a wrinkled old man of five feet six in height… he was darker than my escort, wore in front a flap of soft black leather, and a little kaross of springbok’s skin was on his shoulders; his bow, poisoned arrows, and assegay lay against one of the huts; two little naked children crawled on the ground beside him, and a third was attending to a small conical shaped earthen pot which, full of some green leaves, was cooking on a fire. This was the first Boschman [Damara?!] family we had seen on the journey, though it was only part of one, the rest having nimbly flew at the instant of our arrival at the kraal.

[Alexander asks him] to take his bow and show us how he crept after game; he, accordingly, with his small weapon bent, and holding the slight arrow in the middle between the first and middle fingers of his left hand, and the notched end fitting on the string between the thumb and closed fore [p. 284] finger…

He said that the poison of euphorbia, or milk bush (boiled till it was black), which he used, took from sun-rise to mid-day to kill the game (or about seven hours), and that after wounding bucks or other large animals, he leisurely followed on their spoor till he found them dead.[219]

Alexander ascertains from the old man [called Ariseep[220]] that sometimes he would share ‘what the lion has got’[221] and asks him – “show me how you get part of the lion’s food”[222]:

On which the old man, taking up his assegay, and walking backwards and forwards in front of a bush where a lion was supposed to be devouring a zebra or buck, and brandishing, but never throwing his lance, he addressed the lion thus, whilst he continued his to and fro walk – “What have you come here for? Have you got any thing to eat? You made such a noise I thought you had got something. Don’t think to come here and quarrel with me, but go off now and get flesh.” Thus walking and talkingfor sometime, he at last sits down facing the lion, when the astonished animal probably moves off, and leaves the remainder of his prey to the Boschman[223].

On 22nd March, near Tarop Hills and Usis fountain, they see the fresh traces of a rhino and discover a party of Boschmans on the move (two men, six women, six children) described as:

… well grown, and all in good case, unlike in size or lankness the diminutive and starved creatures which are found on [p. 288] the upper parts of the Orange river. The men wore karosses, and the heads of the women were ornamented with circular cut pieces of ostrich shell strung on the hair, one or two also wore dangling ornaments of red seeds. Their skin half petticoats were scantier, and their fore fringes shorter than those of the Namaqua women; otherwise there was a general resemblance in dress and feature.[224]     

Asking one of the men what he most wished for in the world he replied ‘the rhinoceros, and to get it easily’[225], and asking how he frightened the lion from his prey:

this hunter started up, javelin in hand, and sprang about, fifty yards in front of a bush, with great animation, shaking his weapen and crying to the supposed lion, “What have you got there, cannot you spare me some of it? Be off, and let some stand for me, or I’ll do you an injury,” and then threw his assegay, but only half way to the bush.[226]   

Indeed, Alexander reports that some Boschman derive their sustenance from lions, with one reporting to Jan Buys / Boois that:

“I let the lions follow the game, kill it, and eat a bellyfull; I then go near, throw about my arms and my skins, the lions go away grumbling, and I get what they leave. I never kill lions.”[227]   

They halt at the Narop River, where some time previously two Boschmans had shot arrows ‘wantonly’ at a group of Namaquas, killing a man, perhaps in retaliation for some grievance such as ‘ill-use’ of women, as had apparently occurred just previously in his own party
[228]. A reddish cloud on the horizon turns out to be a cloud of locusts[229]. On the left of the plain is the Chuntop River and Kopumnaas or Bull’s Mouth Pass - ...‘I was very anxious to get through the Pass [Bull’s Mouth, Chuntop/Tsondab River], to imprint its wild vallies for the first time with a waggon spoor..’. At “Bull’s Mouth Pass” they see black rhino:

. . . [O]n looking to the right we saw the cause of this [broad bare patches of ground], for a red cloud, as of sand rising and falling, again indicated a thick flight of destroying locusts. On the left of the plain was a broad and winding belt of high trees and bushes, indicating the course of a river, the Chuntop (or that which in running is suddenly checked): this entered a craggy opening in a flat range of mountains stretching across the plain to the north. The notch in the range where the wooded Chuntop disappeared, was the anxiously looked for Kopumnaas, or Bull’s Mouth Pass—so named from its being full of dangers, like the Valley of the Shadow of Death. . . . We approached these dangerous animals with some caution. . . . [U]nless they are taken standing, with deliberate aim at the backbone, or behind the jaw, good balls are thrown away upon them. . . . So our two first rhinoceroses, being continually on the move, escaped from us though we tickled them roughly. I now mounted my grey to look out for a good outspan place, whilst the locust-cloud passed over me, and the insects fell about me like thick and dry leaves in October.[230] 

Demonstrating his dependence on local guides for location of waterholes which local ‘Boschman’ are clearly familiar with he writes:

I distributed small presents among the Boschmans of Ababies [‘Calabash Kraal’[231], on Chuntob River, just south of Kuiseb], and they seemed to put perfect confidence in us, and promised to show us, for a few beads and sticks of tobacco) certain watering places among the hills, known only to themselves, and lying between us and the Kuisi (or Root) river, for we had yet nearly three days journey to the river, and our road layover an arid desert of sand, without any watering place with which Aaron, the chief guide, was acquainted.[232]

These Boschman guides, however, deserted the party on hearing signal shots designed to assist Antonio, one of Alexander’s core team, to refind the party. They had,

imagined that they were about to be killed (as we afterwards learned), and accordingly took to the mountains, men, women, and children, leaving their giraffe’s flesh on the bush, their locust sacks, jackals’ skins, sandals, wooden hand troughs for drinking out of - in short, every thing they had except what was on them, and their arms, in the extremity of their terror: and now we experienced the painful consequences of carelessness.[233]

Travelling north-west from Ababies they approach the Desert of Tans - in the shadow of what is now known as the Gamsberg Mountain - heading towards the !Khuiseb River,

[t]he prospect before us was now a most terrible one, we were at the last watering place for nearly sixty miles; the horses and oxen were thin and weak …, the weather was very hot, and a desert of heavy sand lay between us and the Kuisip river, and whether there was water in it or not at the point where we should first see it, we were not aware.[234] 

Without his ‘Boschman’ guides to show them water in ‘holes in a rock’ they are ‘quite at a loss[235]. On 4th April he finds ‘the Namaquas washing clothes, and some their bodies, in the only drinking place we had at Ababies’ saying ‘I am not very nice, but this was too much’[236]. His ‘cattle-guards’ claim to have taken his cattle to water but he later learns they have not, and on morning of 5th April they leave ‘with thirsty cattle’, [31] travelling north-west, ‘whilst the Chuntop left us, and inclined to the west to disappear in the sand before it reached the ocean’[237]:

[t]he waggon moved slowly along, but frequently stuck fast, and it was most painful to be obliged to use the whip to the unfortunate cattle. After five hours we got to a dry and nameless river, and most of the Namaquas dispersed to look for water but found none – thermometer 90°.[238]

He is brought a report of ‘some Boschmans … seen crossing the plain before us’, but when he rides towards them ‘forgetting all about poisoned arrows’ he finds that they are ‘Hendrick Buys and his gun carrier on the spoor of wild horses [zebras], and thus our hopes of finding guides to the water were again baffled’[239]. Waiting for his ‘waggon and pack-oxen’ he sees ‘a large flock of springbok’, [32] and ‘flights of locusts … chirrupped like young sparrows’; ‘the Namaquas had converted the goat skins, I had given them to carry water for themselves, into clothes bags, and now, consequently, they were reduced to extremity’[240].

Moving slowly north-west,

far in the distance on our right, twenty-five miles at least, rose a great tabular mountain called Tans, or the screen, for it shuts in all the lesser mountains and hills near it; on each side of Tans extended black mountain chains. … The silence was deep and profound, for not a bird or insect was to be seen or heard. … After accomplishing a distance of about twelve miles slowly and painfully, the sand deepened so much that we could get the wagon on no further, and therefore outspanned …[241]

He sends the cattle off ‘under oud Jan’ [who supplies his best oxen, p. 48] towards the river and remains ‘with Kuisip [who brings an escort to defend him, p.48], Choubib [who becomes his interpreter, p.48], Henrick Buys’ [his ‘chief huntsman’[242]] [who shows ‘where and how game could be killed to support the expedition’, p.48] and his ‘white men’ with ‘a few quarts of water to support us’, [35] ‘in the midst of the desert of Tans like a ship cast away far at sea on a reef’,

[e]xpecting the oxen to come to us on the morrow, and placing our entire trust in Providence, we lay down at night and slept without being disturbed, though afterwards we heard that Boschmans were about us during the hours of darkness[243].

The oxen do not appear the following day but they are able to shoot a gemsbok, feeling,

now impressed with the belief that no water had been found in the Kuisip, where the people first reached it under a black mount which we saw in the distance to the north, and which I named after the well-known secretary of the Admiralty, Sir John Barrow (the distinguished South African Traveller, and chief promoter of Polar Expeditions).[244]

With very little water he remains by the wagon with [37] Choubib and the loyal Kuisip– the others (as above) leaving ‘to shift for themselves’, [38] thinking to himself that ‘our fate is sealed in the parched and trackless desert of Tans’[245]. At sunrise on 7th April, they are woken by ‘the barking of a Namaqua dog’ travelling with ‘two Damara men (slaves under the Namaquas), who had been despatched by Jan Buys [Boois] with a small supply of water for us in the stomach of a sheep, and in the pericardium of a rhinoceros’[246]. They are informed that ‘the distance to the water was great’, ’that there were several high sand-hills between us and the river, and that it was impossible the wagon could get over even the first of them’, and that many of his expedition had ‘nearly perished on the 6th[247],

Jan Buys and the stronger of the party had gone on to the Kuisip with the cattle, which had then been three days without a drop of water. … the people and cattle, when they saw the water in the river below them, ran down as if they had been crazed, and cutting their legs on the rocks, they scrambled down a steep precipice to reach the bed of the river, and throwing themselves into the water’, which they drank too fast and were then ‘attacked with a sort of cholera’, Jan returning with skins of water and saving them all.[248] 

Alexander dispatches the Damaras ‘to the dead gemsbok … to get water from its stomach’ and at around midday they see ‘a dark mass descending a distant sand hill’ which is his people and cattle, Jan Buys following and confirming ‘the impracticability of getting the wagon to the Kuisip, on account of the heavy sand hills and precipices about the river’[249]. He also reports that ‘some of the oxen had fallen down the crags at the Kuisip’, breaking their backs, amongst other losses of animals[250]. At this point, Alexander decides it is ‘time to leave the wagon to the tender mercies of the wild people, who could not be far from us’ and he works to pack as much as possible – ‘ammunition, clothes, bird skins, etc.’ – on pack oxen, before [43] following ‘the people and pack oxen up the sand-hill’ where he sees his dead horse Night beset by vultures[251].

They pass ‘over now less than seven sand-hills, which were very steep’ and half way meet ‘some of the Namaquas with a supply of water in the stomach of another gemsbok’, and after seven miles in the dark they find themselves ‘on the brink of a precipice … at the bottom of which … glimmered a fire’[252]. He scrambles ‘down by a narrow, broken, and dangerous path, fit only for goats and baboons, the precipitous descent to the Kuisip’ where he finds the rest of his party – [45] [t]he river had not ran some time, but in its bed were long pools of water’[253]. From here he sets off ‘to visit the wagon for the last time, with some people to bring away a few more stores’, and,

[a] deep consultation now took place among the head men of the Namaquas about future arrangements. They saw I was resolved to reach the sea at any sacrifice or risk, and they were well aware of the value of the abandoned waggon, … at last, Jan Buys [Boois], of his own accord, proposed that he should endeavor to save the wagon, and the property left in it, by going back with it towards the Orange river; and that, after a time, if he had heard no more of me, he should hand it over to [47] Mr. Schmelen, at Komakas [praised for his ‘salutary influence … over these men’s minds’, p. 48].[254]

Alexander promises Jan [who had supplied a ‘span of powerful oxen’] and Henrick Buys [Boois] ‘two new guns for large game (the most acceptable present I could make them) for their great assistance to me’, which he would send from the Cape if he made it back there, and he ‘inquired what more they desired – a few beads, shirts, and handkerchiefs, was all they asked’,

I had no claim on these men for help or assistance; they were free and independent in their native land, and owed no allegiance to any superior. … [48] I placed entire confidence in them, notwithstanding the evil reports of the people of the chief Abram.[255]

By moonlight on the evening 10 April, he begins to make way in the direction of the sea, his 14 remaining oxen were packed ‘in the Namaqua manner’,

a boy held their heads by the thong of the nose stick; two or three sheep skins with the wool on them, were placed on their backs, by two men standing one on each side of the ox, a few turns of a riem or stout thong of raw hide (twenty-one yards long) were taken round the skins, and then against the sides of the ox were placed the packages, which were secured very tightly with the remainder of the riem, by the men placing their knees against the ox, and drawing the riem so tight that the poor oxen looked, after the packing was completed, as if they would be cut in two behind the fore legs; but “custom is second nature,” and this tight lacing did not hurt them.[256] 

He writes that on the 12th April, ‘after twenty miles we got a glimpse of heaven … in the river’s bed below’, ‘[m]any acacias of pale foliage flung their arms over high grass of deep green, growing beside large pools of clear water; the path leading to this place of abundance was steep and rugged, but we managed to zig-zag down it…’[257] They find the remains of a dead rhino which ‘seemed to have been surprised [56] by the sudden rising of the river and drowned’[258].  

As they progress down the river the ‘pools of water appeared at longer intervals’ and then ‘entirely ceased’; they find ‘a small hole under a rock, containing a very scanty supply of greenish water, full of frogs and little fish’ but no water for the cattle and no water found nearby[259]. Nonetheless they continue for 21 miles, the banks of the river becoming lower, ‘[o]n the right were rocks of mica slate, and on the left sand hills’, and many ‘dubbee boom, or tamarisk tree’ [i.e. daweb][260]. Fortunately chief Kuisip’s ‘carrier’ ‘Einap (or liver [cf. Ein]) appeared with a smiling countenance [63], and pronouncing the magic word ‘kams (water) [i.e. ||gams], the people set up a shout of joy, and most of the Namaquas leaving us to get on the cattle the best way we could, set off to refresh themselves’ – finding ‘a good supply of water’ ‘among a large patch of reeds’ on which ‘the red-headed weaver bird had hung its light grassy nest, which waved in the air with the wind’[261]. Finding little ‘game’ to eat the Namas roasted ox-hides which they then ground to a powder and ate, and Alexander himself writes ‘to be sure, at the time, I could have eaten my saddle for hunger’[262].

After 24 hours they leave the reeds, shortly after which they see ‘the footmarks of men’ which alarms the Namaquas who relate ‘many stories among the people of the wild men who lived by the sea at the mouth of the Kuisip, of their killing white sailors, of their bloody battles with the Damaras [Hereros], &c.’[263]. Nonetheless, they carry on for 15 miles, finding water by digging at ‘a place which looked damp’, and further along again he names another high mountain on the north, this time after ‘the worthy President of the Royal Geographical Society, W.R. Hamilton, Esq., F.R.S.’[264]. Further downstream again they halt ‘at a place where huts had lately been erected, and where we got dirty water by digging for it’, and here they can hear the murmur of the sea[265]. Looking again for moisture, ‘to our most agreeable surprise we [68] found the new fruit ‘naras, of which I had first heard from the Boschmans of Ababies:

The bushes were growing on little knolls of sand, the bushes were about four or five feet in high, without leaves, and with apposite thorns on the light and dark green striped branches. The fruit has a coreaceous rind, rough with prickles, is twice the size of an orange, or fifteen or eighteen inches in circumference, and inside, it resembles a melon, as to seed and pulp. I seized a half ripe one, and sucked it eagerly for the moisture it contained; but it burned my tongue and palate exceedingly, which does not happen when this fruit is ripe; it then has a luscious sub-acid taste.[266] …
In the afternoon, we reached Aban'huas, or Red-bank [Rooibank], a part of the river so named from the red colour of the sand-hills on the south-side. Here we found a deserted hut, of a conical form, and composed of stakes and bushes, and beside [72] it, among reeds, there was excellent water. We again saw the recent spoor of men, and in order to obtain guides and supplies of food, it became necessary to hunt up the people. Accordingly, after a pursuit behind, and among the sand-hills, two heads were at last seen peeping over a knoll, and our Namaqua pack of hunters, by circumvention, soon secured two stout fellows.

   Our captives belonged to a large tribe of red men, speaking the Namaqua language and who inhabit the shores about Walvisch Bay. They were tall and good-looking for Namaquas, and wore fur-caps, handsome mantles of jackals’ skins, ivory scoops about the neck, trophy rings of leather round the wrist, the disc or circle of leather in front, and sandals on the feet. They were quite ready for action with bows bent, quivers of soft leather full of poisoned arrows, and lances. And for provisions, they carried at their backs nets containing half-a-dozen of the ripe ‘naras fruit, which served them for food and water.

These two men were spies, who had been sent [73] to reconnoitre us from the main body. At first, they were in some trepidation, seeing the number of guns we had, but on being presented with a pipe and a piece of flesh, and being assured that they had nothing to fear from us, and that we merely wished to go to the sea to look for a ship I expected, and that I wished to purchase some provisions from them, and not to take from them their property, they became composed, and I asked them the news.

   They said that it was now the commencement of the mist rains at Walvisch Bay, when the ships arrive to catch whales; that no ships had been there for a long time, but that they now expected them every day - that the Damara negroes of the plains [Herero] were at the distance of a month from them, in the upper parts of the Swakop or Bowel river, which, like the Kuisip, emptied itself into Walvisch Bay - that they had no friendly intercourse with the Damaras, of whom they were much afraid, as they were a strong people, and very angry - that once they had gone up the Swakop, on a hunting expedition, and had got under a high rock, on the top of which [74] were Damaras - that instead of the Damaras shewing any desire to be friendly, they shouted, and threw down stones at the Namaquas of the Bay - that beyond the Damara negroes, and along the coast, is another nation of red men, called Nubees, or the Many People [||Ubun?, see below], and which people are friendly to strangers - that it was impossible to get to them now, though the chief of the Bay had once visited them, but he was now absent on a visit in the interior [so = travel and connections between coast and interior], and no one else at present at the Bay could undertake to shew the waters beyond the Swakop.

   Besides, said the spies, "we are always afraid of meeting the Damaras on the sea-shore, to which they occasionally come on their hunting expeditions, after the elephants and other large animals in the Swakop. Not long ago the Damaras came down and attacked the people of the Bay., who at first fled; but watching the Damaras as they separated to eat the ‘naras fruit along the Kuisip, we killed a number of them, and the heaps of stones you passed the day before, are their graves: after this the Damaras have not troubled us.

   The spies had heard of our approach from a Boschman who had been near the waggon when it stood in the desert of ‘Tans, and who had heard the shots fired when the gemsboks were killed. The Boschman came along the river, and told the people who were lying in it, that a large commando, or armed party [so clearly such things were not unusual], was coming against them to plunder them; and they accordingly left the river and fled among the sand hills; but the chief's wife, who was left at the bay, told her people not to be alarmed, or to run away, but to collect the cattle and sheep, and see what assistance could be given us.

   I was much surprised and pleased on hearing the friendly intentions of the chief's wife; and I immediately dismissed one of the spies with a present of a large handkerchief for the head of the lady, and with tobacco for her pipe; and I directed the messenger to say that I hoped to meet with her at the sea in a day or two, and that she need be under no apprehension of any evil from us; for we were merely hunters of game, and not robbers of cattle.

   In the afternoon we packed up and went [76] along the river for some distance, then left it to the right, and got amongst sand downs; and some time after sundown, we packed off for the night at two or three huts at a distance from water, but surrounded with heaps of 'naras skin. Here we saw a few new men's faces, but no women.

   The huts were of singular construction. Crooked stakes were arranged in a circular form, and met at the top, where a stout straight post supported the roof. Some of the crooked stakes projected beyond the entrance, so as to form a porch, to prevent the west wind from blowing into the hut, which was well thatched with grass and reeds, and was roomy and comfortable inside.

   To prevent the oxen straying among the sand hills, we attached them by the nose thongs to the packing riems, stretched between the cases; and scooping out for ourselves beds among the sand, we lay down to sleep in peace, seeing that we had secured the good will of the people of the Bay, who have got the character in Namaqua land of being a very wild tribe.

   On the 19th of April, after allaying our hunger [77] and thirst with some ripe ‘naras, the entire support of the Bay people for two or three moons or months - at least, so they gave me to understand - we continued our march among the sand hills, and on descending a high one, a plain covered with reeds and grass was spread before us, on which were hummocks of sand covered with bushes, and in the horizon gleamed the welcome ocean, now reached for the first time at this point from the Cape, from which it is distant 12° of latitude. We halted at a number of empty huts, near a pool of brackish water, and pitched our tent not far from Pelican Point, Walvisch Bay, in lat. 22° 55' south. … [79] ‘two or three miles from the south end of the Bay’[267]. 

Walking from their camp towards the shore, ‘at two different places we saw the skeletons of human beings, half covered with sand’[268]. Assuming, from ‘stories we had heard, of white men having been cut off at Walvisch Bay’ they are told by one of the ‘red Namaqua’ they encounter at Aban’huas instead that,

one set of bones belonged to a feeble woman, who in wading into the shallow water to fish, had stuck in the mud, and was drowned by the rising tide, and that the other bones belonged to a man of the bay, who was lamed from a fish-[80]bone running into his leg, and who fell and died … But afterwards we found out that these bones were actually those of white men. A woman told one of our Namaquas that a captain of a ship, who was called by her ‘Hous’ in returning to his boat, was assegaed on the beach, his men having interfered with some of the women; and that from a similar cause, and on another occasion, when a whale had been struck, and was lying stranded near the mouth of the Swakop, two boats’ crews landed near it in the evening to cutt off the blubber, and that the bay men, with broken assegaes concealed under their cloaks, mixed themselves with the white men, and watching their opportunity when the sailors were sitting by their fire at night, they rose and stabbed them all except one man, who escaped up the river, but who was also killed a day or two after.[269]

Alexander writes of his disapproval of those whose ‘moral principle is not strong enough to control him’, asserting that ‘[s]avages have affections and feelings like other men’,

let the white stranger then ask himself, if tempted to try seduction by beads or toys, how would he relish that those he left at home should be tampered with, or be induced to violate their pledges made to him who now seeks to inflict a mortal injury on another [82] … [He invokes this rule] “If the jealousy ·of savages is roused, they immediately become most implacable enemies, and even if they are condescending in a particular way, that condescension being taken advantage of, places them on a level with you, and destroys your superiority over them.” Many an expedition carefully prepared, and which may have started with every prospect of success, has been ruined from this cause alone, interference with women, though this, the true cause of an expedition's failure, may not have been revealed to the world.[270].

At the bay they eat with relish ‘a stranded cabaljao’, ‘large muscles of excellent quality’ and ‘a quantity of clams’[271], noting that,

The bay people catch and eat fish after the ‘naras is out of season, and the carcases of whales, killed by the crews of whaling ships, afford them savoury repasts in the months of May, June, July and August, or during the time the whalers are about the bay. After this they hunt, obtain roots after rain, and kin an occasional heifer or sheep, till the ‘naras season again comes round. Thus they make out the year without cultivation of any sort, not even melons or tobacco, of which last they are extravagantly fond, two or three sticks being the price of a sheep.[272]

At Walvisch Bay Alexander hopes in vain that he might be able to travel by boat further north along the coast and instead commits ‘to tarry some time at the bay’ and if no other possibilities present themselves ‘to penetrate to the eastward from the bay, as far as I possibly could, hoping that I might not be “brought up” till I found myself in the Mozambique Channel’[273].

At his tent, ‘round which the Namaquas were sheltered behind screens of bushes and reeds’ they ‘seemed to be comfortable’ and he is ‘glad to find some of the Bay people beginning to occupy the deserted huts’ although of women only ‘very old women appeared’, a demographic also observed in Thompson and Popham’s narratives of 1786, with ‘a couple of dozen of stout fellows’, some [86] ‘in penguin caps’[274]. The men,

always went about armed and prepared in case of treachery on our part, though as we saw neither flocks nor herds, there was no temptation to molest them. Whilst we slept with arms in our hands and the dogs at our feet as usual, in case of a night attack. The old women, who wore the usual skin petticoat, a flap behind and fringe before, tried to render themselves attractive with cowery shells hanging over their eyes, and with rosettes of the same sewn on leather, and attached to one side of their head, “we are willing to find husbands among your people,” said the old dames![275] 

A New England whaling ship bearing the Commodore Perry arrives at Walvis Bay, the captain saying he thought they ‘were shipwrecked mariners, for he had never seen or heard of white men before in this section of Africa’[276]. Alexander finds several waterholes with brackish water in the mouth of the Kuisip but ‘no place where the oxen could have found food’[277]. Back at his camp he finds a Captain Hoborn and company there from the American whaling ship, who he offers ‘some ‘naras fruit and brack water, which last the Americans could not swallow’[278]. Hoborn asks if it’s possible to ‘get any green or fresh here?’, to which Alexander replies, ‘[w]e have seen none yet’[279]. After ascertaining that in exchange for provisions Alexander could spare ‘[s]ome rope, knives, sambuks or whips of rhinoceros hide, pipes, and zebra skins for pouches’, Alexander is ‘hospitably entertained on board the Commodore, and enjoyed especially… penguin’s eggs boiled hard, the yolk of which is capital eating’[280]. He also shows the Americans ‘where to obtain a large supply of fire-wood at the mouth of the Kuisip - trees brought down by the floods in the river’; Captain Hoborn says he is thinking ‘of remaining four months at [91] Walvisch Bay, that he was now looking out for Hunchback whales to come in every day to breed, … that they had already got some fish [whales] lower down the coast … [and that] [t]hey never heard of any British whalers coming to Walvisch Bay, but saw an English brig at Angra Piquena lately …’[281].

After ‘a comfortable sleep in a berth’, he returns to his tent to find ‘the chief’s wife waiting to see me … attended by half-a-dozen ancient ladies of honour, from whom she was distinguished by wearing a handsome kaross [92] of jackal’s skins, and the handkerchief I had sent her for her head’. He explains ‘the object of my journey’ and says he,

should be happy to barter handkerchiefs, beads, knives &c. with her or her people for some cattle or sheep. She promised to do what she could for us; and after I had given her a few small presents, and above all, some tobacco, she went off in a good humour.

   The Chief Kuisip coveting one of the ship’s muskets, said he would give a couple of his riding oxen for it; and Henrick said he would “miss” an ox for five bottles of powder, (two is commonly given at Angra Piqnena for an ox). I did not like parting with any of the cattle, not knowing but that we should be reduced to eat most of them yet, and abandon the baggage; but as Kuisip and Henrick had conducted themselves so well towards me, I did not throw any difficulties in the way of their bargains, and accordingly they and Choubib went on board.

   Another whaler now appeared in the bay, the Pocahontas, Menter, from Portsmouth, United [93] States. This ship having been out longer than the Commodore, and having had no “green or fresh” for some time, was afflicted with scurvy, but which I saw cured .in a simple and novel way. Capt. Menter got some potatoes from the Commodore, and bringing his patients on deck, he made them eat for three or four days a few raw potatoes, washed and sliced, and the effects of this treatment were astonishing - the men’s gums, which before were white and sore with disease, resumed their natural colour, and the other symptoms of scurvy also left them.

   The morning after the three headmen had gone on hoard, I was looking for fish on the beach, when I noticed Kuisip, Henrick, and Choubib returning to the tent, and every now and then looking, between the light, at a bottle they had got, and seemingly in high argument, I went to them, and found them a little “raised” with liquor, and in a great passion.

   “Look, mynheer,” said 'Choubib, “at the trick which has been played us by one of the mates. We got five bottles of what we thought [94] was powder, but one of them we now find to have only a little fat in it.

   I looked at it, and found that half a bottle of palm oil had been given to the Namaquas as a bonne-bouche, or to make their woolly hair grow, perhaps; but as they wanted powder and not pomatum, I took the oil from them, and promising to get the mate to rectify the mistake, I sent them off to the tent to keep them quiet, as they talked big of shooting, &c.

   I respect the Americans as a nation for their stirring activity and steady perseverance to raise themselves in the world; but the respectable citizens of the Union must condemn the slim “tricks” which some of their people from particular sections are too apt “to play on travelers” - such as the one now attempted. I don’t think Captain Hoborn knew any thing of it till I told him, when a bottle of powder was immediately supplied.

   On the 29th of April, the first hunchback whale appeared in the bay, and an active pursuit took place immediately with half a dozen boats. [95] The American cedar boats, with the weight well forward, seemed to pull better than English boats. The whale was soon hemmed in, and we thought it was a prize, when, after rising and spouting for the last time, it disappeared with a bellow, dived under the boats, and carried out its great bulk to sea again.[282] 

After several days of ‘thick fogs and small drizzling rain … ‘quite benumbed with cold my Namaquas became impatient to leave the coast’, although they make several trips to Pelican Point to dig for clams:

Through the kindness of Mr. Hayes, a fine young man, a mate of the Commodore Perry, I was twice landed, with three or four of my people, at Pelican Point, the best place to dig for [96] clams. It was rather an odd employment to go down on one’s knees as the tide was receding, and black shags and white gulls were screaming round one, and wingless penguins were shuffling along the beach of the dark main, and to dig with one’s hands in the wet sand, and at half a foot under the surface, to find the desired shell fish. I have not much of “the kid glove or silver fork” in me; still this occupation rather spoilt my nails; but what will not one do for dear life - for food! We got bushels of clams at Pelican Point, and they ate very sweetly at the tent.[283] 

Alexander writes that,

[a]t last, after a good deal of negotiation, the Bay people, (who were now in considerable numbers, men, women, and children, brought some Iean sheep and goats to barter. We exchanged beads and cutlery for them, and again made up a small flock. We also got for rope, fishing lines, &c., two or three bags of ship’s biscuit, and Captain Menter, (a worthy kind hearted man), knowing our late sufferings, seeing our present state, and fearing that we might yet perish if we attempted to go further, offered to run over [97] to St. Helena with me and my seven Cape attendants for 70l.[?] or the price of a whale; but I said that I had not yet seen enough of the interior, that I intended (since I could not go further to the north from Walvisch Bay) to go as far east as I could, and having now a small supply of food for present support, I trusted ere long to find game again. I thanked Captain Menter for his offer of a passage in the Pocahontas, though I never felt tempted to avail myself of it.

   I now held a council with the headmen about further proceedings. Henrick Buys said he would go with me to the world’s end if I chose, … and I highly appreciated his resolves and merits; as to Kuisip he was also willing to assist me with his own services and those of his people, but he was under the guidance of the cunning old fox Choubib, the interpreter, who seeing that the man-of-war, from which he expected so much, did not arrive, he did all he could to persuade me to return by the shortest road to the Orange river, pretending that he was quite alarmed [98] about my resolution to go eastward, that we should certainly perish either from hunger, thirst, or the wild Damaras [probably meaning Herero here] ...[284]

Alexander resists Choubib’s preference to return to Ababies [Calabash Kraal] and they proceed after Alexander summarises his impressions of Walvis Bay, asking,

is it well adapted for the establishment of a religious station, or a factory for trade? Besides Angra Piquena it [100] is the only bay on the south-west coast of Africa, of any size, until Saldanha Bay is reached. It is a very safe bay, the holding ground is good, nothing can hurt a vessel anchored behind Pelican Point, and there is plenty of (brackish) water, and of fire wood. It teems with fish and wild fowl, and must be a favourite resort for whales, or the American whalers, sometimes two or three together, would not remain here for four months as they do. The tribe which inhabits the shores of the bay is a large one, that is, some hundreds in number; for I saw many groups of their huts among the sand hills; and though a wild people, they might be conciliated with kindness. They have flocks and herds, though we saw few of them, and those only of the worst description; for they were doubtless afraid of tempting my Namaquas to make a foray amongst them on a future day. It might be worth while to ship cattle from Walvisch Bay to St. Helena [‘where so many ships put in annually that they could not obtain the supplies they wanted’[285]]. One hundred [101] and fifty or two hundred miles N.N.E. of the bay the country is full of fine cattle; and even the bay can produce a good many from their sand hills, when they think there is no danger of shewing them[286]. There is a possibility of much ivory being obtained at the bay; as further north the country is certainly full of elephants.[287] 

He also notes that it is ‘very unusual’ for ‘the bay people to go beyond the mouths of the Swakop and Kuisip. The chief has no influence beyond the shores of Walvisch Bay. No one can pass through the Damaras of the plains [Herero] from the bay without a very powerful escort; and the only thing which might be done … would be to induce the chief to show the way to the Red men [called ‘Nubees’[288]] living to the north’[289]. He claims ‘the greatest desire to undertake’ this journey, but was unable ‘to get any guides to go with me to shew me the waters’[290].    

Having ‘sown some melon and pumpkin seeds by a pool’ he waxes lyrical about ‘what the pure sand of Africa produces with the addition of a few decayed leaves and with mositure’[291]. He concludes that,

[i]f missions were established farther in Great Namaqua land than the Warm Bath [Warmbad], it would be necessary to have a station at the bay, to assist and communicate with those in the interior. It would be too far to send to the Cape for supplies with waggons for stations about the sources of the Great Fish River, for instance; and therefore a bay station would he indispensible: and perhaps, with prudent management and caution, tempering zeal with knowledge, the fine race of the Damaras of the plains [Hereros] might be communicated with, and without danger, from the bay.

   Our principal amusements at the bay were shooting wild fowl, (to keep the people from wearying), and eating 'naras and shell fish. Two or three times we hauled the seine, which, however, was rather short for sea-fishing, but we managed to catch mullet with it. I wished to go in a whale boat to the mouth of the Swakop, to ascertain the existence of elephants, [104] which are said to be numerous about the river … [but he is unable to do so].[292]

He is able to view ‘the scenery about the mouth of the Swakop’ writing that ‘[t]he sandhills, which extended from the Kuisip, were here succeeded by mountains apparently two or three hundred feet high, called Qua’nuas, or clay-bank-trap mountains …’, and names the highest (probably now named Rössing Mountain) ‘Mount Colquhoun, after my valued friend and connexion, Gideon Colquhoun, Esq., late Resident at Bussorah’[293].      

In early May he takes a last look at the ocean and the ‘two whalers lying in the smooth water off Pelican Point’, spending ‘considerable time … collecting the sheep we had purchased from the bay people, and in bargaining with them for some strings of copper beads, which they said they had got from a man who lived on a hill north of the Swakop’[294]. They leave under ‘the guidance of two of the bay people, who promised to show us the waters in the Kuisip’, [107] reaching ‘Red Bank’ (Rooibank) the following day, where ‘with reeds, sweet grass, and good water, the oxen recovered a little, and the spirits of the party were raised’[295]. Whilst here they are joined by ‘[a]n old man on a journey, … in charge of eight women’ who says that ‘Quasip, the chief of the bay, was passing us [travelling towards the ocean] behind the sand hills, afraid to approach us’, until he ‘had questioned his people there regarding us’[296]. He appears with six followers at Red Bank on the 6th May, ‘a cunning looking man of about forty-five years’ who ‘sat by our fire wrapped up in his kaross, peering warily around [108] him, and with an old councillor at his ear’,

[h]e had just come from the country of the Hill Damaras [contemporary Damara or ≠NūKhoen]; and he reported that a bloody battle had just been fought between them and the Damaras of the plains [Herero], in which the latter had gained the advantage, and had massacred many of the women and children of the hill people. He also said that some distance up the Kuisip, we should fall in with plenty of rhinoceroses, and also obtain other game to support us[297].

Alexander makes Quasip ‘a present of knives, tinder-boxes, &c.’ to encourage him to bring them [109] ‘two head of cattle; and a fat young bull and a heifer appeared after a few hours’[298]. He also questions Quasip as to the identity and location of the,

Nubees, or red people, to the north of the bay whom he had once visited; but I could get no other information from him than this, that by good luck he had passed by the Damaras [Herero] of the Swakop, had gone a month to the north of the bay, and had there fallen in with the great red nation, who were very friendly; spoke a different dialect from the Namaquas, but that he understood them; and that they were distinguished by allowing their woolly hair to grow long. I asked him if he would go again to the Nubees. He said that it was inconvenient for him to leave the bay at present, having just now come off a journey[299].

Alexander leaves Red Bank to travel east along the Kuiseb, with ‘two, Boschman guides from Quasip, instead of the two bay-men. The new guides, Oahu and Numeep, were to accompany us to the Hill Damaras’ [nb. the ‘Boschman’ appear to speak Khoekhoegowab, or at least to be intelligible to the Namaqua with Alexander][300]. On 8th May they are ‘again on our way up the river’ and halted at ‘Gnuhooas’ or ‘Black Hole’, ‘twenty-four miles from the Red Bank’, and [a]bout two hours further on was the watering place of Gnutueip, or Black Nose’,

[h]ere were the graves of the Damaras, who were pursued up the river and slain by the bay people, and here also we saw the last of the ‘naras fruit … [at which point he adds a footnote stating that] [s]ome plants of ‘Naras are now growing in England (March 1838) from seeds which I brought home; they are a foot high and beginning to branch, having two thorns at each articulation, and a stipule scarcely to be a leaf between them, on the axis of which is the bud, but no leaves[301].

At ‘Hout’tous’ or ‘Sand Gate’ [possibly near present-day Gobabeb because they leave the river here ‘to avoid a considerable southerly bend in the Kuisip’, travelling ‘across a hard gritty plain’[302]] they have ‘a delightful “off pack” under shady trees, with plenty of good grass and water’ although ‘[a] fresh lion spoor kept us on the alert, but the Namaquas would not consent to go after him, because he had spared us’[303]. Here again ‘[t]he people roasted, pounded, and ate all the pieces of ox hide we had left: having suffered thirst in coming down the river, we now endured hunger going up’[304].

Indicating relative unfamiliarity amongst Namaquas with the water places of the desert, he writes here of how Namaquas would ‘persuade’ ‘Boschmans’ to reveal places where water could be found,

[i]t is a custom with the Namaquas when in the field, and ignorant of the water places, to look about for Boschman spoor, to catch one of the “children of the desert,” and to make him show where water is to be found. On one occasion two or three Namaquas were returning from the coast, and unacquainted with the pools, they were dying of thirst, when they fortunately fell in with a Boschman. “Where is the water?” they inquired.

“I don't know of any water here about,” said the Boschman.

“What! are we to die here? Come! take this stick and dig here in the ground for water.”

The Boschman, in fear of his life, did as he was bid, and for a short time he turned up the dry surface of the plain, but soon tiring of work, he stopped and said, “Oh! I just remember there is water over the hill.”[305].

On the gravel plains, a distance of 30 miles from ‘Hou’tous’, they pass,

a grotesque collection of rocks, rising with dark and vertical stratification and serrated edges from the broad plain. The rocks were called by our guides Einhiras [i.e. Mirabib], or the Hill of the [113] Laughing Hyena [hiras = hyena]. “Here,” said the Boschmans, “is found a most extraordinary snake: eight feet long, mottled back, with overhanging brows like a man, and fiery eyes; whilst the sex is as plainly distinguished as in beasts. It lies commonly stretched out under the rocks, and we are much afraid of it.[306]

Alexander would have liked to ‘obtain a specimen of this strange reptile, but there was not a drop of water near it, so we were obliged to hurry on in the night…’ passing on the 12th ‘Tarahap, or Quiver Mountain’ on their left and ‘Hokap, or Spotted Mountain, and saw before us the range called Tumas, or the Mountains of the Wilderness’ whose height, ‘like that of Tarahap and Hokap, seemed to be about 1800 feet’[307],

[a]fter twenty-eight miles, we came to the Humaris, or Rolling river [= Paradys River?], into the deep rocky bed of which we descended with difficulty, and found ourselves at-the bottom surrounded by precipices of two or three hundred feet high. The guides searched about for water holes, and, at last, far under a rock, a cupful of the precious element was found for forty thirsty people and seventy parched oxen. A party stripped to the skin, and as diggers relieved one another to clear out the hole under the rock, and the people all drank sufficient, but the oxen only obtained two or three fillings each of a large metal dish we had for meat; - the poor things were much distressed. We slept close under a huge mass of granite, and expected a visit from a lion, whose fresh foot-mark was beside us - but he did not trouble us.

   Next day, we passed along the bed of the Humaris, enclosed all the way with lofty cliffs, between which the heat was so great that I thought I should have got a stroke of the sun. We walked on foot, and rode the oxen occasionally. Saw numerous traces of rhinoceroses, but the animals themselves trotted away out of sight, [115] up the rocky glens which led into the river. A pursuit took place after a troop of zebras on the top of the bank, and one of them was shot.

   Our course was E.S.E. We passed two pools of water, and had to slip down two or three dangerous steps of rocks which ran across the river’s bed. The oxen, loaded and unloaded, had to bring their hind legs under them, and to slide down the smooth inclined plains, and we got along without any serious accident. At last we saw, in an opening between the rocks, the very refreshing sight of green trees, grass, and water; this was in the bed of our old friend the Kuisip. We gladly off-packed, after seventeen miles, under a mighty camel thorn, opposite the junction of the two rivers, and where we saw a lion had been in close pursuit after some baboons, who had escaped before him among Palma Christi, or castor oil plants.

   Our herd of oxen had not seen more grass than would have satisfied one of them, since we had left the Kuisip at Hou'tous, three days before, and eighty miles distant; they now rioted in plenty; and we bipeds also felt very comfortable and happy with our respite from fatigue and [116] suffering. One of the men played “the Gorah’s humming reed,” which gives out wild tones like those of the Æolian harp, or of a distant horn. The instrument consists of a bow, part of the length of the string of which is a slip of ostrich quill; and this, being applied to the lips, gives out the melancholy sounds which so delight the tenants of the desert. I the tenants of the desert. Besides the meat of the zebra, I ordered our fattest heifer to be killed, and the people laid down to sleep, satisfied with abundance once more. We were indeed as well off as poor people·could be in the wilderness, and I felt free from anxiety about water and game, for some distance at least, seeing that we had two capital Boschman guides with us.

   After allowing Oahap, the elder of the two, to occupy himself for some time about the stomach of the heifer, I called to him to come and speak with me by the fire. He rose reluctantly, with a handful of bowels, and came and sat opposite me in no pleasant humour; but a pipefull of tobacco soon smoothed his brow.

“Have you,” I said, "always lived about the Kuisip?"


[117] “And your father before you?” ”Yes.”

“What was he?”

“He was a great chief: the people under him stood like the reeds over the river, they were so many.”

“What became of them?”

“Some were destroyed by wild beasts - as the lion, the elephant, and the rhinoceros; others were killed by the Damaras [Hereros]; and the rest died from hunger and old age. Of my people there are but few left now.”

“Think now, and tell me,” I continued, “what is the most wonderful thing you ever saw in your life?”

Oahap was sorely puzzled at this question. His range of observation had not extended far. He had apparently lived about sixty years in the world; he was tall and stout, still vigorous and active; and his “beat” had perhaps never extended beyond the branches of the River of Roots.

“The strangest thing I ever saw,” said he, after a long inspiration, and swallowing the [118] smoke, “was this. One day, two of us found the fresh marks of a couple of rhinoceroses in a path. We made a little stone kraal by the side of the path, where my companion lay in wait with two assegaes in his hand, and I went off to look for the rhinoceroses, and to disturb them. I found them asleep some distance off, under the trees: one of them was an old cow, and the other a large calf-rhinoceros. I threw a stone, they stood up; I threw another, they looked round; and seeing me, the old one rushed at me in a great rage. I ran off to a tree; and had just got my feet off the ground in climbing it, when the rhinoceros drove her horns between my legs into the trunk of the tree; but I was not hurt. She then went off with her calf; they passed the kraal; and my companion, standing up, threw an assegae at the old one: she went a little way and fell. He stood up again, and threw the other assegae, when the calf also fell dead. I came on after the rhinoceroses, and seeing them both lying near the kraal, I jumped on the back of the big one and rode it for joy, and I cried out to my friend, ‘Now I see you [119] are your father’s son this day!’ This, then, is the most wonderful thing I ever saw.[308]

Alexander eats ‘pheasants’, the first he had seen – ‘they are grey and brown speckled … and we found them running in considerable flocks under the bushes and grass of the river’s bank’ [= francolins?][309]. On the 15th May they pack up and ascend ‘by a zebra path, the hills on the south side of the river’ travelling in an easterly direction ‘over much broken ground’, packing off ‘in a hollow at Keree Kama [= |girib ||gams], or jackal’s water’, [120] where ‘an alarm arose that a rhinoceros was steering down the confined bed of the Karee Kama, for the small water place beside which we were sitting in the sand. … before we could get a shot at the rhinoceros, he “turned tail” and disappeared’[310].  


16th May - Alexander writes here that,

[w]e were now in the country of the Damaras [121] of the Hills; … [w]e crossed the fresh traces of several lions, and then reached a great plain surrounded with mountains … [where] we saw in every direction zebras grazing in herds of six or eight. I had never seen before such a number of these beautiful animals together … we were not long in … securing some zebra flesh for our supper. At the extremity of the plain, on a rising ground under a hill, I saw the first Damara village, but no inhabitants. The huts were of a conical form, and were composed of stakes meeting at top, and covered with grass. Round the bottom outside were placed stones to keep the grass from being blown away. To some of the huts there was a sort of porch to exclude the wind. Each hut was about ten feet high; and the whole eighteen were arranged at some distance [121] from each other, in a circle. In the middle was the dancing place; but there were no kraals for sheep or cattle.

The village was a mile distant from the water (a pool of the small river Numsep, or man’s kaross-lay-aside,) that the wild beasts might not be disturbed in their passage to the water by the vicinity of men. The hill above the village is a place of retreat; and it is the custom of the Damaras to sound an alarm, upon the sight of strangers, with a cow’s or deer’s horn, and to run up the hill to defend themselves, if necessary, with arrows and stones.[311] 

Around the ‘Numsep River’ [south-east of Gamsberg],

the number of rhinoceroses was very great; old and fresh traces were seen every where; and after a twenty miles’ march, and packing off at the pool called Onakusis (or woman s-petticoat-water), with the mountains called Oosip (joining,) and 'Nabagno (or rhinoceros horn [!nawas = rhino]) to the north of us, the chase commenced, and continued for two days. Several rhinoceroses were wounded but not secured; but two zebras and a gemsbok were added to our [123] larder: whilst flocks of blue pigeons, night partridges, and even parrots frequenting the pool, gave us fowl as well as flesh to cook.[312] 

On the 18th April,

we travelled E.S.E., and crossing a ridge, got into the bed of the Kuisip, or dung river, which was well lined with bushes, and of rhinoceroses.

    During the journey I had often endeavoured to find out traces of religion among the Boschmans and others; but I had hitherto been very unsuccessful. I have before alluded to the superstition of Heije Eibib, among the Namaquas; but among the Boschmans I had discovered nothing to indicate the faintest trace of religion, but now I did in a singular way.

   We proceeded up the Kuisip, and among the grass we had excellent sport with numerous flocks of guinea fowl, which we had not seen since we left Habunap [south-west of Bethany]; and after thirteen miles, we packed off at two deep holes in a rock, full of excellent water, at a place called  Abashouap, or “red man’s child,” [|awa = red, ‘Red Man’ = a Nama man?] when ‘Numeep, the Boschman guide, came to me labouring under an attack of dysentery, and said that he was about to die! … [124] [saying it is caused by] having dug for water at the place called Kuisip in the bed of the Kuisip River, near our last watering place, without having first made an offering, …[explaining that] “Before any Boschman … digs for water at Kuisip, he must lay down a piece of

flesh, seeds of the ‘naras fruit, or an arrow, or any thing else he may have about him and can spare, as an offering to Toosip [? From ‘tu’ = rain?], the old man of the water.”

   Now on this occasion ‘Numeep had left nothing at the water, and was therefore afflicted for his neglect.

   I asked ‘Numeep if he had ever seen Toosip. “No; I have never seen him, nor has any body else that I know of; but we believe that he [125] is a great red man with-white hair, and who can do us good and harm. He has neither bow nor assegae, nor has he a wife.”

   “Do you say any thing to him when you put down your offering at the water-place ?”  

   "We say, ‘Oh! great father! son of a Boschman - give me food; give me the flesh of the rhinoceros, of the gemsbok, of the wild horse, or what I require to have.’ But I was in such a hurry to drink this morning, that I scratched away the sand above the water, and took no notice of Toosip; and he was so angry, that if you had not helped me I must have died.”

   Having indulged too freely in zebra flesh at the last water, was doubtless the cause of ‘Numeep’s illness; but fear may have made him worse: I was very glad he had been ill; for owing to this, I found out a trace of worship among a very wild people.[313] 

At this point, south-east of Gamsberg, Alexander writes of seeing pitfalls saying that,

[w]e now saw miles of hedges, about three feet high, laid to direct the wild animals to pit-falls placed here and there for them; the pit-falls for the rhinoceros were four feet deep and four broad, with branches and leaves over them, and were [126] consequently not large enough to take in his whole bulk, but were only sufficient for his fore legs, which the people said was the best way of securing him, as his legs once in, they have no purchase with which to raise his body. There were also other means for securing the smaller game. Thus a cord formed of the inner bark of a tree was tied to a young sapling, a loop was made in the cord, and the sapling was bent down and fixed slightly to two cross sticks; the loop was opened and arranged on the ground above a hollow place and under a few blades of grass to conceal it, so that a deer, or even an ostrich, on passing through the opening where the noose was placed, and putting a foot through it, was immediately twitched into the air by one leg, and thus became the prey of the Damaras [of the hills?].[314] 

Alexander ascends,

… an eminence [‘Rostock Mountains’?] above Abashouap, and was much struck with the grandeur and beauty of this part of Damara Land [?]. Looking towards the east, and at the distance of eight or ten miles, rose the huge mass of the ‘Tans mountain, with its square top and furrowed sides; lesser heights were beside him, whilst the [127] whole country was a series of ridges and valleys, on which were scattered dwarf trees and bushes, whilst fine grass waved gently in the breeze in every direction.

   Huts, three and four together, of the same construction as I had lately seen [by ‘Damara of the Hills’], were observed in many parts of the varied and extensive landscape; but I did not see a human being. The guides said that last year there had been a drought and famine in the land, many of the Damaras[?] had died of hunger, and the others had moved off for a time to the eastward, where more rain had fallen.

   Two rhinoceroses, an old dam and her weaned calf, were observed lying asleep under short and stout trees in a valley near Abashouap. They were cautiously “becrept,” and the old one was shot. All night a party remained by it to cut and “vlek” the meat, for carrying off a quantity of it; and the young rhinoceros alarmed them by coming close to them in the night to look for its mother.

   We had now in our pot at one time the flesh of the rhinoceros, zebra, gemsbok, and hare, also [128] guinea fowl and pigeon; but we had no biscuit or vegetables to render this variety palateable. One thing I now remarked, that after partaking of rhinoceros soup I was much stronger in walking and running than at other times; but the flesh of the rhinoceros is coarse and rank, and only does for a “bush appetite.”[315] 

On the 19th April,

Alexander’s expedition travels S.E., and a large black snake [mamba?], ten feet long, was seen steering towards some rocks with a hare in its mouth. The guides were disturbed at seeing this snake. “That is the komakasip,” (or what-cannot-bear-the-sight-of-cattle), said they [‘kamo’ = ‘goma’ = ‘cattle’]. “It is, the most dangerous of the snakes in this land. A man runs but a short distance after he is bitten by the komakasip. Some time ago a Boschman discovered a honey nest not far from his hut, and he was creeping into the hole to rob the bees, when a komakasip bit him in the face. He ran home as fast as he could; but he fell dead before his own door.”

   We shot now some new birds about the size of a thrush, with blueish backs and yellow breasts: they are afterwards. described. We [129] also got a small variety of magpie, black with white wings, and finches with red heads and speckled breasts. After nine miles of hill and dale, we packed off in a deep dell, at a place called Unus, or narrow river, with ‘Tans towering four thousand feet above us on our left.

   The cattle had fortunately become stronger within the last few days, with the sweet grass and the good water, and we were thus able to climb the steep and pathless offsets from ‘Tans, ('which are called Kumap, or the mountains of supplication), though the fatigue of doing so was very considerable. After five miles of a winding course on the 20th, we breakfasted at Eisees (or beautiful) Fountain, and then surmounting a very steep ascent, we zig-zagged down on the other side, and saw deep water courses still further below us, and a solitary eagle floating above us.

   The perspiration poured in streams down the people, and the cattle were white with foam, when we got to the bottom of a valley, and commenced another ascent, steeper and more rugged than the last; but at length, after desperate efforts, we got all the cattle on a table [130] land, when the cool air refreshed us, and the magnificent prospect of many miles of mountain scenery towards Ababies, and the desert [of ‘Tans, south of !Khuiseb] where we had nearly perished.

   There was one consolation we had under all our fatigues, that no white man had ever before traversed the scenes amongst which we now toiled.

   After an easy descent, and at the distance of thirteen miles from Eisees, we came to Chuntop, or sand path, a beautiful place under rocks, with high trees, and grass up to one’s waist. The poor cattle roamed about among this, and were confounded with abundance.[316] 

At this point, Alexander writes,

I now learned from my guides that we were in the immediate vicinity of a ”Heis” or Damara village, which had not been deserted, as the others had been, which we had already past. I had not allowed any firing for four and twenty hours, as I was afraid of alarming the Damaras, and I [132] now sent off Oahap alone, to prepare the Damaras for our seeing them, and to assure them that they should not be harmed in any way.

   On the evening of the 18th of May, Oahap came down the glen, at the bottom of which we lay, with the head man of the Heis, and three others, at which I was much pleased.

 These Hill Damaras were about five feet seven inches in height, and in colour and feature had all the characteristics of the negro, even to the projecting shin bone. They came with long staves in their hands, and without arms, in token of friendship and confidence; though perhaps their weapons were not far off. Their hair was peculiar; that is, it was cut off quite round the head, and an inch above the ear, leaving only the hair on the top of the head in the manner of the Roundheads of the Cromwellian period. They wore short karosses of deer skin, and softened flaps of skin before and behind, to cover their nakedness; and in the hind flap, which was longer than the fore one, there was a pocket for holding roots, &c. They wore soles or sandals.

[133]The head man was about forty-five years of age, and was a pleasant and communicative person. He said he would make one of his men guide us to the next village, Oahap and ‘Numeep [‘Boschmans’] having fulfilled their bargain in bringing us among the Hill Damaras.[317] 

Alexander asks the headman a series of questions,

… how he lived at this season, and he answered, “Badly enough. We are now eating mice; lizards [for which Alexander notes ‘[t]he body of which has brown and yellow cross bars on it and the tail is deeply serrated at the sides’], roots, and sometimes leaves.”

   I inquired if he had always lived where he now did, and he said; “We have always lived among these hills; and we never knew of any other land.”

   I asked if he had any thing to do with the Damaras of the Plains. “No, nothing,” said the head man, “they are our enemies; they are black like ourselves; but they speak a different language; we speak the language of the Namaquas; and the Damaras of the Plains, or Kamaka Damap (Cattle Damaras) speak a language of their own.”

[134] I told him that he and his people must not be frightened at white men, and that I intended visiting his village next morning. He answered, “Though we never have seen white men before, yet we always expected to do so. We heard always that they would one day come into the land, and we now see these strange men. I shall tell my people not to run away to-morrow.”

   Still adhering to the principle of not pitching the tent, when we were on the move, for the reasons before stated, we were rather inconvenienced by rain during the night at Chuntop; but as-it was the first time we had heard rain drops for two months, the sound was not disagreeable, and now being amongst the fantastic rocks, grassy hills, and spreading trees of Damara  land, we thought we should oftener experience refreshing showers than we had hitherto done.[318] 

19th May(?):

We packed at sunrise, and the cattle going by a circuitous but easier path, north and east, I walked up the glen with a few men and riding oxen to the Damara village. We found it in a small mountain valley, surrounded with granitic rocks, amongst which were trees and shrubs, [135] and with a citadel hill close at hand to retire to, on occasions of alarm. The twelve conical huts were arranged in a circle, and we now saw Damara women as well as men.

   The women had their hair cut in the same way as the men, and many of them had lost two joints of one of their little fingers, which they said they had got cut off when they themselves had been sick, or their children had been ill. Cowrie shells hung from their heads, and half way down their faces. They wore short karosses on the shoulders, and over the fore flap or apron there were hanging short thongs, on which were strung pieces of reed, bones of hares, beads, blue and white stones, &c.[319] The hind flap, like the men’s was provided with a pocket, for what the Dutch call “veld kost,” country food, as bulbs, the fruit of the mysembryanthemum[?], &c.

   By the doors of the huts lay bows and arrows, like those of the Namaquas; and in the grassy covering of the huts was stuck the usual throwing assegae. Clay cooking pots of a conical shape were in every hut.

   The Hill Damaras are a numerous nation, [136] extending from the heights south of the Swakop to the Little Koanquip river [Konkiep], and they live in small communities under head men, in the manner we now saw them doing; without one supreme or paramount chief of the nation. They are commonly called Koup Damap, or Dung Damaras[320], by way of reproach by the Namaquas, whilst the Namaquas themselves bear a similar contemptuous epithet, among their constant foes; the Damaras of the Plains. I think ‘Humi[321] or Hill Damaras is the best term for the people with whom we had now to deal.

   “We call them Koup Damap,” said a Namaqua, “because they keep nothing to kill [i.e. no livestock], and not even dogs to catch the fauns of the springbok, as the Boschmans do.”

   As the Hill Damaras have no cattle to transport mat huts from one place to another (in the manner of the Namaquas), their huts are permanent, and last for a long time; and sometimes they are covered with bark instead of grass.

   The Hill Damaras cultivate no grain, only sometimes raise a little tobacco.

   Few people are more simple in their habits [137] than the Hill Damaras, and among them there are hardly any ceremonies on those occasions when most other nations show marked peculiarities. Thus, when a man wishes to marry a girl, he goes to the father, with a present of bulbs and striped mice, to feast the old gentleman; and if he is accepted as a son-in-law, he adds to the onions and mice, an assegae or two, bows and arrows, a couple of karosses of springbok or rabbit skins, &c. and, some of which he gets back again. They then dance a little (they make no honey beer at a marriage), and the bridegroom carries off his wife to his own hut. …

   The dance of the ‘Humi Damap is somewhat similar to that which I had seen among the [138] Boschmans. The women stand in a row, clapping their hands and singing, “Hey, he heyho! hey he hey! ho hoo!” whilst the men, with their sandals in their hands and with springbok’s horns bound on their foreheads (which give them a Satanic appearance) stamp and dance round slowly before the women, and grunt in chorus.

   The Damaras play on the gorah, which is their only musical instrument. The Hill Damaras do not practise circumcision, as is the custom among the Kamaka Damap, and Caffres. In this respect the Humi Damap are like the Namaquas.[322] …

Alexander makes a number of exoticising ethnographical observations and projections about ‘Humi Dama here:

If a woman happens to curse or abuse her husband, they cannot sleep together any more; and the woman must then eat from her own hand,” or support herself - but they seldom curse. If a woman goes into the field to search for bulbs, she never tastes them till her husband has first eaten of them. In cases of adultery the adulterer is killed, and the woman is severely flogged by her husband. The Hill Damaras take unto themselves as many wives as they can maintain.

   [139] A young Damara doctor showed me the way he cured his patients, and it was laughable enough. He provided himself with a clean wooden milk vessel, or bambus, and applying it, covered with a piece of skin, to the breast of a man who was lying on his side and groaning as if sick, he (the doctor) then left him, and sitting down opposite a stone, he began to strike it with the stick of his fox-tail handkerchief, and to sing at the same time, “To, to, to, tehei; to, to, to, tehei,” After which he got up and danced round, and looked as if for something on the ground, at last he stopped suddenly, and appeared to find what he sought, and calling out “het, het,” sharply, he goes to the bambus, and taking it from the patient’s chest, on which he blows, he pretends to find some blood, or grease, or a bone in the bambus, which had been introduced by sleight of hand. The bambus is then carefully covered over, the doctor runs off with it a little way, and buries what he pretends to have conjured from the patient, in the sand, and then stamps over it, and the sick man is now supposed to be cured! [this is a recognisable description of arus healing practices and arus drum]

    On the death of a person, a pit is dug, and the [140] corpse is placed in it in an upright position, and stones, bushes, and earth are placed about and over it, to prevent the wild dogs, wolves, or crows, eating the body.

   Notwithstanding that some people maintain that there is no nation on earth without religion in some form, however faintly it may be traced in their minds, yet, after much and diligent inquiry, I could not discover the slightest feeling of devotion towards a higher and an invisible power among the Hill Damaras; neither had they any fear of an evil influence.

   They believe in nothing but what they see. “Who gives you your food?” I asked.

   “We get our living from the air - from the seasons,” answered an old Damara.

   “Why dont you keep sheep or goats, that you might live better than you do?”

   “we have been afraid of losing them; we wished to keep them, but we thought the Boschmans would rob us of them. Now we think ourelves strong enough to defend ourselves and our property against the Boschmans, and we must try and get flocks.”

   [141] “When you die, what becomes of you?”

   “When we die we are buried, and are then no better than the beasts.”[323] 

   “Are you afraid to die?”

   “Yes, very much; and we are afraid when we see people ill, because we think it may be our turn next - we try not to think of dying.”

   “Who do you think made the sun and moon, and all you see about you in the world?”

   “We dont know; we are a stupid people; we never think of this. What is the use of thinking of it? no one ever told us any thing about these things, and how could we know any thing about them; all we want to know is, where to get a large animal to kill and eat.”

   "Do you, on any occasion, go to any particular place and make an offering there? For instance, do you go to a heap of stones and throw a stone on the heap; or put a branch on it; or leave a bit of skin on a bush anywhere ?”

   “No, we never do these things; we are a stupid people; we dont know or do any thing but look for food, and dance when we have got plenty.”

   [142] I have given this conversation held with a Damara apparently as intelligent as the generality of the natives; and I think from it there is evidence sufficient to prove, that beyond their daily wants, the Damaras have no thought of any thing else; and “that,” as Choubib, the interpreter, said, “they believe in neither God not devil.”

   [Justifying and advocating missionary activity, Alexander writes… ] The mind of this ignorant people is like a “tabula rasa,” ready to receive any impression, good or bad. There are apparently no superstitious notions among them to overthrow, no idol worship, no bowing down to stocks or stones. That they may at no distant day bow down to the true God, and that their minds may be instructed, and their spiritual and temporal condition improved, ought to be the earnest prayer and the endeavour of every lover of his species, who has the means to assist them.

   I left the village, and with an old Damara guide, who was as fleet as a hare, we passed rapidly through grassy vallies, to intercept the pack-oxen, and the people with them. We were [143] now to the eastward of ‘Tans, and we had striking views of this noble mountain.

   ‘“Is there much game in this field?” I asked the old Damara.

   “None,” said he, when immediately after, to give the lie to this assertion, a large troop of white legged zebras, with sleek coats shining in the sun, galloped across the plain, pursued by some of our hunters, and we saw besides many traces of other wild animals here.[324] 

   The “trek,” or pack-oxen, now appeared, and from one of the drivers we heard of a loss which I had just sustained. The driver was entrusted with one of the boarding pikes, and seeing a pack loose, he gave his pike to a Damara at his elbow, to hold. After the pack was arranged, the driver looked about for the pike, and he saw the Damara making the best of his way with it up a hill above the party, and deaf to cries and threats, he disappeared over the top, thus affording us an example of Damara roguery. The quantity of iron about a boarding pike was a temptation for a Damara which he could not possibly resist.

   [144] We were now on a table land stretching from ‘Tans eastward, one of the great steppes of South Africa, and the thermometer was 65º, in the middle of the day. On our right was one of the principal sources of the ‘Oup or Fish river, round the head of which we were now journeying. We passed along with ease and comfort over a level surface, and arrived at the Taop or Cragless river, a branch of the Kuisip; here we found food and water for the oxen.

   A number of Boschmans, tall and stout, (as those to the north of the mouth of the Great River usually are) now visited us, and said their heis was a short distance off. I went a mile and a half and found twenty huts of stakes and bushes in a hollow. On some of the huts lay skins of antelopes of various kinds, which had not yet been prepared for clothing. I saw also some strange horns like those of a small cow, a mane, tail, and hoofs of an animal I had not yet seen; but I found out afterwards that these were parts of a Kaop [Gaob], (master) buck or brindled gnu. …

   [145] The Kaop is not found in this district in herds; they are oftenest found singly, or at most two or three together. It is a bold and resolute animal, and it is very dangerous when wounded, hence its name of “Master.”

   I was anxious to know how the Boschmans managed to kill the Kaop; and remarking two light frames covered with ostrich feathers, grey and black, on a tree, I asked them, through my chasseur Henrick [Buys / Boois], what they were. The Boschmans said, “with these we disguise ourselves as ostriches, and thus get near the Kaop, to shoot it with our arrows.”

   A present of tobacco induced a Boschman to disguise himself. He placed one of the feather [146] frames on his shoulders and secured it about his neck; then taking from a bush the head and neck of an ostrich, through which a stick was thrust, he went out a little way from the huts with a bow and arrow in his left hand, and pretending to approach a Kaop, he pecked at the tops of the bushes in the manner of an ostrich, and occasionally rubbed the head against the false body, as the ostrich ever and anon does to get rid of flies. At a little distance, and sideways, the general appearance of the Boschman, was like that of “the giant bird,” though a front view betrayed the whole of the human body. Approaching sufficiently near to the Kaop, which of course has nothing to dread from its feathered companion of the plains, the Boschman slips the ostrich head between his neck and the frame, and cautiously taking aim, discharges his arrow at the deceived Kaop.

   I was much amused with this manner of approaching game … But the Boschmans sometimes suffer when thus disguised. One approached an ostrich with a feather frame, and wounded it, when the bird ran at the disguised Boschman, and with its terrible toe-nail ripped him open from the breast downwards, and killed him on the spot.

   The Boschmans of the Taop intimated that they wanted to come and dance at our “off-pack place” in the evening. Accordingly, a few of the men, and two or three dozen of the women came, and after I had lain down, they, with the assistance of our Namaquas, made a large fire, and the usual “Oh! ei oh! ei oh!” song, and clapping of hands commenced, which kept me awake for some time. In the morning, I found that the Bosch-people here had been as little scrupulous as those at Ababies, and all for the sake of a little of the zebra flesh we had.[325] 

It is bitterly cold here[326]:

We passed over a most beautiful grassy plain, with scattered bushes and sand heaps, and on it we saw two or three rhinoceroses at a distance, but our fingers were so benumbed that we could not have pulled a trigger. The Karoo Koran, or small red bustard, flew up here and there to tempt us, but the cold took sporting out of us, till towards midday, when we saw gazing at us among some dwarf trees, a brindled gnu. This immediately fired us. The gnu shook his black mane and pawed the ground impatiently; we ran and crept towards him, but it was all in vain. He switched his tail at us, and went off at a hand gallop, presenting the appearance of a horned horse. Two or three others were seen, but we were equally unsuccessful with them.

   We halted, after twelve miles, to cook and eat, beside a pool, and saw on our right the group called Kobip, or the Bone Hills. Continuing our journey on foot, for the cold, after six-[150]teen more miles, we off-packed in the dry bed of the Chunchuap (or Hare Hole) River. Next morning, after an uncomfortable night from cold, we breakfasted at Chama, or Soft River, four miles. After which we saw a huge white or cream-coloured rhinoceros, on a hill, which moved about impatiently as the hunters ran up towards it. It seemed a mountain of flesh, and was, apparently, upwards of seven feet high. It went off with a ball in its neck.

   The proportions of the head of the white rhinoceros are different from those of the black. The mouth is square; and the foremost horn is always, I believe, much longer in the white than the hind one. The fore-horn of the white specimen we had just seen, seemed to be between three and four feet long; and Henrick [Buys] the hunter said, he had seen them up to one’s shoulder. The white rhinoceros eats grass, and is a timid animal compared with the savage black species, which commonly charges, whether wounded or not; whereas the white variety tries to effect its escape.

   On our left were the very picturesque moun-[151]tains about two thousand feet high, called Aantup and Uep, or the Bird Stone and White Mountains; and twenty-six miles brought us with Boschmen guides, to our surprise, to a large Heis or village of Namaquas, called Naraes (or fallover,) on the Oanop, or Tell-tale River.

   The Namaquas of Naraes were part of the people of the powerful chief Aramap, who lay still further in advance, and who had lately driven the Damaras of the plains from the beautiful and abundant country we now saw, beyond the Swakop. The Cattle-Damaras had, of late years, encroached greatly on the old Namaquas of the Upper Fish River, and were driving them before them down the river, when the conquered, being unprovided with guns, called on Aramap of the Africaner family for help, who came with some guns and stout fellows from near the Orange River, defeated the Damaras in three bloody fights, in 1835, took their cattle from them, conciliated the hill Damaras, and became the great chief of this part of the country.

   The Namaquas were very civil. We felt ourselves quite at home among them, and were [152] glad to see mat huts again. There was milk and honey beer in plenty; on which last Choubib, as was his wont, got very drunk and quarrelsome. I had some difficulty to keep my hands off the old fellow, for he insisted on my buying an ox from the roan who had treated him, and who wanted some of our goods, which I did not wish to open till we got to Aramap’s head-quarters.

   On the 24th of May, Aramap’s brother, with several other Namaquas, came on riding oxen, and in their best apparel to meet me, and to conduct me to the great chief. I left Naraes with them. We passed over one of the finest plains I had seen in Africa, covered with sweet grass, and with high trees, and bushes dispersed on it in detached groups, and among which wild horses were seen. We approached the banks of a river with a strange name, for such a scene, the Kei-kurup, or “First ugly river,” and we found its banks rather steep, and with pools of water in its bed, which was about seventy yards broad. Looking across it, there appeared to be a great town of Namaqua and Hill Damara huts, [153] round and conical. The whole plain was covered with huts, in hamlets of five and six together, and cattle and sheep-kraals were beside there. We had got then to “the fertile plains and fine cattle country,” which were laid down from native report on Arrowsmith’s map, and I was much rejoiced to think that the ship of war had not come for us, or we should have missed seeing the three hundred miles of new country we had just passed over, after leaving Walvisch Bay, and the very fine region for grass and game we were now in.

   The landscape, besides being beautiful from the abundance of trees and pasture, (amongst which large herds and flocks were seen grazing in every direction,) was imposing by reason of the picturesque and primitive mountains to the north and east, and placing the town of Niais (or very black) as it were in a vast amphitheatre. The first mountain to the north had four summits, and as it had no particular name, I dignified it with that of the Hydrographer to the Admiralty, as Captain Beaufort had been of the greatest assistance to the expedition. The most distant [154] mountain, a blue peak, (Karubees, or Roll Mount,) was subsequently named at the Royal Geographical Society after myself, whilst south of this was Huhap, Thorn Glen Mountain, Hubies, (much, or) the Great Mountain, eighteen hundred feet high, square topped, with a peak at the southern extremity, and whose sides were deeply furrowed. South of Hubies was Nahabip, or Tortoise Mountain, and some minor heights. I named this group of mountains, the most picturesque I had seen, after our most gracious Sovereign Lady the Queen.

   After enjoying the view of the detached mountains and of the plains at their feet, and calculating that in the scattered town of Niais, there must have been about one thousand two hundred souls, I crossed the Kei-kurup, and halted on the other bank, where I directed the people to unload the cattle. Aramap now came from his hut attended by several of his old people. He was a little, modest looking man, with the usual Namaqua features, as to high cheek bones, narrow eyes, and prominent lips, but his nose was slightly inclined to aquiline. [155] He had nothing in his outward man to denote the bold and intrepid warrior, who had beaten the formidable tribe of Kamaka Damap, and had thus saved the Namaquas of the Upper Fish river from annihilation. But Aramap, like other great commanders, though short, is distinguished by a daring mind, by good judgment, and by very active habits.

   He said that it was unsafe to “pack off,” near the river, for lions swept along it almost nightly, and had lately carried off both sheep and cattle from his people; accordingly we carried up the baggage, with assistance, to a clear space adjoining Aramap’s hut, who erected mat screens to shelter the people, and who did all in his power to render us comfortable.

   Here then was I now at Niais, far in the interior of Africa, but seated once more in my tent, and in the midst of abundance! It is true that we might be attacked by Kamaka Damaras, but having Aramap near me, who knew so well how to deal with them, I had no anxiety on this score. We might now have swam in milk if we had been so disposed; night and morning the [156] women brought us great quantities to exchange for large eyed needles; Choubib also had opportunities for getting drunk on honey beer and though we had nothing in the shape of bread or vegetables, yet of flesh we had plenty. Aramap gave me a handsome present of pack and slaughter oxen, and of sheep. I gave him a cloak, medal, pipe, shawls, axes, beads, handkerchiefs, &c. in return, and we became great friends.[327]

to be contd.

The route (in red) covered by James Edward Alexander in 1836-37 (inset, Cape Town to Kamies River), mapped with assistance of the cartographer R. Arrowsmith[328], source:, accessed 7 April 2015.

© This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License        

[1] Available at, 13 April 2016.

[2] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1. p. v.

[3] Alexander 2006[1838] vol. 1. p. vi. (emphasis added).

[4], accessed 13 April 2016.

[5] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. vi.

[6] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. vi-vii.

[7] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. vii.

[8] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. viii.

[9] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. viii.

[10] Alexander 2006[1838), vol. 1 p. xi.

[11] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. x. - Some Europeans had crossed to the north but only 400 miles from its mouth while ‘[a] Dutch colonist, also, W. Ran Reenen, went some distance up the Great Fish River, but his account was never published’.

[12] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 5.

[13] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 150.

[14] Wallace 2011, p. 54.

[15] Alexander 2006[1838), vol. 1 p. xi.

[16] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. xi.

[17] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. xii.

[18] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 4-5.

[19] Lemmer 1957, p.16.

[20] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 256 (emphasis added).’… Neither discovery nor moral improvement can proceed rapidly in Africa; but we must be continually endeavouring to promote both of these important objects’.

[21] Presumably from ‘xammi’, i.e. ‘lions’ in Khoekhoegowab.

[22] Alexander 2006[1838], p. xiii-xv.

[23] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 52.

[24] Alexander 2006[1838) vol. 1 p. 61.

[25] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 3.

[26] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 2-3.

[27] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 3, ‘… which last procures assistance and food, when all else fails to move the natives of South Africa]’.

[28] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 2-3, 6-7.

[29] [‘till we had got as many cattle and sheep as I then wanted’]

[30] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 223, , [and that also impoverished the local livestock economy through exchanging European commodities for productive animals]. cf. Kinahan 2001[1991].

[31] Anon 2013, online.

[32] Anon 2013, online.

[33] Anon 2013, online.

[34] Anon 2013, online.

[35] Anon 2013, online.

[36] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 4-7.

[37] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 8.

[38] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. x.

[39] Anon 2013, online.

[40] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 26.

[41] i.e. a civilian official in a local government district (drostdy), the representative of a district landrost (governor) invested with authority to act as a magistrate or military officer so as to maintain law and order in his ward. Information from accessed 4 May 2015.

[42] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 31.

[43] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 10-11.

[44] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 32.

[45] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 33-34. Alexander adds that ‘[w]ith the exception of a few, their character is not very good’ (p. 34).

[46] This journey is in the years immediately following the emancipation of slaves under British imperial edict to the British Cape Colony government, and the exodus of Boer farmers and their families north and east of the Cape Colony to the Transvaal.

[47] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 33.

[48] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 19-20

[49] Which in 2016 seems to be in the same family hands as Jamaka Organic Farm growing organic mangoes, citrus and rooibos tea, hosting tourism accommodation, and advertising excursions to nearby Bushmen paintings, perhaps including those Alexander, see, also, accessed 13 April 2016.

[50] Note the depoliticised and ahistorical language! In all likelihood they were driven out, fled, or were otherwise exterminated.

[51] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 27.

[52] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 49.

[53] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 32.

[54] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 32.

[55] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 35-36.

[56] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 36.

[57] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 37.

[58] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 37-39.

[59] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 35, emphasis in original.

[60] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 36.

[61] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 36.

[62] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. **.

[63] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 39-40. Pearson 1912.

[64] ‘Ebenezer was established in 1831 as a station of the Rhenish Missionary Society. The 1875 census indicated that the village had a population of 291. It was visited by James Backhouse in March 1840 when he reported that: “The missionary-station of Ebenezer ... was an original kraal of (Khoikhoi); it was secured to them along with a tract of land, by the Government, which also gave a charge over it to the Rhenish Missionary Society ... Several of the people were living in huts built of reeds, which were more substantial dwellings than mat huts, but not transportable. A windmill was about to be erected on a low rounded hill” (accessed 2 September 2017). Nama here are described as ‘Griqriqua’ (Bell 1854, p. 21).

[65] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 40.

[66] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 41.

[67] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 49-50 - ‘the farmers, therefore, have each at least two places of perhaps three or four thousand morgen (six or eight thousand acres) each, and to save the pasture [50] about their houses for summer, they are in the fields, at a distance from their homes, with their cattle, during the months of July, August, September, and October, and move about from one pasture to another’.

[68] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 51.

[69] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 52.

[70] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 51-52.

[71] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 52-53.

[72] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 63.

[73] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 59.

[74] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 59.

[75] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 4-5.

[76] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 64.

[77] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 60.

[78] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 73, states that the taxes inflicted on Boors ‘are exceedingly light-say, thirty rix dollars or 21. 5s. (the price of an ox) for a place of three thousand morgen, or six thousand acres, which supports many hundred head of cattle, horses, and sheep’.

[79] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 67-69.

[80] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 70-71, 75.

[81] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 74-75.

[82] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 75.

[83] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 79.

[84] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 85-86.

[85] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 84.

[86] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 89.

[87] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 90., Alexander notes that Schmelen’s ‘first wife was a Great Namaqua woman, who led a most exemplary life, and by whom he had several children; his second wife is from the Cape, and is most active and indefatigable as a school-mistress’ (p. 91).

[88] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 93.

[89] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 94.

[90] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 95, 100.

[91] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 95.

[92] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 96.

[93] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 99.

[94] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 98.

[95] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 99.

[96] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 100.

[97] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 101.

[98] A whaling station had been established by Dutch traders on the Skeleton Coast (at Walfisch bay?**) early in 1800s - Olusoga and Erichsen 2010, p. 28.

[99] Cf. Kinahan 1991 on the trading out of productive goods, i.e. livestock, and consequent collapse of indigenous pastoral economy.

[100] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 102-103.

[101] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 103-104.

[102] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 105.

[103] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 113.

[104] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 83.

[105] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 111, 113.

[106] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 108.

[107] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 108.

[108] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 109.

[109] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 online:, accessed 19 April 2016.

[110] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 112-113.

[111] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 118-119. Copper was indeed later mined at the Small Copper Mountains which correspond with the location identified here (information from,_Northern_Cape accessed 4 May 2015..

[112] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 119.

[113] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 120.

[114] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 125.

[115] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 126.

[116] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 126, 128.

[117] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 128.

[118] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 129.

[119] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 129.

[120] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 133.

[121] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 137-138.

[122] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 139.

[123] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 140.

[124] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 156.

[125] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 142.

[126] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 142.

[127] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 143.

[128] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 144-145.

[129] i.e. |Khomas mountain area, south-west of present-day Windhoek, home of the ‘Damara of the Hills’ people he later encounters and refers to as “‘Humi Damara”, i.e. |Khomanin.

[130] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 145.

[131] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 146.

[132] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 145.

[133] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 146.

[134] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 146-147.

[135] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 147.

[136] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 148. Jackson is also there with his wife and at least one child (‘a baby at the breast’), Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 201.

[137] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 148-149.

[138] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 149.

[139] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 149.

[140] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 150.

[141] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 152.

[142] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 154.

[143] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 155.

[144] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 155-156.

[145] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 157.

[146] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 160.

[147] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 159-160.

[148] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 161-162.

[149] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 160.

[150] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 162-163.

[151] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 163.

[152] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 165-166.

[153] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 167-168.

[154] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 169-174.

[155] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 172.

[156] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 175.

[157] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 176-177. Jill Kinahan (2000, p. 17) writes of how Captain Cécille of the French corvette l’Heroine describes American and French whalers in Angra Pequeña where between 25 and 30 oxen were brought by the Namaqua, described as suffering from hunger and thirst, where two flasks of gunpowder exchanged for a 300lb ox and ‘an inferior quality gun for two oxen’. In Walvis Bay he finds no cattle to trade but exchanges less than a pound of tobacco for a goat and three kids in a village of around 100 people and 18-20 huts (made of tree branches pushed into the ground the tips bound to make a dome), from where people took flight on his arrival. Despite lack of cattle, Cécille ‘found the people to be healthy’, subsisting on ‘young goats, milk, !nara, ostrich eggs, game and especially fish which they speared in the shallows of the lagoon with a long pole tipped with horn’, and wearing small aprons decorated with a fringe of ‘small, smooth iron beads, and a skin cape covering the body from shoulders to thigh’ plus bangles, earings and necklaces of glass or copper beads. They all ‘coveted tobacco, the men selling their goats and weapons for it, and the women setting shame aside and allowing the curious sailors to inspect the fabled “Hottentot apron”’. An officer of the French survey ship L’Heroine writes of people at Walvis Bay that they are “the most slovenly and immoral people he had ever met” (Vigne 1994, p. 5 after Möritz 1915-18, p. 72 quoted in Sydow 1973, p. 74)..

[158] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 178.

[159] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 181.

[160] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 181. Nb. In this year several thousand ‘Trek Boers’, finding the slavery abolition and new freedoms of ‘coloured’ peoples of the Cape (under Ordinance 50 of 1828) to be unacceptable, ‘abandon their farms and settlements in the Cape to embark on their famous Great Trek’, some pushing into Nama lands south of the Orange / Gariep River and stimulating movement of Nama northwards over the Orange. Reported as relying on dogs trained to sniff out hidden waterholes where settlement could be established (Olusoga and Erichsen 2010, p. 23; also Bell 1977, p. 11).  

[161] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 197.

[162] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 190.

[163] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 187-188 – nb. Details of the story are in Alexander’s text, pp. 187-188.

[164] Dierks 1987/88, pp. 20-21, and references therein.

[165] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 188.

[166] Alexander 2006[1838], vol 1 pp. 190-195.

[167] Alexander 2006[1838], vol 1 p. 197.

[168] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 198.

[169] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 199.

[170] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 201-203.

[171] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 203.

[172] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 203.

[173] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 203-204.

[174] Henrick was a ||Habowen or Veldskoendrager captain under the Bondelswart captain Abram, Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 208.

[175] Dierks, Klaus: ||Khauxa!nas - The Great Namibian Settlement, Windhoek, 1992, p. 54-55, in Dierks Nam Roads online; 24 November 2019.

[176] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 206.

[177] Dierks 1987/88, p. 10.

[178] Dierks, Klaus: ||Khauxa!nas - The Great Namibian Settlement, Windhoek, 1992, p. 54-55, in Dierks Nam Roads online.

[179] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 207.

[180] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 208.

[181] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 210.

[182] Alexander 2006[1838], vol.1 p. 215.

[183] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 217.

[184] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 218.

[185] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 220.

[186] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 221.

[187] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 218.

[188] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 220.

[189] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 221.

[190] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 224-225.

[191] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 223.

[192] Robert Repp, recruited in Cape Town - ‘an Englishman, in charge of the cattle’, vol. 1., p. 5.

[193] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 225.

[194] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 227.

[195] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 230.

[196] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 228.

[197] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 229.

[198] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 232.

[199] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 232.

[200] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 235.

[201] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 233-134.

[202] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 235.

[203] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 237-238.

[204] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 240.

[205] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 241-242.

[206] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 242.

[207] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 245.

[208] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 248.

[209] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 250.

[210] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 254.

[211] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 255.

[212] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 255-256.

[213] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 259-267.

[214] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 269.

[215] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 271-272.

[216] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 272.

[217] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 274.

[218] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 276, emphasis added.

[219] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 281-284, emphasis added.

[220] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 289.

[221] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 284.

[222] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 285.

[223] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 285.

[224] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 287-288.

[225] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 287-288.

[226] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 287-288.

[227] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 290.

[228] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 295.

[229] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 p. 296.

[230] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 1 pp. 297, 299-300.

[231] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 22.

[232] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 20.

[233] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2., p. 28. **Conquering the country..‘I was very anxious to get through the Pass [Bull’s Mouth, Chuntop/Tsondab River], to imprint its wild vallies for the first time with a waggon spoor..’RHINO HUNT**

[234] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 29.

[235] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 30.

[236] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 30.

[237] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 30-31.

[238] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 31.

[239] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 31.

[240] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 31-32.

[241] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 34.

[242] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 4.

[243] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 34.

[244] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 36.

[245] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 36-38.

[246] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 39.

[247] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 39.

[248] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 40.

[249] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 41.

[250] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 41.

[251] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 42-43.

[252] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 43.

[253] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 44-45.

[254] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 46.

[255] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 47-48.

[256] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 54.

[257] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 55.

[258] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 55-56.

[259] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 60.

[260] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 62.

[261] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 62-63.

[262] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 64.

[263] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 65.

[264] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 66.

[265] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 66.

[266] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 68.

[267] Alexander vol. 2., pp. 79-80.

[268] Alexander vol. 2., p. 79.

[269] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2., pp. 79-80.

[270] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 pp. 81-82.

[271] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 83.

[272] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 84.

[273] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 85.

[274] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 85.

[275] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 86.

[276] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 88.

[277] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 89.

[278] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 89.

[279] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 89.

[280] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 90.

[281] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 91.

[282] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 92-95.

[283] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 95-96.

[284] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 96-98.

[285] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 17.

[286] As John Kinahan 2001[1991], p. 117 observes from Alexander’s account ‘it was not unusual for ships to wait several days before slaughter animals could be obtained’.

[287] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 100-101.

[288] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 109.

[289] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 102.

[290] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 102.

[291] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 101.

[292] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 103-104.

[293] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 104.

[294] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 106; also Wadley 1979, p. 9.

[295] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 pp. 106-107.

[296] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 p. 107.

[297] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 108.

[298] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 108-109.

[299] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 109.

[300] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 109.

[301] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 110; also in Moritz 1992, p. 7.

[302] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 111.

[303] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 110.

[304] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 110.

[305] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 111.

[306] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 113.

[307] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 113.

[308] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 113-119.

[309] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 p. 119.

[310] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 119-120.

[311] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 120-122.

[312] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 122-123.

[313] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 123-125, emphasis in original.

[314] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 125-126; quoted in Wadley 1979, p. 26.

[315] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 pp. 126-128.

[316] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 pp. 128-130.

[317] Alexander 2006[1938], vol. 2 pp. 131-133.

[318] Alexander 1938, vol. 2, pp. 133-134.

[319] Alexander 1938, p. 135 quoted in Wadley 1979, p. 34 – nb. connections between this description and artefacts found at Big Elephant Shelter in Erongo Mountains.

[320] Nb. The river in the vicinity of the ‘Kuisip, or dung river’ (vol. 2 p. 123) is called ‘Gaub’ on googlemaps, which could be from the word ‘xau’ meaning ‘dung’, i.e. ‘dung river’ as Alexander calls it. Could this link in part be where the apellation ‘xau Dama’ or ‘dung Dama’ - which has been taken to have a derogatory meaning - comes from?

[321] The apostrophe here signals a click and the name here is perhaps ‘|Khomani’ as in ‘|Khomani Dama’ or Damara of the |Khomas mountains. This would mean that ‘Hill Dama’ in part comes from the name |Khomanin, i.e. Damara of the |Khomas mountains, rather than only being a general term for ‘Damara of the Hills’.

[322] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2. pp. 134-138.

[323] Seems to be very much contradicted in Vedder’s work on after-life and Schmidt’s work on spirits of the dead.**

[324] Indicates that some of the earlier responses to Alexander’s questioning might also have been designed not to reveal too much information.

[325] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2. pp. 138-147.

[326] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2. p. 148

[327] Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2 pp. 152-156.

[328] Available at, 13 April 2016.