Published using Google Docs
Appendix 1 Historical sources re Khuiseb 241020
Updated automatically every 5 minutes

Historical references to habitation of the !Khuiseb delta

To Kunene from the Cape: Future Pasts literature review timelining, compiled by Sian Sullivan for Future Pasts
Last edited 10/11/2020

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

Historical references to habitation of the !Khuiseb delta 


1. Full references and abbreviations are listed in the documents linked here.

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

3. Information or comments are welcome! Please email

Date and named people


‘yellow Hottentots’

The Dutch East India Company dispatches the Grundel from Cape Town under G.R. Muys,

to sail as far as the tropics, to make a careful survey of all landing places along the coast … to ascertain how far the settlements of the Hottentots extended to the north and where the country of the Kaffirs[1] [i.e. Herero] commenced … [and] to look out for where vegetables and firewood could be got[2].

The ship’s log repeatedly mentions thick fog, an ‘extraordinary number of whales’ and heavy showers of rain on the coast on 14 April. It lands at an uninhabited Angra Pequeña, and lands six sailors at Sandwich Harbour – the ‘most northerly point of its voyage’[3] – (a small bay south of Walvis Bay) on 1 May, where five natives with a dog are seen who run away, although after they are followed by crew between sand dunes with ‘a few green shrubs growing on them’ [= !nara?] the ship’s log reported by Vedder states that they find:

three small native huts and, standing next to them, ten men, who waved to them with a stick to which an animal tail had been fastened. (Evidently the Hottentot’s flyswatter, which consists of a small stick with a jackal’s tail attached and is still used today.) The natives came leaping and dancing past; they were armed with assegais, bows, and arrows. The threatening attitude which they adopted caused one of the captain’s companions to point his musket at them, but the powder refused to kindle. A stab in the chest incapacitated him; he threw his gun away, pulled the assegai out of his chest with both hands and took it with him, and the three men ran to the shore. They were pursued by the natives, who did [10] not, however, succeed in overtaking them. [The ship’s log reports that [t]hese natives were “very greasy and of a yellow colour; they wore skin clothes and had their hair smeared with fat. Their words were not, however, pronounced in the throat as is the case with Hottentots [?]. We could only come to the conclusion that they had never seen any people other than those of their own tribe.” The hostile attitude might likewise justify the conclusion that encounters with people of other races had previously occurred and that their recollection of what had taken place on those occasions was not a very happy one.[4]

Vigne writes that,

[a]bout 50 men attacked the Dutch in several groups, using bows, spears and stones. The sailors’ only musket would not fire but they got to their dinghy pursued into the water by their assailants, whom they saw, close up, to be yellow-skinned and anointed with fat, with hides around their loins and smeared hair. It was observed that their voices were less guttural than those of ‘rechte Hottentoos’.[5]

As Jill Kinahan summarises, sailors on the Dutch East India Company ship the Grundel attempt unsuccessfully to communicate with nomads in the dunes.[6]

5 March 1677

A small yacht the Bode (Cape Dutch) anchors at Sandwich Harbour, with ‘a shallow-draughted cutter for exploring inshore’, the intention again being ‘to determine the border between Khoe and “negro” settlement on the coast’, wrongly calculated to be in the neighbourhood of Moçamedes (now Namibe, Angola)[7]. Two ‘fully manned and armed boats went ashore in Sandwich Harbour and found an earthern pot left by a party of fleeing inhabitants seen on the shore … filled with the seeds of “something resembling pawpaw”’ [= presumably !nara] [8]. The ship’s log, quoted by Vedder, reports on seeing natives on the shore at Sandwich Harbour,

[w]hen we were on the point of getting out of the boats, the said people took to their heels, leaving their possessions behind, namely a pot with some sort of pips in it that looked like pawpaw pips, nor could we come into communication with these said people. The purser and the second mate were sent out to see whether they could manage to get into conversation with them, and these went fully two miles inland, where they found that the said people had taken to flight, and discovered that there was nothing else to be seen there but an ostrich shell filled with water, which was fresh, and some bladders and pieces of seal meat, which were hanging up on a pole to dry. We did them no harm whatsoever, but, on the con-[13]trary, we left a piece of tobacco and some pipes lying in their huts as a token of friendship. We returned to the boats, and I and others set to work with nets in an estuary or river and succeeded in catching many fish of various kinds. This aforesaid estuary is salt and its waters are mingled with the sea at high tide, but, at low tide, are separated from it by a sand bank. We went on board ship again with the fish we had caught and all our people, and when we had been on board for a little while, fully 20 to 25 Hottentots again appeared on the shore and beckoned to us. We decided to land with one of our boats only, because we were of opinion that these people got frightened when we arrived there with more than one boat. When we reached them they remained stationary but they were very shy, so much so that we laid aside our guns and they their assegais, and our Hottentots [guides] threw their assegais away, too. We likewise put on the ground some strings of beads which we had brought with us, together with some tobacco and brandy, so as to gain their good graces, and this tobacco and brandy pleased them exceedingly, far more than it had the people of Grundel Bay[9]. When we asked them whether they had cattle, they said that they had [nb. this appears to be prior to Herero movements southwards into central Namibia] and suggested that we should go inland with them to their huts, but, as it was already evening, we decided against that and returned to the ship.
th March]…  we proceeded to the shore with both boats, for the Hottentots were there calling and shouting to us. When we came up to them, without waiting for us, they withdrew inland and, when we followed them, we came to their huts, which were constructed with the bones of North Cape whales and, since the said Hottentots run further and further on, we returned to our boats and all went on board again. When we had been on board for a short time, 20 to 25 Hottentots came down to the shore, bringing 12 to 16 cows with them. We proceeded to the land with both boats, taking with us some goods for barter; in addition to the purser and Mr. Willem van Dieden, our strength was between 15 and 16 men, armed with six muskets and four pistols. When we reached the shore, I started to trade with them and when I had exchanged two cows for a few things such as iron bars and beads, they took these things away and likewise drove the cattle off, taking with them, too, a small bag containing beads. When I saw this, I held one of them fast, whereupon the rest grasped their bows and arrows with the object of shooting at me or running me through the body with their assegais, and in fact arrows began to fly. 

   I had two loaded pistols with me and I shot a Hottentot in the skin, causing him to retire three paces; fully a hundred arrows were then discharged at me, whereupon the purser, the mate, and the other members of the crew, and likewise our own Hottentots, came to my aid and thereupon the aforesaid natives took to their heels; very soon, however; they came to a halt and they threatened us with [14] bows and arrows again, while we continued to shoot at them and wounded several of them, but of this they seemed to take very little notice, flying to rub their hurts away with their hands, and attempting to cut off our retreat to the boats. Thereupon we retired to the sloop, keeping up a continuous fire, arrived there with all our men, cut the painter, and rowed to the ship. It turned out that the purser and Mr. van Dieden, as well as the second mate and three or four of the sailors, were wounded by arrows, which were poisoned, but, since they had been shot through their clothing, it seemed as if most of the poison had been wiped off, so that very little damage resulted. We found that these people were so rash, or rather courageous, that they charged in the face of firearms, but we doubt very much whether they will readily come to such close quarters again, seeing that they have had a pretty fair experience of muskets and pistols.[10]

Vigne writes of this encounter,

[c]onfidence was restored and the sailors visited the whale-beamed huts, where water-filled ostrich egg-shells and seal meat drying in the sun were found. As with the Grundel, a fight broke out, when the Khoe drove off cattle the sailors were buying by barter. The Khoe had “no fear of the muskets” and attached with bows and arrows. A few sailors were wounded but the poisoned arrows, having to go through clothing, were ineffective. Again the landing party got away.[11] 

Oral history re: possibly prior to 1800s

Anthropologist Winifred Hoernlé, in conversation with Khaxas[12] in 1912, ‘the daughter of one of the last chiefs, … and some of the headmen of the last recognized chief of the tribe, Piet ǁEibib’[13] [ǁHaibeb] (whose !nara fields were at mile 15[14]), learns that according to ‘these old people, the tribe originally lived far to the north in the region to which one branch has again retired’ [see 1860s], and that,

[w]hen they first came to Walvis Bay another Nama people, the |Namixan, were in control, one of the sibs of this people being called the ǂAi ǁKumsin. These people were completely [48] defeated and the remnant incorporated in the sibs of the newcomers who called themselves Muǁeen, so that today no |Namixan are to be found. The sibs of the Muǁeen are the ǁHornibin Gein; ǁHornibin Goan; the !Noraban; the |Ubuxan; and the |Heibin. There are today very few of these pure Muǁeen people left.[15] 

Hoernlé’s ethnographic research thus seems to suggest transitions in the Walvis bay / !Khuiseb area of:

 early Nama |Namixan, incl. a sib called ǂAi ǁKumsin  

 Muǁeen incomers who defeated and incorporated |Namixan, the Muǁeen including sibs named ǁHornibin Gein; ǁHornibin Goan; !Noraban; |Ubuxan; and |Heibin, apparently remembered at the time of Hoernlé’s west Namibia field research (1913, 1923)  

 ǂAonin / Topnaar split westwards / were ‘cut off’ from Rooinasie / Kai ǁKhauan of Hoachanas, central Namib, ca. early 1800s?

Hoernlé also states that her ǂAonin and Kaiǁkhauan / Rooi Nasie [‘Red Nation’] Nama informants explained that (like ǁO gein or Groote Doode Nama) contemporary ǂAonin Nama were ‘offshoots’ of the ‘senior’ Kaiǁkhauan or Rooi Nasie Nama of Hoachanas in central Namibia[16].

Köhler ponders that,

[b]efore the arrival of Topnaar at the Kuiseb[17] Bushmen still roamed the then inhabited parts of the Namib. Alexander … makes various statements concerning the Kuiseb area. Which group and language spoken by the Kuiseb roaming Bushmen, is difficult to answer, because linguistic records are missing. It could have been members of the |Geinin [cf. ‘|Heibin’ above?], who were staying in the area between Luderitzbucht and Conception Bay[18]. But we also do not know from the |Geinin whether they had their own language or speaking Nama.[19]

[Later, reference is also made to a migration of Topnaar from Sesfontein to the lower Kuiseb during the 14th century, but it is unclear where exactly the date of 14th century comes from[20]].

What these oral history fragments indicate, and corroborating the information recounted to Alexander in 1837 and Galton in 1850, is that ‘Namaqua’ peoples were apparently located in northerly areas of Namibia and seemingly became split off from the Kaiǁkhauan / Rooinasie / Red Nation in central Namibia through the expansion of Herero cattle pastoralism into the central belt of the territory, which by the time of most European accounts from the mid-1800s onwards was referred to as ‘Damaraland’ on account of Damara [Herero] pastoralism with which it was associated by these decades.

Moritz also writes that ‘[t]he Nama tribe of the Topnaar moved far to the north, which is also their name "Spitzenvolk" [‘top folk’]’[21].

Ca. 1775-1785 

In the mid-1800s, Galton writes (alternatively) for ca. 1775-85 that ‘it was a constant complaint of the Damaras [Herero], that less rain falls now in their country than some twenty or thirty years back; and even their extensive migration from the Kaoko, … has been ascribed by the Damaras to the water failing them for their cattle’[22]. Thus,

[a]bout 70 years ago (certainly between 65 and 75 years), and when, from uniform testimony, water was much more abundant [157] than it is now, the Damaras [Herero] lived in the Kaoko alone. The Ovampo were within their present frontier, but the Mationa [Bechuana] extended to Ovampantieru-land, certainly far to the westward of Otchombinde [Tunabis], and all between these and down to the Orange River, lived Hottentots of various tribes. The Nareneen lived by the sea, and the Ounip (called by the Dutch Toppners [i.e. ǂAonin]) about the parts of which we are now speaking, and south of these were the Keikouka [Kaiǁkhauan / Rooi Nasie / Red Nation], now represented by the red people, by Swartboy, the Kubabees [ǁHabowen / Veldschoendragers], and Blondel Swartz [!Kamiǂnûn / !Gamiǂnûn[23]]. Near to the Orange River the tribes were more numerous and more civilized, from their neighbourhood to the Dutch. They had a few guns, sometimes waggons and so forth, and these were the ancestors of Jonker, Amirals, Jan Boys, and other smaller tribes, as Buchess’ and Fransman’s. There was also a certain admixture of bastard blood in these last, who came to be designated Oerlams (a term of half reproach) by the Dutch, and to be disavowed by the Keikouka [Kaiǁkhauan / Red Nation] as partly aliens. Hence a jealousy arose, and still exists, between the two great divisions of the more southern Hottentots, the Keikouka and the Oerlams, who together are usually called in the aggregate “Namaquas,” in contradistinction to the northerly tribes of Bushmen.

   Interspersed among the Hottentots from the north to the south were the Ghou Damup [ǂNūkhoen], who were invariably considered as slaves and a good deal ill-used; they lived, when in communities, in the hills, or table-mountains, of which there are many, such as Omuvereoom [Waterberg / !Hos], Konati [today’s Okonjima], Ketjo [Mount Etjo], Erongo [!Oeǂgā], and many others, of which I have often heard, more to the south and west. Two movements now began to take place; first the Damaras [Herero], pressed for room or for some other cause, made an irruption to the eastwards, and spread over the country as far as Otchombinde [Tunabis], almost exterminating the Hottentots in their way and driving back the Mationa [Bechuana], while the Ghou Damup were pretty safe in their mountain fortresses and received but little harm. The Toppners [ǂAonin], however, not being at that time accustomed to the mountain-passes with which the Ghou Damup were familiar, were, as I said, greatly cut off [i.e. westwards towards the coast]. And it is curious, that within very late times (about eight years ago), exactly the same thing occurred to the Nareneen living west of the Kaoko.

   The more northerly Toppners [ǂAonin] were thus quite cut off from all communication with those about Walfisch Bay, and remain so to the present time. There exists, however, the greatest fondness for traditional stories among these people, and I found the liveliest interest expressed on my return from the north relative to the well-being of those Hottentots whom I met among the Ovampo, and of whom scanty information only had been received from time to time [i.e. so Red Nation ‘Nama’ in the north were connected with those in the south, from whom they were ‘cut off’ by Herero movement and expansion in ‘Damaraland’ in the middle]. In Sir James Alexander’s work mention will be found of the Navees, or Nabees[**?check], as he spells it, on information [158] received among the Hottentots. These are the Ovampo; Navees being the Hottentot name for them.

We have seen thus how the Damaras [Herero] drove the Toppners [ǂAonin] to the same places as the Ghou Damup [ǂNūkhoen].[24]


Hendrik Jacob Wikar, a Gothenberg-born Swede who travelled along the Orange River after deserting from the Dutch East India Company operating from Cape Town, before being pardoned in 1779,[25] learns of different “Dama” groups interacting with Nama but described as “of a darker complexion than the Namacquas”  living near the coast and in mountainous areas near the Kaiǁkhaun (“Keykoa”) / Rooinasie (“Red Nation”) Nama settlements and grazing grounds, which stretched at least from Hoachanas in the east to Hatsamas, south-east of present-day Windhoek in what was then known as “Great Namaqualand”. These “Dama” made and traded copper and iron beads and other products for “she-goats” on apparently favourable terms, acted as “middlemen” in cattle trade between the eastern “Bechuana” and the Kaiǁkhaun, were apparently feared magicians, and resisted allegiance to the chief of the Kaiǁkhaun.[26] These “Dama” were so-called Zountama (xau-dama or ǂou-dama, after ‘ǂou’ meaning ‘top’[27]) who ‘lived in the mountainous region between the !Khuisib and Swakop Rivers’[28], distinguished from ‘Zambdama’, named after ‘ǁgami’ meaning water, identified as living in the lower reaches near the sea and acting as smiths for Nama[29].


On May 23rd the British Lieutenant Thomas Bolden Thompson, adopted son of the late Commodore Edward Thompson ordered ‘to inspect the West African forts and settlements’ whilst also secretly investigating Africa’s south-western coast[30] to find a new location ‘for English convicts sentenced to transportation’, with marine surveyor Lieutenant Home Riggs Popham, reach and explore the south-west coast of Africa, travelling north from Dassen Island in the 16-gun sloop Nautilus. After landing at Angra Pequena (later Lüderitz) encountering apparently Khoekhoegowab-speaking people with dogs there, Thompson finds their “stock of water much reduced” and they head north “to a bay named in the charts Walwich Bay” where they anchor on evening of the 27th April[31] - Thompson apparently did not know of the springs at Sandwich Harbour [see 1875] and anchored in Walvis Bay, having reduced each man's allowance of water to one quart per day[32].

On 28th April – Popham finds

[o]n the Savannah which back'd the Beach there were Tracks of large droves of Cattle. and the print of the natives feet, formed in a regular path to the Southward. I heard the blaying of a Calf, that was too distinct to be far off, and from the top of a sand Hummock we saw it; as this was a strong proof of Cattle being in the Country, I carried it on board [so he stole this calf?] When Captain Thompson got underweigh, and worked to a convenient situation in the head of the Bay, for the purpose of Wooding the Ship. In the evening a party of the Natives came to the Water Side, and suffered us to join them; saluting us according to the Custom of the Country by rubbing our faces with some rancid Fat, which they had in the horn of a Cow, and exclaiming at the same Time (Morassa or Barossa) they had each a stick in their Hands, some of them a Club of about 2 feet, and made of very heavy Wood; and the Tail of a Fox or Jackall fastened to a smaller stick; these they exchanged with us for the Buttons of our Coats – and seemed to be partial both to Brandy, and Tobacco, and some had Ivory Rings on their Wrists, but from their appearance they must have been put on when they were Young; as they were cut out of the solid, and it was impossible to get them over their hands; On our parting with them to go on board, they made, they made signs by pointing inland, which we took to be an invitation to their Town – This Captain Thompson with a party attended to the following day …[33] 

Thompson iterates that in the morning Lt Popham “proceeded up the bay” returning before noon “with an account that wood was here to be got, & that he had seen the tracks of natives and droves of cattle”; he set about surveying the bay with their other boats “constantly employed in bringing on board wood, & searching for fresh water”[34], then:  

In the evening I went on shore with a party & was fortunate enough to attain an interview with four of the natives, which we found about a mile from where we landed; they sat down & received us courteously & without fear, & as a token of friendship rubbed each of us on the cheeks and breast with rancid, stinking grease, that they had in a cow’s horn, exclaiming at the same time the words Borasso! Borasso![35] We then made them presents of beads and other trifles we happened to have about us; they invited us (as we understood) to their town, but night coming on we declined the expedition 'till next morning, & returned on board.  

   Next day the same party of us landed, in order to pay them the promised visit, & on our landing were met by the same four, & conducted by them over a chain of barren hills of loose sand, in which we were sometimes half Ieg deep, about 4 miles inland south from the ship, here we arrived at their village [identified as ǂKhisa-ǁgubus[36], i.e. Sandfontein], which we found placed in a vale in the midst of some small stunted trees [daweb/dawib / Tamarix usneoides], the first we had yet seen in the country, the largest of which was not [40] thicker in the stem than a man's leg, & not above 20 feet high.  

   Their habitations are formed by the boughs of these shrubs stuck in the sand and meeting at the tops, where they are confined together, and resemble the halves of bee hives, with the backs next the wind, which is generally one way, & brings with it clouds of sand off the surrounding hills; the village consists of about 20 of these huts, each hut containing a family, but I found a great disproportion in the sexes, the whole village consisting of 8 women, 3 female children, 49 men, & 25 boys, under 10 years of age[37].

Image: ‘“Huts of Caffrarian Hottentot’s in Walwich Bay.” Watercolour sketch by T.B. Thompson, 1786. Reproduced by courtesy of Quentin Keynes’. Source: scanned from John Kinahan 2001[1991], p. 102, Fig. 4.9a; also in Jill Kinahan 1990, Fig. 11 p. 44, ‘[p]robably an idealized version of the eighteenth century village in the Walvis Bay dunefields’ – thought to be Sandfontein / ǂKhisa-ǁgubus.

   The men were all active, & well made, but in general rather inclined to be small of stature, & of a dark copper colour; the women[38] were small, & appeared in general old & wrinkled, amongst the whole I only saw two which I could suppose to be younger than 50, & yet the oldest had twin children at the breast. …  

   The dress of the men & women are nearly alike, & very similar to that of the people we saw in Pequena Bay, being the dried skin of a seal, bullock, or any other animal, tied round the neck & hanging over the shoulders, covering them below the hips, with an apron of the same round the waist, which in the women is much longer than the men & more confined between the legs; both sexes keep the hairy side of these Skins outward all day, & shift them next their flesh in the evening: they also wear sandals made of dried hide, which I observed were put on only when they came to a loose sand, where they answerd the purpose of mud pattens[39], which I have seen people make use of on the mud flats in England.  

   Their ornaments are beads, & shells made into necklaces & earrings, with bracelets of ivory round the wrists & arms: round the neck & waist they tye a number of thongs of raw hide to which they hang a knife, a bodkin & a small box (in which they keep beads & other trinkets) all made of ivory or bone; one or two I saw who wore each a cap made of dried skin, tied under the chin, with two goat or deer’s horns sticking out on the forehead, & the man whom I supposed to be the chief of the village had, among the beads & ornaments about his wool, the bladder of some animal blown up & fastened on one side of his head, with 2 or 3 others which were not blown up.[40]

Image: Sketch of a man at Walvis Bay, made in 1786 during voyage of Nautilus under Captain T.B. Thompson. Source: scanned from John Kinahan 2001[1991], Plate 3 - At Walvis Bay a sketch is made of a dark skinned man with striking features carrying a bow and quiver of arrows and wearing, ‘a cloak of sealskin and an inflated sheep’s bladder in his hair [as described by Wikar**], together with red and blue glass beads that would have been acquired by trade with passing ships. Around his neck are bone artefacts, including a knife for cutting wild !nara melons’[41]; also Jill Kinahan 1990, Fig. 8 p. 42, ‘a portrait of a man with bow and arrows. In his hair he wears an inflated bladder with three others, as well as glass beads. Around his neck hand two small bone boxes, a !nara knife and bodkin’; Jill Kinahan 2017, Fig. 2 p. 301 ‘"Man in Walwich Bay" 1786 watercolor sketch of a Topnaar[42] man by Captain Thomas Bolden Thompson, Royal Navy. In his hair, the man wears inflated bladders, and red and blue glass beads. Around his neck are two small containers, a bone !nara knife and a bodkin. He wears a sealskin cape around his shoulders and carries a bow and quiver with arrows’. Nb. It is not clear how Jill Kinahan arrives at the attribution of ‘Topnaar’ in the 2017 paper as there is no record of the people encountered in 1786 calling themselves by this name.

Image: ”Woman in Walwich Bay, Caffraria”, showing ‘glass beads woven into her hair, her anchor button earing, and a bone !nara knife and bodkin suspended around her neck’. Source: scanned from Jill Kinahan 1990, fig. 7 p. 41.

Image: of people observed by Thompson - ‘[t]he man holds in his right hand a fly-whisk made from a jackal’s brush; he wears a cap with antelope horns and inflated bladder’. Source: Jill Kinahan 1990, Fig. 9 p. 43.

   Their arms are short sticks, bows, & arrows pointed with bone, which they carry in quivers made of hide, the points of which are dipped in some gummous substance, which I understood to be poisonous, a club about 18 inches long with an oval lump on the end, made of a dark, heavy wood, & long spears, some pointed with the horns of deer[43], & others with iron, from which & the beads of glass & copper I found amongst them I am convinced they have had some intercourse with Europeans, probably these articles may have come to their hands thro’ the different tribes from the Portuguese Settlements of St. Philip de Benguela, & St. Paul de Loando, to the northward.  

   The food of these people is for the most part the fruit of a small thorny plant which the Botanist found to be a kind of Cucumber; this plant grows on the sandy hillocks, & we found also, between the hills, a few reeds & a kind of couch grass, these & the shrubs beforementioned comprehend the whole vegetable productions of their country, & are found but in partial spots; they also use animal food & possess herds of horned cattle, their drink is mild & brackish water, but I could not find out where they procured this last article, neither could any of us come at a sight of their cattle[44].[45]

Image: ’Probably the earliest drawing of a !nara melon, fruit of Acanthosicyos horrida which is endemic to the Namib coast’. Source: Jill Kinahan 1990, Fig. 10 p. 43.  

   We dug in many places round about the village, & found indeed water, but it was little fresher than that of the ocean.  

   They possess a number of dogs, there were at least thirty about the village & what is very extraordinary, among the whole but two males, a direct opposition to that of their own specie. …

   [43] They expressed no astonishment at the sight of us, many of them taking little or no notice of us, & on our parting shewed no regret, but they were passionately fond of the buttons off our cloaths, brandy & tobacco, which I found they were acquainted with, & knew the use of: I saw an old woman who drew the smoak of it, thro a small tube made of hide, in large mouthfulls & swallowed it ‘till her stomach was full of smoak, when she lay down gasping & reaching in a state of intoxication & let it gradually evaporate from her mouth & nostrils.  

   The eyes of these people, & also those of their dogs are all sore & running with water, & the eye lashes eaten away, this is occasioned I observed by a small fly which this country is full of, & the eye is the first place they attack, altho’ to prevent this they have always in their hands a flapper made of a Fox or Jackal's brush, affixed to the end of a stick; the sand also if there is the least wind is always swept along in great & thick drifts, which annoys the eye greatly, & they live & sleep in the midst of the smoak of a fire which they keep continually burning in the middle of their huts.  

   Their language is very disonant, & consists in a great measure of monosyllables, each word being preceded by a click in the speech, which is effected by an application of the tongue to the roof of the mouth…

   I found they had among them some clay utensils and callibashes[46], these last I imagine must have come a long way out of the country.  

   I look upon them to be a wandering people, & only take up their abode in partial spots, where they may chance to find the trees which I have beforementioned growing, & when they are expended by fire, & other occasions, they move & search for another place of residence, as a proof of this I saw two or three spots. which bore the appearance of worn out deserted villages. …

   [44] After making these observations & buying a calf which we found in the village I returned on board, & the next day another party of officers & men paid them a visit, and were fortunate enough to buy from them a fine young heifer, which we killed & served to the Ship’s Compy. & was fat & good beef[47].  

   We were at the same time not idle in digging & searching for fresh water, & procuring wood, but our endeavours to attain water proved all fruitless.  

   On the 30th I again paid a visit to the natives, attended by a party, in hopes of purchasing some more cattle, but I was disappointed, however we penetrated 2 or 3 miles into the country to take a view of it, tho' not without much murmuring among the Natives.[48]


Popham iterates,

As I had finish’d my Observations, I accompanied Captain Thompson on his last expedition to the Town of the Natives [= ǂKhisaǁgubus / Sandfontein]; where we arrived after a tedious Walk, over loose sand, at times nearly Knee Deep; it is about 4 miles to the southward of the Beach, situated under some Hills of Sand, where the only shrubb grew that I saw in this Country … of the Twigs or Branches of this Shrub [= T. usneoides], they build their miserable Huts just high enough for a person to set up right in, and in each of which a Family dwelt, & had a Fire at the Entrance the smoke of which seemed to destroy their Eyes, at least to occasion a continual running (which was the Food of the small Flies that infested their Village), and deprive them of their Eyelashes. The Number of the Men was about 40, but I saw few Women, I beleive not more than sixe, and these to appearance so old, that I should have supposed them the Mothers of the Whole Village. They had the same kind of Skins thrown over their Shoulders as the Men and interwove with their plaits of Hair whatever Trinkets or Buttons they got from us, their Food was chiefly a Fruit that grew near them – of the Specie of Cucumber, much larger and of a glutinous nature; its Vine was without a leaf – they had plenty of Cattle but would not suffer us to see where they kept them, and I beleive drove them further inland on our arrival. they drank their Milk, but I saw no Meat in their Huts, tho’ I am convinced they made use of it as they eat apart of some which we had with us; The Water they had was very Brackish and tho’ it was near the Village we could not find its situation, we dug in many places but always got Salt Water. Their Arms were Bows and Arrows, some Clubs, a few Launces, and some long Poles, which were pointed with Iron, this shews their Communication with Europeans tho’ probably thro’ some hundred different Tribes, they had each likewise the Tail of a Fox or Jackall on a small stick, which they used to drive away the Flies .... On our return we penetrated (much against their inclination) a few Miles into the Country, which was more barren and sandy than the place we left, at Sun set we arrived at the Beach, little pleased with the Excursion, as the Natives would not sell us any Cattle the only motive for our Visit.[49] [= resistance]

Thompson continues,

We found no alteration of the soil in this excursion, the whole face of the country being one loose, barren sand, with high mountains: The wind being rather fresh during this walk, the sand which flew in great clouds was very troublesome & almost blinded us, and we were very happy to get again on board.  

   We were employed 'till the 1st of May in the survey of the bay, & supplying the Ship with wood; this we found in great plenty, dead, & cast up on the shores, but where it can have come from I am at a loss to conceive, I am possitively assured it could never have been the growth of this part of the continent of Africa, tho' some people who have before visited a part of Caffraria have said that it appeared to them to have been a country worn out by time, & had once been fruitfull; I am rather led to think it was thus created, & the wood which we found to have been swept out of the rivers to the northward, & cast up here by northerly winds, for all the places which we have seen give strong proofs of the force of the NW gales.  

   Whilst we lay here the seine was hauled every day when the surf would permit, & we were pretty successfull in taking Rays, Catfish, & Sand Eels, which last are sweet, but very full of bones.  

   Walwich Bay is formed by a low, sandy neck to the SW [Pelican Point], which bears the appearance of being entirely under water in particular seasons, probably in the northerly winds & is bounded to the eastward & northward by the main land; it is about 7 miles broad, & runs from the entrance to the southward about 6' or 7', & soundings from 12 fathoms to 6 feet, soft, muddy bottom.  

   The head of this bay is full of sand flats, & indeed the whole is surrounded by swamps, from which arise thick fogs & putrid exhalations, they are full of Flamingos, Pelicans, & many other sea birds; it is well sheltered from all winds & you lay in it as in a mill pond.  

   The nights & mornings here were calm, cold, raw & damp, ‘till the fogs were dispersed by the SW trade, which seldom set in ‘till 10 oclock, & died away again towards Sun set; this weather caused agues to be very frequent & general amongst us, however every care was taken against its attacks, & the Peruvian bark administered, which had a good effect.  

   Whales & Seals are found here, but not in such quantities as to the southward[50].[51]       

John Kinahan summarises these encounters thus:

In contrast to his experience further south, Thompson found the people at Walvis Bay friendly and unafraid [although apparently resistant to trading cattle and expressing consternation about any travel inland, see above], and accepted an invitation to visit their encampment. After walking several miles through the dunes, Thompson and his party eventually reached a group of about twenty huts, clustered among stunted trees. Most of those present were men, armed with bows and poisoned arrows, as well as wooden clubs and spears, tipped with either antelope horn or iron. Men and women wore aprons and sandals, and some of the men affected caps with small antelope horns attached[52]. In their hair, the people wore glass beads and shells, with thickly applied grease and a powdering of haematite, which Thompson likened to brick dust. One man was described as wearing, in addition to the other finery, an inflated bladder in his hair[53]   

   Being an acute observer, Thompson noted such habits of the people as the wearing of bone knives and awls suspended from the neck and waist. He also inferred that they must have met Europeans before, but wondered if their beads had been acquired more indirectly, perhaps through the different inland peoples in contact with the Portuguese settlements to the north.[54] 

To further summarise, the people escort Thompson and his men to their village, ‘begging for tobacco, brandy and brass buttons off the officers’ uniforms’ and owning ‘trade goods such as glass beads and iron’, indicating that these were already important trade items[55]. Here, ‘although these people evidently owned large herds of cattle, the Royal Navy men were unable to discover where the animals were kept, or the source of the water which sustained them’[56]. They apparently speak a click language and possess cattle and dogs, as well as eating ‘the fruit of a small thorny plant which the [ship’s] Botanist found to be a kind of Cucumber’[57]: ‘[o]f their cattle there was little to be seen, other than spoor [‘Popham found the sporr of vast droves of cattle at Walvis Bay. The people who lived there were evidently skilled pastoralists’[58]] and the single calf purchased for the ships’ provision. Neither could [100] Thompson see for himself the waterholes in the dunes which, on the day before leaving, he “penetrated .... tho’ not without much murmuring among the Natives.”’[59] [= resistance]

The description of this village corresponds with the pastoral encampment excavated at the waterhole of Sandfontein once known as ǂKhîsa-ǁgubus[60], which ‘refers to the fine dust stirred up by cattle on their way to water’[61]. Remains at this site include pottery, bone, a [103] ‘low denomination Hollands coin’ (a duit), indicating ‘occupation after the middle of the eighteenth century’, [113] 14 burials – [114] an unusually high number for a site and linked by Kinahan with Thompson’s reports of crew being taken ill with “ague” prior to landing at Walvis Bay – on the western side of the site[62], a grove of Tamarix usneoides trees that could have formed the basic framework for huts, an area of discoloured silt that could have been the site of a livestock enclosure, and ‘a surface of well-preserved spoor of cattle and goats’ (also found at Khaeros, 10km inland on the !Khuiseb, where there is also [104] evidence that elephant drank here[63]. At least 9 huts are suggested from the remains of ‘hearths, querns, whale rib posts and whale vertebrae’, as well as [110] ‘melon knives, glass beads ([114] demonstrating trade contact with Europeans], copper beads [120] indicating possible pre-European exchange of livestock for ‘compact and easily portable valuables’], tobacco pipes and cowrie shells, Cypraea spp.’ and a large glass bead assemblage, copper beads and earrings and other trade items implying ‘a significant concentration of wealth’[64]. Diet remains are dominated by domestic stock ([112] probably sheep and goats) and marine foods (whale, dolphin, seal, sea-birds such as cormorant and penguin, and mostly fish esp. sea barbel, cob and hake, [112] some of which might represent a ‘sudden windfall’ caused by a red tide)[65]. Fish appear to have been speared using ‘[s]lender bone points between 60mm and 150mm in length’, possibly fitted to spears which ‘are known to have been used to pinion sandsharks to the muddy bottom of the lagoon’[66]. Regarding !nara, ‘[t]he technology of processing the melons, and their high nutritional value, leaves no doubt as to their importance, while the facility for storing !nara concentrate and probably dried fish as well shows that seasonal variations in food supply could be eased’[67].    

This encounter is also summarised in a later paper by Jill Kinahan who writes,

… Captain Thomas Bolden Thompson went ashore at Walvis Bay in search of water and supplies. The local people he met on the beach escorted him and his men to their village of about 20 huts in a grove of tamarisk trees deep in the dunes. The people numbered 85, consisting of eight very old women and three girls, 49 men and 25 boys, and they had at least 30 dogs. Although the villagers begged for tobacco, brandy and brass buttons off the officers' uniforms, and evidently kept cattle …, they had no livestock to trade. Apart from a lone calf, found in the village, and a heifer which "was fat and good beef” [301] …, at that time the seamen could not get the slaughter animals and water they needed.

   Although Thompson's descriptions of the people are sometimes judgmental and unflattering, they give an extraordinary amount of detail. They describe the appearance of the people …, their clothing of sandals, caps and sealskins tied around the neck; their jewellery of shells, beads, and ivory bracelets; thongs tied round their waists to suspend bone knives, bodkins, and small containers; their weaponry of sticks, bows and arrows, clubs and spears with hom or iron tips; their flywhisks of jackals' tails; their pipes and habits of smoking; their clay pots; their !nara melons, and their language. As Thompson described a strong settlement of some 20 huts and at least 85 people, with women and children presumably hidden in the dunes, the material remains of this village would be substantial.

   Many of the items Thompson described occur in abundance in the archaeological remains of an early contact village, ǂKhîsa-ǁgubus, which is situated in the dunes about 5 km from the rapidly expanding suburbs of present-day Walvis Bay …. It is very likely the remains of the village Thompson visited as it is the largest site dating to this period in the area. The Khoekhoegowab name refers to the fine dust stirred up by cattle on their way to water …. Evidently, the site was chosen at the time for its access to the waterhole of Sandfontein. At the northern end of the site, stumps of tamarisk trees and a number of hearths with dense scatters of pottery, bone knives, smoking pipes …, cowrie shells, glass and copper [302] beads, otoliths (fish ear-bones) and dolphin mandibles indicated a domestic area where huts would have stood. Small hummock dunes stabilized by low bushes separated an area of 14 burials; extensive fishbone middens with many bone points formed the eastern perimeter of the site, and two complete dog skeletons were on the southern end.  

   Adjacent to the middens was an area of discolored silt which might have been a small livestock enclosure, and on the northern limits of the site were silts bearing preserved spoor of cattle and goats describing a winding path. Small stock and cattle remains were sparsely scattered over the site, possibly scavenged by dogs at the time of occupation, but most butchery was done near the huts, and some of the remains disposed of in shallow pits. The age distribution of the small stock remains indicated management on a sustained yield basis, the slaughtered animals having been either very young (less than one year) or over two years old …. A low denomination Hollands coin, a duit, together with the glass bead assemblage, set occupation after the middle of the eighteenth century, a period that includes the date of Captain Thompson's description of the village he visited.  

   A site at Khaeros, approximately 25 km upstream on the south bank of the dry !Khuiseb riverbed, on the edge of a hardened river silt deposit near a small waterhole exemplifies a stockpost from the same period. The site consists of a small scatter of cultural material and fragmented bone near a hearth. The glass bead types and proportions in which they occur, as well as pottery and copper beads, mirror those found on ǂKhîsa-ǁgubus. Preserved in the hardened mud are cattle spoor, and meandering across the siltpan are the tracks of an elephant, an animal which has not occurred in this environment since the late eighteenth century …, implying that the mud, and the artefacts situated on it, have been preserved from at least that time.  

   South of ǂKhîsa-ǁgubus, close to the coast, are numerous siltpans that were flooded by exceptionally high tides flowing into the dunes from the lagoon. The hardened mud is crowded with tracks of elephant, giraffe, zebra, ostrich, as well as cattle, small stock and people, the spoor converging near a waterhole. The site of the spoor literally shows the footprint of livestock brought down to the coast for trade in the late eighteenth century.[68]   


A Dutch vessel the Meermin also lands at Walvis Bay, recording a similar population of sea-harvesters on the coast and pastoralists inland as that encountered by the Nautilis[69]. No reference is made to !nara even though ‘it would have been in season during the five and a half weeks the Frenchman du Miny’s crew and supercargo [the Van Reenen brothers and Pieter Pienaar] spent at Walvis Bay’[70]. The Dutch learnt that the inhabitants were ‘Namaqua Hottentots’, i.e. Nama, with one of them – Claas – speaking ‘the language of the country’ [i.e. Dutch],

[f]ifty men, armed with spears, came to pay their respects but left “very dissastisfied … that they had received no presents according to the custom of the Europeans.” They returned the next day, nevertheless, with two oxen and five sheep for barter. Serious misunderstandings were overcome, tobacco and glass beads were offered for copper beads from the mine of the Poor Damaras [?] eight days’ journey away. … The Walvis Bay people being also fishermen, the Meermin’s visit ended with an armed clash when attempts were made to seize the Meermin’s fishing nets [= resistance]. There might have been a greater clash still had the inhabitants come to understand that the Meermin’s mission, to erect a “Stone of Possession in the name of the States-General (of the Netherlands) and the Noble (Dutch East India) Company” had been accomplished, and that without any reference whatever to themselves. No attempt by the Dutch to colonize Walvis Bay was to follow, however.[71] 

The Meermin was also in communication ‘with seal-hunting English and American vessels’ with an American captain telling du Miny,

‘of his visit to a Nama village at Walvis Bay a few years before, where he had found over 100 cattle’[72].

The Meermin captain’s journal is accompanied by reports from the Van Reenen brothers and Pieter Pienaar of ‘their journeys into the interior’ which describe ‘the landscape, wildlife and the situations of the neighbouring Nama and Herero, with no element of the wars and depredation which were later to so disfigure Namibian history’[73]:

Pieter Pienaar (‘a well-known big game hunter’[74]) travels under the auspices of the Dutch East India Co. with brothers (and prominent Cape burghers) Willem van Reenen, Sebastiaan Valentijn van Reenen and Dirk Gijsberg van Reenen[75], by the Meermin (under Captain Duminy who ‘presented the Hottentots with tobacco and trinkets’[76]) from the Cape to Walvis Bay where they are met by their guide from Warmbad, Barend Freyn[77]. Pienaar reports ‘a “splendid valley” at the mouth of the river with fresh water, luxuriant vegetation of camelthorns and ana trees and a great number of game: such as elephants, rhinoceroses, gemsbuck and springbuck’[78]. Walvis Bay at this time is annexed for the Dutch, and Duminy is under orders to ‘annex part of the coastline’ for the Netherlands[79], hoisting the Company’s flag at Possession Island and Angra Pequeña[80]. Captain Duminy proclaims Dutch sovereignty over Angra Pequeña, Halifax Island and Walvis Bay (‘Bahia de Baleas’ translatedby the Hollanders as Walvisch Bay)[81], and produces maps of Walvis Bay and Angra Pequeña[82]. They experience uneasy relations with inhabitants of Walvis Bay, armed with assegais, who are unable to bring cattle for exchange and would not act as guides[83].

Sebastiaan Valentijn van Reenen set out ‘with the assistance of some natives’ to discover copper mines, and Pieter Pienaar with ‘[h]is Cape Hottentots’ went eastwards ‘following the valley of a river inland [the Swakop], at first in a South-Easterly and East-South-Easterly and then in N.N. Easterly direction’[84] on a hunting trip into the interior [38] but could not find water, although he encountered two ‘Damaras’ who showed him water to the north-east in what was the Swakop River[85]. Pienaar travelled inland along the Swakop for 12 days seeing no cattle but finding five Damara [Berg Damara? - Pienaar’s Nama ‘Cape Hottentots’ could understand them[86]] settlements, without cattle, and obtaining by barter ‘several copper bangles’ said to be made from mines 12-14 ‘stages’[schoften’[87]] (‘one stage equaled a four hour trek in an ox-wagon’) south of the Swakop (between modern day ‘Protection Bay’[?] and the Swakop River[88]), but a five year drought and reports of no water en route prohibited travel at that time and he did not see the source of the mineral[89]. Pienaar was told by ‘Hottentots’ that the mine ‘had been visited by Christians the previous year’[90]. Further landings north of Walvis Bay prompt tales of the “splendid valley” of the Swakop, good water, and ‘five old huts … which they reckoned had been erected by English or Americans’ as they fetched water here[91]. Crew observe ‘great numbers of wild animals, such as elephants, rhinoceros, gems buck, and springbuck’ as well as camelthorn and ana trees[92].


End of 18th century

The archives of the Rhenish Mission, as read by Oswin Köhler, report missionary Baumann (with RMS at Rooibank 1878-1883, see below) writing that ‘[a]ccording to the ancients [i.e. his eldest informants], the Topnaars came from the north towards the end of the eighteenth century, who had immigrated from Cape Rock and Cape Frio’ (cf. Hoernlé’s informants reported above): ‘[a]t the beginning of the 19th century the Topnaar are said to have reached the mouth of the Swakop (tsoa-xou-b)’, their migration perhaps ‘related to the advance of the Herero into the Kaokoveld’.[93]

As Moritz confirms, through working with the Topnaar especially at Rooibank between 1965-72,

[t]he Topnaar are a Nama tribe that lived in the far north in the area of Hoarusib River. In 1800 they moved from there to the Swakop. Under their captain |Kaxab they settled down in 1820 at Kuiseb - since the Topnaar lived in the area where the Nara grows, they also became known as ‘!Naranin’.[94]


Edmund Gardner, an American whaler, visits Walvis Bay in June and writes a sympathetic description of ‘Hotentots’ confirming many of Thompson’s observations [1786]:

… left for the West Cost of Africa, where we arrived in the 6th Mo. 1803. While on the south and west of Africa was in the dominions of Hotentots, saw many of them, had some communication with them. In the later part of one day, saw some of the natives on the shore not far from the ships, there were several ships in Walfich, Bay at the time, a boat was sent from each ship. The boat from our Ship I was in, I had never seen any of this singlar people before. I looked at them, talked with them (by signs) the number of them were three, an old man, one old, and one young feemales. They talked incessantly nothing could we understand, after a little time, some one made a noise like the lowing of cattle, when the young woman repeted the sound, and then laid her head on her hand shutting her eyes immitating sleep, then pointing and folowing the sun 'till down, then going through the sleeping sign, and when the sun arrose the third day, the Bullocks, Sheep, and Goats would be there. True to the signs they came, with quite a number of them to drive and care for the stock. Nearly all, or quite all, was purchased by the different Ships in the Bay. They wanted nothing in exchange for the stock, but Backasaw, and Tentabar, which was Tobacco, and Iron, which was of more value to them than anything offered. The feemales had bracelets on their arms of iron, and brass, some of them, must been young, when they had them put on as 'twould been difficult to get them over their hands.  

   There was one thing pecular to them, that was the many dogs. I several times counted them and the persons with them, and on an average 'twas twenty dogs to each person. Their manners were singular for seldom or ever do they walk, if the distance is not more than ten feet, they run. When approaching strangers, as soon as they can be heard, call out “ting-hoigh,” and continue calling till quite clost when they stick their spear in the ground, call, "or' tinghoigh" and always seem glad to see strangers. …   Theirs another thing pecular to them, the manner of their sitting, their uniform practice is to sit, or bend down on their feet, through the whole night arround a little fire, for fewell is scarce with them. At the time Ships are taking Whales and fresh carcasses drive on shore, they prefer those that have become stale and putrid to fresh ones. … Having put my finger on one of their arms which had been well basted with their waterproof the stench was so great that after twice washing my hands with soap, found ‘twas not possible to eradicate the stench with many beads wrought into their hair. The Beef they brought to market was fresh in compare with our long salted provisions, but ‘twas not well fleshed neither was it sweet, as new Beef generally is, the mutton was better, but not equal to Southdown they musty had scanty pasture. Nothing is to be seen of the serounding Country but sand hills, the only green thing near is at the Gardens (so called) north of the usual anchorage where Samp here is to be obtained, by soaking in fresh water, ‘tis made pickles of, in place of something better. The natives have spears neetly wrought from Iron, which would seeme impossible to have been wrought without some pecular process.[95] 

around 1805-1845

In possibly these years (i.e. 7-9 generations from the mid-1990s assuming 20 years per generation), oral history indicates that Herero-speaking peoples began moving westwards down the Kunene River from a hill in southern Angola called Okarundu Kambeti, moving also into hills on either side of the river[96]. A mythical figure called Nihova is said to be buried here and 'frequently mentioned in praise songs recited at commemoration rituals' and movement from here by pastoralists with cattle, sheep and goats is said to have been stimulated by drought[97]. Cattle and sheep amongst these people are said to have come from the north, goats from the south, and the pastoral economy included hunting, gathering, esp. Hyphaene palm fruits, Cyperus fulgens corms (ozoseu) and honey – the latter especially in the Baynes Mountains south of the Kunene River and west of the Omuhonga River, but did not include agriculture [14] until the end of the 19th century[98]. Bollig states that ‘these early migrants did not enter an unpopulated area or an area only thinly populated by foragers (presumably of Khoisanid origin)’ but instead according to oral testimony ‘they met with other pastoralists … who were rich in livestock and culturally akin to themselves’ with no violence arising with them[99]. This ‘pre-Kuena War society was dominated by ovahona (rich and powerful men) such as Kaoko (‘the giver of the name for the entire region’), Kaupanga and Mureti in northern and eastern Kaokoland, Tjikurundjimbi in the western parts (with western Himba trading ‘with the Koroka at the mouth of the Koroka valley’) and Nokauua in the southern parts’ although there are ‘few ovahona’ and ‘many people had few livestock’[100]. Occasional livestock raids by Owambo Ovahuahua ‘from the north’ are remembered as the “War of the Shields” because the Ovahuahua ‘warriors protected their bodies with shields against the arrows of the Herero’[101].


Published sailing directions for the coast of Africa state that ‘[a]ll the coast, from Cape Negro to [Cape Frio Bay] … belongs to the Cimbebas, a black nation, whose king is called Mataman’[102] – an inaccurate assertation since linguistically ‘Cimbebas’ refers to a geographical area not a people (as explained under entry for 1680).


‘Bushmen’ are observed by missionary Schmelen south of the Kuiseb River:

[t]he Bushmen, however, respected Johann Heinrich Schmelen’s ox-wagon as a special kind of animal when they encountered the missionary travelled in a northwards direction via Büllspoort to the Kuiseb River. When one of the wheels of the wagon broke, the vehicle was duly abandoned in the desert, and Schmelen decided to replace the ox-wagon with the more reliable method of riding the ox. The Bushmen, in any case, did not attempt to touch the wagon tracks but jumped over them in large steps.[103] 


In around this year, ‘[t]he Topnaar are said to have settled at the mouth of the Kuiseb … under their captain Frederik Kachab’[104].

Ca. 1820-1830

From the Swakop mouth (see above) ‘Topnaar’ migrating south from Kaokoveld ‘spread further south and were allegedly led by their captain Khaxab[105] to one place ǂKisa-ǁguwus commonly known as Kuwis or Sandfontein, located about three miles from the coast and settled south of what is now Walvis Bay[106] – although nb. it is unclear whether or not Topnaar / ǂAonin was the name Khaxab used to describe himself.

Thus, ‘[o]ral sources tell of their [i.e. Sesfontein Topnaars] forebears moving south from the Kaokoveld, leaving a part of their people behind at Sesfontein, and of part of the community moving away, some never to return. Grandiose claims are made for the inland and coastal territory once occupied, or of ancient Strandloper origins’[107].

1823 onwards

The Oorlam Nama Jonker Afrikaner, son of Jager Afrikaner who crosses the Orange River after shooting his employer Pieter Pienaar [and family] at Tulbagh in the Cape in 1896[108] [see 1793], leaves his father’s settlement with some 300 followers and begins to establish himself as a leader of territory in southern and central Namibia [‘Damaraland’], first in Rehoboth area and then Windhoek / |Aeǁgams[109] (where he is later encountered by both Alexander in 1837 and Galton/Andersson in 1850), precipitating disruption to indigenous Rooi Nasie / Kai ǁKhauan Nama in these areas as well as friction with Herero pastoralists moving southwards and claiming pastures and waterholes in what becomes known as ‘Damaraland’.


Missionary Heinrich Schmelen visits Nama tribes in the southwest around 1824 [see 1822]:

riding on an ox, he also came to Kuiseb. He reported about bushmen, Nama and poor Damara who lived here and lived from fishing. He suggested that a mission station should be established here, since there was grass, wood and water, the three prerequisites for a settlement.[110]


Wesleyan missionary James Archbell (like Alexander in 1837), observes ‘a comparatively prosperous and secure population’, [5] spending time in Walvis Bay with ‘his Nama assistant Jacob Links’ (Jacob Links is killed with Wesleyan missionary William Threlfall and Johann Jager near Warmbad in around July 1825[111]) ‘arguing strongly but unavailingly for a mission to be established’[112]. In this year missionary Schmelen of the Rhenish Mission visits Okahandja and Walvis Bay, finding that the herds of ‘Topnaar’ were feeding inland as far as the area of Okahandja[113].



The American sealer Captain Morrell and crew pass Cape Cross on May 8th (but do not remark on any fur seals here), and north of the Cape and at the ‘unanimous request’ of his crew, Cross Morrell names ‘a beautiful harbor of smooth water’ Ogden’s Harbour, in honour of William Ogden (- in December 1828, Morrell had led his men in sealing expeditions on Mercury Island, losing one of his men - ‘Mr Ogden’ - as the tide brings in violent rollers that wash three of his men offshore[114])[115]. Some two leagues north-east of this lagoon Morrell notes ‘a small village, inhabited by about two hundred natives of the Cimbebas tribe; a dark curly-headed nation, differing but very little from the proper Hottentots; observing also that ‘[t]here are … many fine springs of water, of an excellent quality, in the valley where this village is situated; from which it may be inferred that this would be a fine place for a rendezvous to establish a trade with the interior of the country’.[116]

At ‘Great Fish Bay’, north of Cape Frio (north of Möwe Bay, half way to Kunene River mouth) Morrell observes:

Fish Bay is one of the first places in the world for fishing with a seine, by which thousands of barrels of excellent fish may be caught in the course of a year. This might be made a first-rate business, by taking the fish to the Portuguese colonies, a little farther north, and exchanging them for the products of the country; or they might be taken to St. Helena, or to the Brazil coast, where they would command a ready market and an excellent price.  

   [On the afternoon of May 18th] … we landed on the southeast side of the bay, with the intention of making an excursion into the country. We were met on the beach by a small party of the Cimbebas tribe, who gave us a very pressing invitation to accompany them to their village, which was about ten miles from the coast, in the direction of east-by-south. It is situated in a well-watered valley of three miles in length, and two in breadth, surrounded by moderately elevated hills. The springs which water it are never dried up, by the longest droughts, as we were assured by the natives.

   The villages of these people are neither large nor populous; never exceeding one hundred and fifty huts, and about four hundred inhabitants. The former are constructed of closely-woven mats of coarse grass, or of the fibres of some plant [= sounds like Nama reed huts, which fits with oral histories about for e.g. ‘Topnaar’ in !Khuiseb being connected with Nama in the north in late 1700s and into 1800s]. The two sides generally correspond with each other, as do also the two ends, with the exception that there is a door or opening in one end, just large enough for the occupants to creep in and out. Each hut is covered with an arched or sloping roof, supported by upright posts fixed in the ground, and thatched with matting. The materials are all so light that they can be removed at a very short notice, and without much trouble. I have seen them taken down and put together again in thirty-five minutes. The value of one of these huts is that of a sheep.  

The habitations of the chiefs are constructed with much more labour, skill, and taste; - and are consequently of proportionably greater value. One of these has eight or ten posts along the sides, and is covered with palm-leaves, sewed together in a zigzag manner, with a supple-creeping plant. They are often enclosed with a circular fence of small stakes, stuck in the ground, so close together that a rabbit cannot pass between them.

   The state of society, moral character, manners, habits, and customs of this people are in many respects similar to those I have already described in this chapter; and where they differ, the balance is in favour of the Hottentots of the higher latitude. These Cimbebas are much more disgustingly filthy than the others, both as to clothes and food; but I do not believe them to be cannibals, as some voyagers have reported. They appear to have no idea of female chastity, or the sanctity of conjugal contracts[4]; and the open barefaced manner in which wives and daughters were offered to my seamen, although I strictly forbade all intercourse, was too disgusting to admit of palliation or excuse.  

   We were absent from the vessel more than a week, penetrating many leagues into the interior, and collecting much interesting information tending to confirm my previous opinions of the unparalleled commercial advantages which must result from opening an avenue for traffic in this part of Africa. Had it been my good fortune to have been accompanied by one or more gentlemen of science, the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms of this part of Africa are teeming with new and rich materials, sufficient to have employed their pens for a length of time. …[117]  


The ‘Topnaar’ are described as “subordinated on a communal and individual level to more powerful Nama/Orlam groups” by this decade[118].


Captain Cécille 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”[119]. 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[120]. 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[121]. 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”’ [122].

‘a large tribe of red men, speaking the Namaqua language’ at/near Rooibank;

‘the bay people’, at Walfisch Bay

British Captain James Edward Alexander approaches the ‘Kuisip’ river and Walvis Bay from inland having travelled across the Orange River north from Cape Town. Travelling north-west from Ababies (‘Calabash Kraal) in April 1837 his expedition approaches the Desert of ‘Tans - in the shadow of the ‘Tans or ǂGans mountain, now known as the Gamsberg, in the upper reaches of the !Khuiseb. He nearly doesn’t make it for lack of water and has to leave his wagon south of the ‘on account of the heavy sand hills and precipices about the river’[123]. He also reports that ‘some of the oxen had fallen down the crags at the Kuisip’, breaking their backs, amongst other losses of animals[124]. At this point [and much like Schmelen in 1812], 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[125]. They pass ‘over now less than seven sand-hills, which were very steep’ and half way meet ‘some of the Namaquas [of his expedition] 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’[126]. 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’[127]. 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, = Swartbooi?]], 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].[128]

Alexander promises Jan [who had supplied a ‘span of powerful oxen’] and Henrick Buys [Boois = Swartbooi?] ‘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.[129]

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’[130]. They journey eight miles ‘over the sand hills of the south bank of the river’, and after the same distance the following day, at a place where the cliffs ‘were less precipitous’, the oxen got down to the river to drink[131]. He writes that on the 12th ‘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…’[132] They find the remains of a dead rhino which ‘seemed to have been surprised [56] by the sudden rising of the river and drowned’[133].  

   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[134]. 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][135]. 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. ǁgams], 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’[136]. 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’[137].

   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.’[138]. 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.’[139]. 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[140]. 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.[141] …
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 [for elephant[142]], 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 [ǁUbun?, 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[143].

Walking from their camp towards the shore, ‘at two different places we saw the skeletons of human beings, half covered with sand’[144]. Assuming, from ‘stories we had heard, of white men having been cut off at Walvisch Bay’ they are told instead, by one of the ‘red Namaqua’ they encounter at Aban’huas, 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.[145]

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.[146].

At the bay they eat with relish ‘a stranded cabaljao’, ‘large muscles of excellent quality’ and ‘a quantity of clams’[147], 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[148].

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’[149].

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’[150]. 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![151] 

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’[152]. Alexander finds several waterholes with brackish water in the mouth of the Kuisip but ‘no place where the oxen could have found food’[153]. 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’[154]. Hoborn asks if it’s possible to ‘get any green or fresh here?’, to which Alexander replies, ‘[w]e have seen none yet’[155]. 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’[156]. 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] Walvish 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 …’[157].

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 [could this be Khaxab? |Kaxab?] 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 board, I was looking for fish on the beach, when I noticed Kuisip [Khaxab??], Henrick [Boois], 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.[158] 

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.[159] 

He 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 [Boois (Swartbooi?)] 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 [= Khaxab?] 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 [from Ababies / Calabash Kraal], 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 [presumably Herero] ...[160]

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’[161]].. 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[162]. There is a possibility of much ivory being obtained at the bay; as further north the country is certainly full of elephants.[163] 

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 living to the north’[164]. 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 [i.e. springs etc.]’[165].    

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’[166]. 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].[167]

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’[168].

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’[169]. 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’[170]. Whilst here they are joined by ‘[a]n old man on a journey, … in charge of eight women’ who says that ‘Quasip [ǁKuiseb[171]], 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’[172]. 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 ǂNūKhoen]; 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[173].

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’[174]. 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[175].

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][176]. 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[177].

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’[178]] 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’[179]. 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’[180].    



At this time the ǂAonin chief was a Frederik Khaxab who had reportedly moved south to the !Khuiseb from Sesfontein and was living at ǂKhîsa-ǁgubus, with a lieutenant, Jakob ǁNaixab, based at Rooibank[181] [- as noted for 1820-30 by Moritz and Köhler[182]].


Wagon builder James Frank Bassingthwaighte, who becomes ‘the first permanent white settler in South West Africa’, leaves the accelerated changes of the industrial revolution in England aboard a vessel heading for Walvis [Walfisch] Bay, having been recruited by the traders James Morris and Sidney Dixon (Irish ‘trader and missionary’, associated with the Wesleyan Missionary Society[183]) who are intending to construct a trading store in the bay[184]. The vessel thus also carried ‘the rather mysterious Mr Morris’ who ‘had come aboard with a letter of introduction from the military governor’ of St Helena and whose intention, with his partner Mr Dixon, is,

to purchase cattle from the inhabitants of the interior for trekking down to Walfisch Bay, the nearest point to St Helena, and finally to export to that island where the animals would be used to re-victual the passing ships of Her Majesty and those of the East India Company.[185] 


[t]wo adventurous British merchants from the Cape, Messrs. Morris and Dixon, journeyed with their families from the Cape to Walvis Bay, one family following by ox-wagon the route described by the explorer James Alexander in 1838, the other coming by sea. Their aim was to set up a trade in cattle with ships sailing to Ichabo and to the island of St Helena where there was a British garrison. Previously having been involved in the cattle trade to St Helena, Morris had the appropriate connections …. The families based themselves at Sandfontein.[186]   

As Wallace writes, traders such James Morris and Sidney Dixon unconnected with missions arrive overland from the Cape, stimulating rapid expansion in trade and road-building[187].

On returning to Walvis Bay, Morris was expecting to meet Dixon, ‘his wife and young daughter, his Hottentot herdsmen and two wagons, oxen and livestock’ at or near Walvis Bay, with Dixon – apparently ‘fluent in the Strandloper’s language’[188] – likely to be herding livestock some kilometres upstream along the Kuiseb [at Rooibank/ which becomes Scheppmannsdorf], where there is more grazing[189]. Walvis Bay and its inhabitants at the time are described in a fictionalised conversation between the ship’s mate to Bassingthwaighte in the following terms:

It’s a fairly large harbour, sheltered enough, but the surroundings are terrible. It consists of mud flats formed by the delta of the Kuiseb River. The flats are composed of a black salty mud dried in the sun, with here and there reed-grown channels of fresh water running down to the sea. The beach is of white sea sand, and the landward side of the bay is ringed with large ochre-coloured sand-dunes.

We may be met by some of the local natives known as Strandlopers. They are a backward race, slightly built and frail, with yellowish skin, short peppercorn hair, and almost Mongolian features. They live in little huts made of branches covered with hides, and seem to spend their lives moving up and down the coast, as well as along the dry sandy river beds. They’re peaceful enough and haven 't been known to attack sailors, in fact they seem totally harmless. They use small bows and arrows to hunt game, and all they’re interested in is trading fresh meat for whatever trinkets or knives and axes we may have to barter. By the way, you and Morris will have to watch your tools and supplies to see that the rogues don't pilfer them. Above all, don’t let your musket out of your sight. …

It is said that far inland lives a race of Negroes, tall and black-skinned, and the owners of large herds of cattle. But we have never seen anyone apart from these very dirty Strandlopers, who own no sheep or cattle but live solely from hunting and what they can scrounge on the beaches and the immediate interior.[190]

On landing, Morris and Bassingthwaighte see ‘littering the sands, above high water mark, … the remains of temporary shelters and the whitened bones of whales and various kinds of game which gave evidence of previous visits by ships’[191]. It is not long before the see a group of ‘Strandlopers’ – ‘a party of six natives … naked except [6] for a breach-clout of hide and a belt from which hung a small bow of about three feet in length’[192]. Bassingthwaite is led by Strandlopers as guides to find Dixon’s camp along the Kuiseb, and they are soon met by Dixon described as,

a white man dressed in the oddest fashion. On his feet were rawhide velskoens, and strapped to his calves were leggings also of rawhide. A pair of faded corduroy trousers, which had been hacked off just below the knees, and a jacket of springbuck hide (worn the hairy side outwards) completed his attire. A cap of the deer-stalking type was stuck into his broad leather belt from which hung a powder horn and pouch for his long rifle.[193] 

A ‘Strandloper camp’ south of the Kuiseb is made reference to where ‘the Strandlopers have reaped their dried narra seeds and are making kaffir beer’[194]. ‘At Wortel, ‘a small patch of bush or reeds in a gap between two large dunes, ‘an underground stream feeds a lake surrounded by dunes and vegetation. The stream winds through the dunes for miles, ending at Wortel. Usually, Strandlopers are living there as it is rich in narras and has plenty of game. Sandwich Harbour is not far from Wortel, and with less dunes in between. The native word for Sandwich Harbour is Narieb, which means ‘the place of the bird’', because there are islands in the lagoon, and on those islands thousands of birds nest. They have been nesting there for so long that the islands are now pure guano several feet thick.’[195] 

Springbok and lions (whose claws can be traded[196]) are in the vicinity of Rooibank at this time, and there reportedly are hippo in Sandwich Harbour[197]. ‘Strandlopers’ are living at Wortel (just south of Walvis Bay) and described as burying ‘[t]he hide, head, entrails and surplus meat’ of a springbok hunted for them by Jacob Afrikaner ‘in a hole dug in the mud on the lake shore, under the water and just before the waterline’ to keep it safe from jackals[198]. They are also living at Goanikontes, used as a ‘semi-permanent camp because of the good water supply’, which, on account of the surrounding good grazing and plentiful game and firewood, is identified by Jacob Afrikaner to be an ideal place for future settlement by the Morris and Dixon enterprise[199].

Jacob Afrikaner whose native tongue was Afrikaans and second language was Nama, which he and his people were speaking more of ‘[s]ince trekking to South West Africa’, [11] ‘having left the Northern Cape to break away from civilisation’ settling first ‘in an outstanding farming area which they had named Rehoboth’ where they had ‘introduced their Afrikaans language’ as well as ‘the culture, traditions and Calvinist religion of the Cape Dutch’[200] [cf Afrikaner genealogy and history]. He comes to explore the coast from Rehoboth with Sidney Dixon to inform Jonker Afrikaner ‘about the country, the route and the inhabitants’, at which point they reportedly encounter Morris who persuades Dixon ‘to go into partnership with him’[201].

Morris and Dixon speak of a ‘Damara village in the upper reaches of the Kuiseb’ where they have establish overnight camping sites and left their ‘first small herd’, some horses, and a ‘Hottentot herdsman’, and indicate their intention to deploy Damara in moving cattle consignments downstream for trade out of Walvis Bay[202]. Morris journeys here using as mode of transport the ‘traditional Hottentot custom of riding oxen’, returning with 10 oxen and one cow (breeding stock traded from the Damaras) and calf, plus ‘a number of leopard and other skins’[203]. Herero are described as ‘Negroes who own large herds of cattle’, ‘a Bantu race who have moved in from the north-east and have taken over a large area of the country’ and who the Afrikaners first met at Krumnek [Niais?] when they trekked from the south, being the reason why they settled a bit further south at Rehoboth, where they are now ‘trying to get a missionary’[204]. Overall Morris and Dixon wish to supply ships calling at Walvis Bay with cattle to trade to St Helena, whilst simultaneously receiving supplies to be traded in a new trading store at Walvis Bay, for example to whalers (e.g. from Norway) who at the time are towing their whales to be butchered and rendered at the coast here[205]. When their British trader eventually arrives, trade goods are transported ashore using the ship’s boats and then to Groenvlei by ox-wagon and the ship replenishes its freshwater, but the experiment of loading live cattle from the beach on Pelican Point was found to be ‘too slow and cumbersome’ to be profitable[206]. Additionally, since there are only occasional whalers and there is no timber with which to build a trading store, their plans are thwarted, although they have ‘some success in trading with the Strandlopers’ who, on realising ‘that young animals captured alive could be exchanged for trade goods’ bring ‘in various pens and cages … three springbuck, a lynx kitten, two jackal puppies and several birds’, together with ‘[a] variety of bows and arrows [made from bone[207]], gourds, ostrich egg shells and other items of Strandloper origin’[208]. Morris eventually returns to St Helena but Dixon’s trading enterprise continues to supply schooners travelling to and fro from Europe, boosted by the guano trade in the early 1940s, although over-harvesting of both whales and guano leads to the eventual failure of the Dixon enterprise[209].

At the end of the year an ‘enterprising merchant’ John Rae (also businessman Norman Macleod, persuaded by Andrew Livingstone, ‘a retired master mariner in Liverpool’[210], and stimulated by Morrell’s 1832 account of guano at Ichabo [from mostly duikers and malgash[?**]– the latter especially on Ichabo, that congregate for their breeding seasons from October to April/May and December to June respectively[211]], secretly launches a ‘a fleet of at least three vessels … to find the island’[212].


The traders Morris (English) and Dixon (Irish) establish a trading post at Walvis Bay with the collaboration of Jacob Afrikaner, having acquired Jonker Afrikaner’s permission, i.e. indicating that Jonker’s influence is already stretching to the coast at this time[213]. To encourage trade, Jonker Afrikaner has by these years ‘… had a track built from his centre in Windhoek in the highlands of the country, about 350 km to the coast at Walvis Bay, and supplied Morris and Dixon with cattle in return for guns’[214]. In the early 1840s there were a lot of ships passing Walvis Bay because of the guano rush[215].


Moritz reports that the instructions for missionaries of 14 August 1844 indicate that it was still unknown whether anyone was to be stationed at Rooibank/Khuiseb area: the three places the Rhenish Mission intended to occupy, were ‘Rehoboth (Annis), Okahandja (Schmelens Verwachting), and a landing place at Walfischbay’ which would be important for bringing in goods needed for the northern stations and would reduce the travel time from Cape Town from ‘9-10 months by ox wagon’ to 2 months by sea[216]. At this time a chief is reportedly living in the Walvis Bay area with over 1,000 Namaquas, under Jonker Afrikaner, and ‘has repeatedly asked urgently for missionaries’[217]. The RMS conference held at Ebenezer (northern Cape) favour filling all three proposed posts, ‘but the deputation finds the deputation finds the information about the latter [Walvis bay] insufficient’ and is yet to propose a missionary for this post[218]. Traders settled on the site of Sandfontein receive Scheppmann ‘in a friendly manner’ and from here he travels to Otjikango – ‘closer to the coast than Jonkers Platz [Windhoek]’ – ‘where he was given the task of finding a shorter route to the coast’: ‘the usual roads were so bad that it took a week to reach Otjikango by oxen, whereas with the riding ox you could reach your destination in one day. It was now necessary to find a shorter way to the Bay of Whales’[219]. Until now there was only Windhoek (Jonkers Platz): ‘Jonker had already told the missionaries in Walvis Bay that from Kurikaub (near Otjimbingwe) he had seen the mountains from the first Hererostation, and from there it was not far to Otjikango’[220].

RMS missionary Heinrich Scheppmann arrives in the country and is eventually commissioned with the new mission at Rooibank / |Awa!haos, which becomes known as Scheppmannsdorf[221]. Scheppmann finds [18] ‘Walvis Bay people dispersed among the sandhills living in the greatest poverty from having been raided successfully by Willem Swartbooi and brought under the domination of Jonker Afrikaner’ [= Kaiǁkauan Rooi Nasie alliance?]: thus around this year, [3] ‘the small ǂAoni community of Walvis Bay… is raided by Willem Swartbooi, an ally of Jonker Afrikaner’ during which ‘[w]omen and children were said to be carried off and many of the men forced to become herders for Jonker’[222]. Hahn and Kleinschmidt visit Walvis Bay and observe that lack of cattle here is a result of this raiding[223].  


‘The !Narabush is a light green spiny vines without leaves, which grow wild in the sand dunes, which are spread out wide. The !Narabush is very productive. If it is in good place, it can produce several times a year. The fruit itself, when it grows, reaches the size of the head of a one-year-old child. If it is ripe, then the meaty contents - the outer bark of the fruit is also like the bush prickly - is soft and yellow and very nutritious. The months from January to May are the actual harvest months, during which time the people look good and the seeds of the fruit are similar to those of the pumpkin and remind of the almond in taste, are fat and oily and are eaten by everyone The cores, which are not eaten, were formerly traded or sold in Sandwichhaven and in Walvis Bay, which also is still happening in Walvis Bay. You are very badly paid a Ibs 3 d u [?]. usually the poor people have to take goods for them, so that the business man gets them even cheaper. They are also sold by businessmen under the name “butterpits” after the Cape. The wide !Narafeld is subdivided among the family tribes, their livestock was always very small, so that if they had no more !Naras, they had to catch fish.’[224]

A Lieut. Ruxton visits Walvis Bay and writes,

[n]ear Walvis Bay, the few natives who inhabit the Kuiseb Valley live entirely on a melon or prickly pear, which they call ‘Naros’. It is peculiar that they are found only in a very limited area of the desert, which the Nama visit during their visits to the coast. This plant is a spreading prickly bush with small blue and yellow flowers. Throughout the year, it bears fruit, which can be gathered from the same branch at every stage of growth from bud to fruit.[225]

The expansionary Oorlam Nama leader Jonker Afrikaner arrives in Walvis Bay (in March) ‘with many people, wagons, oxen and sheep and also two small cannon which were fired from two high sandhills on arrival’[226]. Jonker’s expedition to the coast ends ‘the independence of the ǂAonin’ with their leader Khaxab [see above] entering into an alliance with Jonker ‘who became overlord of the Topnaar and appointed them his agents to sell cattle for arms’[227], placing Jonker in control of the trade route between Walvis Bay and Lake Ngami in present-day Botswana, from which the Oorlam Namas levy heavy tolls over the next 30 years.

Travelling from Rehoboth, on 4 December Sheppmann’s party reaches |Awa-!haos, meaning Red Bank:

[a] rock bank of red gneiss gave this place its name. In honour of Keetmann, the president of the Rhenish Mission, the station was also called Keetmannsdorf by Hahn and Kleinschmidt. But to this day people always speak of Rooibank. Scheppmann preached a sermon and asked the people if they wanted to stay longer without longer without God’s word. Three of the captains said that it was not only them, but that the whole nation was longing for it.

The very next day, Scheppmann began to plant a garden. Schepp-

mann describes the place in his diary as follows:

"Keetmannsdorf is eight hours away from Walfischbai by ox cart. The road there is bad and tedious. It takes about 2 1/2 hours up the 'Kuiseb' through loose sand, then on the right side of the river over the barren sandy area, which is alternately firm and loose. There is neither water nor pasture all along the way, except at the traders' place, where there is brackish water, but not enough for draught oxen. The place is inconspicuous by local standards, but it is pleasant and important for this country. It lies on the left bank of the 'Kuiseb', which with its green banks is only half an hour's walk wide.”

He then also speaks of the dunes, from where one can see the ships in the bay. There was no lack of water there. Below Keetmannsdorf there was a small, weak, low-lying spring in the riverbed, adjoined by a pond overgrown with reeds, where wild geese, ducks, snipes and herons lived, as an old picture still suggests.

Only nine families had their permanent residence here, while the others were always moving around.[228]

Missionary Scheppmann, also referred to as ‘Siboi’ by ‘the Topnaar’ after his resemblance to a certain man named 'Seaboy', thus establishing himself on the left bank of the riverbed, under two old ana trees[229],

[a] few paces from Scheppmann's Hut a water hole was dug. In about a meter depth you came across water. In the river bed near the new station was a spring. Their waters collected in a large pond that was 300-400 paces long, reached a depth of four to five feet, and was bordered on its shore by dense reeds. At the time of the foundation of the mission in Rooibank, Captain Frederik Khaxab was Oherhaupt of Topnaar. He lived in ǂKisa-ǁguwus, also called Sandfontein or Sand Fountain, where a spring was present. According to Chronicle I, the place was surrounded by Dawib [Tamarix usneoides] trees and high dunes [cf. image above from the Nautilus observations in 1786]. Rooibank was the place of sub-captain ǁNaixab. His name is written in Chronicle I: 26 etc. ǁNeixab, but is sometimes also found in the script ǁNaixab, and means probably the 'Sangesfreudige'[??]. In the history of Topnaar he is also known as ǂKixab. According to Kroenlein 1889: 207, this name derives from ǂkēi 'to be happy, to be still, to be quiet' and to mean the 'peaceful'. The name indicates a clear contrast to Khaxab, whose name apparently derives from kha-b 'war' and which means 'warlike'. Another possible derivation is 'the one with the bow' of kha-s 'bow'. Supposedly ǁNaixab had lived in front of the mission in |Awa-!Aos [Rooibank] with his people in ǂNu-!Hoas, d.h, Zwartbank (word Schwarzeck) and had been attacked there by the Gei-ǁKhauan [i.e. Rooi Nasie Nama from inland, allied with Jonker Afrikaner, cf. 1844]. They had killed many Topnaar and stolen the cattle. In Rooibank, ǁNaixab had returned to prosperity and possessed large herds. According to Chronicle I, the mat-hats of the square accommodated 250 to 300 inhabitants [=contradicts Kinahan assertions of impoverishment around this time??]. Among the Topnaar, an inner tension was noticeable at that time, which was expressed in the relations between Khaxab and ǁNaixab. According to the records left by missionary Scheppmann, Khaxab’s mother endeavored to maintain that tension. ǁNaixab apparently maintained a good relationship with the mission.[230]

On 6 December 1845 Scheppmann travels to Sandfontein,

to look for a suitable place for the mission station. The traders Morris, Dixon and Lewton, who lived here, gave him a friendly welcome. But they did not know the purpose of his coming. On 7 December he preached a sermon to the people of Kuwis (Sandfontein), which was translated into Nama by the wagon driver Samuel [from Komaggas]. He spoke to the  Topnaar about his plans. Seven captains were ready to receive him. Scheppmann also visited Wortel, but he preferred Rooibank. The Topnaar preferred Wortel because they caught fish in the bay with spears.

   But then the Topnaar were persuaded by the trader Morris not to take Scheppmann. Captain Kachab gave as his reason that he did not want to get on [bad side of] Morris, so Scheppmann could not settle here, and Jonker would have to give his consent first. Scheppmann, however, had received Jonker’s approval personally. The sub-captain Neichab was in favour of Scheppmann staying.

   Scheppmann tried his luck a second time by riding from Rooibank back to the wharf. Now he heard that the people were unhappy with the traders. A letter carrier had only received an old pair of trousers for the journey to Windhoek. He complained:

   "I am a stupid Namaqua, and we are all stupid, but now we want to take a teacher, then we want to come to our senses."6
Everyone, including Captain Kachab, now voted that Scheppmann could stay. On 19 December, within 5 hours, Scheppmann rode over the blazing [7]
sand back to Rooibank and started building a cottage the next day.

   He erected this hut under two large ana trees, under which he also held church services. Some stakes were driven into the ground and laths nailed to them. They tied reeds, which grow abundantly on Rooibank, to them with leather straps. The roof was also covered with reed. The straps, however, were cut from gemsbok skins and were not available in sufficient quantities, and so the hut could not be completed so quickly. But by 24 December it was finished so far that he had a little house for Christmas. He made a window frame with 4 panes of glass himself, and the door was made of cardboard. He did not get much help. From the upper Kuiseb bushmen appeared, watching with interest and asking for tobacco. Their clothing consisted of a karo (fur cloak), while some wore trousers made of goatskin. The women's front karos were decorated with coral. Their body [was smeared] with fat obtained from fish.

   The main food of the people at Kuiseb is the nara fruit, a type of melon, which grows everywhere on the dunes and in the Rivier Bed. Every family has its own special naravelder. The nara is eaten raw once, but the seeds which are cooked with the flesh of the nara, are then sieved and dried. For the small children there is also a little goat's milk. Otherwise, meat is eaten with pleasure.[231]

Kaptain Jacob ǁNeixab moves from the Kuiseb to the Swakop to hunt there and Moritz links him with finding at a granite island mountain 40 miles east of Walvisbaai two old clay pots and four Nara knives considered to be where belongings were hidden until they came back from the Swakop – ‘[u]nder one of the pots lay a piece of rush mat; it could have been the remains of a little basket, through which the cooked nara liquid was seived’[232].

Rooibank thus becomes the mission station of Scheppmannsdorf, established by Missionary Heinrich Scheppmann
[233] at invitation from people known in the later literature as ‘ǂAonin’ who are seeking to become more astute in relation to the forces impinging on their lives, and follows observations at Walvis Bay by Missionaries Hahn and Kleinschmidt that the lack of cattle here is a result of raiding by Jonker Afrikaner and allies[234]. A letter from the Rev. Mr Scheppmann of Rooibank dated 4th January 1845 reports that “their sole food is the ‘Narap; now and then they also catch some fish, if the fruit is not enough, but the latter grows in abundance nearly throughout the year”[235].

A Missionary Schmidtz in Walvis Bay observes
!nara being managed in ‘patches’ and that since ‘their livestock was always very small, if they had no more !Naras, they had to catch fish’[236].

Writing in this year, Missionary Tindall prescribes for the Walvis Bay and Lower !Khuiseb River people – who he names ‘Hottentots’ [see below] – ‘a reformed life as wage-earners in the commercial economy of Walvis Bay’, [2] writing that,

[l]iving in the neighbourhood of the Bay has of late been much diminished by war, and scattered in consequence of being robbed of their cattle by Chief Willem Zwartbooi [allied with Jonker Afrikaner and Rooi Nasie], who … killed a great many men and carried away the women and children captive, in consequence of which they have nearly lost their independence, many of them having become cattle watchers to Jonker Afrikaner’s tribe[237].

At Rooibank, their “principal residence” Tindall found “only 50 souls, 18 head of cattle and 100 sheep and goats”, although more than 100 attended his morning service before returning “to their distant homes”,

[p]rovidence has provided for their wants wonderfully in causing the wide spreading bed of the !Khuiseb to abound with the !nara shrub … on which they thrive. When this fruit fails, they subsist principally on fish which they catch with gemsbok horn near to the water’s edge[238]. [cf. as observed by Galton and Andersson, and depicted in 1864 in a painting by Baines, see below**]

Tindall urges reform, stating,

[t]he last, and not least, reason is to collect the Hottentot tribes in the neighbourhood, reform their habits and instruct them in the things of God, of which they are ignorant, though prepared to learn. They think it no crime to drive off for their own use a few milch cows from the [3] Company’s herd, nor to slaughter an ox satisfy their hunger when they are leading a lazy, idle life, instead of working for the trading Company, and thus gaining a respectable livelihood. Missionary influence is much needed ...[239] 


RMS missionary Scheppman at Rooibank on the Kuiseb reports that ‘Bushmen also came to Rooibank, partly out of curiosity, partly to beg for tobacco’, and among the baptized at Rooibank in this year is also a Bergdama[240]. Scheppmann substantiates reports of impoverishment amongst the Nama in Walvis Bay[241], although archival sources mention Nama living at !Hei-ǁgamab / Heigamgab and (apparently temporarily) at ǁHunudas / Nonidas in the Swakop River, also reaching to Otjimbingwe in ‘raids’[242]. The RMS Chronicle for Rooibank reports that the sub-captain ǁNaixab (under Khaxab) was baptized on November 3, and named ‘Jacob’[243]. Of their huts, Scheppmann writes that ‘[t]hey build their huts in the way of the well-known mat hut; however, here they are not covered with mats but with grass which is just thrown upon them’[244].

Scheppman observes for a !nara patch called Arū-tsubes -  ‘[t]he place is without water, but that is no deficiency for the people living right among the “Naras, because the fruit quenches their thirst, and they do not require water for washing themselves”; and expresses disapproval expressed about people disappearing into the dunes ‘if they are unable to find enough fruit within half-an-hour’s walk from their place’: “there they remain lying, even without water, filling their bellies. Most of them spend their days in scandalous indolence and laziness’.[245]

Moritz continues his narrative about Scheppmann [see 1845]:

   On 27 January 1846, Scheppmann started school with 11 children. He taught them according to a question and answer booklet that missionary Schmelen had translated into the Nama language. It was printed in Cape Town in 1830 and was a translation of the Dutch textbook "Korte Vragen voor de kleine Kinderen" [‘Short Questions for Little Children’]....

   In March and April trees were felled for a new church; until then he kept school and church under the large ana trees. On 12 April 1846 the first first Bastard [Baster] was baptised, he came from the Engelbrecht family from the Cape, had the name Noach and died in 1917 at the age of 107.

   As Scheppmann did not have an ox cart at his disposal, he did not make any progress at all with the construction of the church. It was not until 9 June that missionary Kleinschmidt sent him a wagon and, among other things, an ox, a wagon and a bed; up to then he had always slept on the ground, and the nights were relatively cold.

   The first church in Scheppmannsdorf was 18 feet long and 12 feet wide. It was built like a house, but with a flat roof, which, like the walls, was made of reed. The church was finished within 4 days, and on 28 June the first service was held there.

   Scheppmann also visited the people on the Swakop River, where Captain Neichab used to hunt with his people. Old Neichab and his wife were later baptised. On 27 November, a small bell came from the Cape and was hung in an ana tree. One day later, Scheppmann moved into his new house, for which he also made a door, a table and a bookcase.

   [9] On 13 December, the congregation celebrated Holy Communion for the first time with 7 people. This was the beginning of the congregation of Walvisbaai, which today [1997?]  numbers almost 2500 souls.

   During the time of the Nara harvest from December/January onwards, Scheppmann had few people on the site. Since some of them also lived far away, he could only hold school over the weekend. He was not very lucky with [gardening]. The grain did not grow well, and the vegetables were eaten up by the weeds. Even though it was difficult, within a year Scheppmann had built a house and a church for the community, which numbered 40 souls in 1846. The people did little to help him, but with the new church on Rooibank, which was built nearly 125 years later, was different; for now they built it almost alone. Scheppmann got a lot of help during the whole time he worked on Rooibank (1845-1847), not one letter from Germany.

   With his adversary Kachab, who had already raided the station once, the Lord himself spoke. Scheppmann got the message: "Kachab is sitting like Kachab is on fire. A thunderstorm had erupted near Sandfontein, and the lightning had struck Kachab’s hut. Scheppmann immediately set off to visit him, but he was unwilling to open himself to the word of God. As the old evangelist Stevenson tells us, Frederik Kachab was later buried on Frederiksdam; hence the name of the dam. His grave was called !hu-ǁhoas- "where sin is heaped up".

   The first person to visit Scheppmann in his new house on Rooibank was Missionary Rath. He was very amazed at the work his friend had done. But it was also clear that Scheppmann had overworked himself. He was very sickly and urgently needed rest. Rath took him to the missionary conference in Rehoboth. But Scheppmann was not to see his beloved Rooibank again. It was miserably cold inland at the time, deep snow covered the land as the Nama had never experienced it before. Scheppmann came down with a severe fever and cough. On 28 August, after a haemorrhage, his condition became so bad that his end was near. Kleinschmidt, who was also in the infirmary, was brought to him. He asked him if he held on to the faith of Jesus Christ, which he answered with a resounding "yes". That same night the first missionary from Rooibank died. The captain of Rehoboth and his brother kept the wake, while the elder John gave the funeral oration. There were just enough crate boards left for a coffin, which was made black with pot soot and glue water.

   The first missionary on Rooibank who had left his homeland at the age of 26, was destined to live only a short two years [at Rooibank]. But nevertheless his name remains unforgotten. A ship’s captain who visited Rooibank at the time said of him that Scheppmann was the most respectable missionary he had ever seen in his life. The leadership of the Rhenish Mission decided to name the Rooibank mission station Scheppmannsdorf. The memorial erected for him at that time was later washed away by the flood.

   The author, who was himself a missionary there, made sure that among the**[246]


Missionary Scheppmann dies in Rehoboth on August 19 after which the Rheinische Mission ‘continues its activities in Rooibank with interruptions’, although their expectations ‘seem to have been met only to a small extent’[247]. Scheppmannsdorf mission station remains vacant until the end of 1847, when Scheppmann's successor is Jan Bam, a coloured man (b. Cape Town 5/8/1811), a tailor who was the brother of the second wife of missionary Schmelen (‘who had already visited the Topnaar, the Nama tribe at Kuiseb, in 1825’)[248]:

Jan Bam, who had already visited missionary Schmelen at Komagga, was sent to Rooibank, where he arrived on 15 December 1847. The Riethaus of Scheppmann's house was still standing, but he built a new house and later a church with room for 100 people. 27 parishioners and 8 baptised children were left from Scheppmann’s congregation.[249] 

When Missionary Kolbe comes to Scheppmannsdorf with missionary Bam in December 1847, he observed that the 20 schoolchildren all wore a bone hanging on the chest like a shin bone, with which the nara frucht is eaten.[250]


The church at |Awa!haos/Scheppmansdorf/Rooibank/ is consecrated on 9 December, and Bam holds a school here for 30 children with the Baster Johannes Cloete employed as a teacher, and  interpreting for the missionary[251]. Missionary Bam temporarily sets up on two sand hills at |Awa!haos/Rooibank and after the goods are all taken away, holds services in the packhouse from then on, with the house of the merchant Stewardsson, at the Cape at the time, used as a temporary home[252]. In July there is a plague of locusts, which the people are glad of as food; with some going to the sea to catch fish[253]. Reportedly ‘the Topnaar under the leadership of Jonker Afrikaner took part in the war campaigns of the Swartboois’, casting a shadow on the community, with Bam writing: “If the Kuiseb has ravaged the place, the devil has ravaged the hearts of the people of the people” and 29 August being the first Sunday on which Bam did not hold a service[254]. He starts the school again in December with 30 children, when Christmas is celebrated with “baked Nara cakes”, the ‘nara bushes’ having borne well: ‘[m]any people attended the service, so that the so that the packing house could not hold them all’[255]. The last white trader Vero left the bay[256].


A storage shed is built at |Awa!haos/Scheppmansdorf/Rooibank where goods, ‘which arrived by ship from Cape Town about every two months’, were stored ‘until they were transported by ox wagons into the country’, the missionary at Rooibank also being an agent for the the Rhenish Mission[257]:

[o]n 25 February [year?], the Kuiseb came down very heavily. The water rose even higher the following day and sought a new bed on the opposite side. Large trees were uprooted and Missionary Scheppmann's monument was washed away. Bam fled with his family to the church because his house was already in the water. in the water. At 3 o'clock in the morning, the house collapsed. The church was also threatened by the flood, so that the inhabitants sought refuge in the packing house. But that was full of goods. The flood swept away the church and a residential building and a house where the merchant Dixon had lived. A strong tree more than was uprooted and left 20 paces away. The goods from the packing house were carried to safety on the dunes. Bam had to hold the service under a tree on the following Sunday. But everyone was thankful to the Lord that no human life was lost.[258]

Francis Galton (British) and Charles John Andersson (Anglo-Swede) arrive in ‘Walfisch Bay’ from Cape Town on 20 August 1850, where ‘there were Missionary establishments already formed from near the coast to many days’ journey inland’ and then travel ‘with waggons’[259]. He is ‘referred to a person who had already carried on for some years a cattle trade between Walfisch Bay and the countries near it and the Cape’ [presumably Morris/Dixon] and who ‘had built a store at the Bay’ and had a vessel there, and who sometimes sent cattle to St. Helena, sometimes sold them to whalers and guano ships ‘which then were numerous’[260] and sometimes drove them ‘overland to the Cape’, ‘by a road to the west of …[the] Karrikarri [Kalahari] desert … and to the east of which the Boers and Bechuanas reside’, on country inhabited by ‘Namaqua Hottentots’ as he notes was first explored by Sir James Alexander[261]. It is believed in the Cape at this time that ‘no white man had ever penetrated’ Damaraland, but missionary stations are placed on its borders, [6] their representatives in Cape Town assuring him of assistance and protection on his journey[262]. In an article published in 1852, Galton refers to the Nareneen who lived by the sea in the north-west beyond the Kaoko mountains, and the Ounip (called by the Dutch Toppners [i.e. ǂAonin]) about the parts of which we are now speaking [i.e. !Khuiseb/coast?], and south of these were the Keikouka [Kaiǁkhauan / Rooi Nasie / Red Nation], now represented by the red people, by Swartboy, the Kubabees [ǁHabowen / Veldschoendragers], and Blondel Swartz [!Kamiǂnûn / !Gamiǂnûn[263]]’.[264] [- see Ca. 1775-1785]  

Andersson: At that period, certain parties from the Cape had an establishment here for the salting and curing of beef. They, moreover, furnished the guano traders, as, also, Cape Town, with cattle; and had, in addition, a contract with the British Government for supplying St.Helena with live stock. The latter speculation proved exceedingly lucrative for a time, and a profit of many hundred per cent. was said to be realized[265].

Galton: learns that the nearest water at Walfisch Bay is ‘three miles off, and that in very small quantities’ [= Sandfontein / ǂKhîsaǁgubus] and ‘[t]he nearest place where cattle could thrive was between twenty and thirty miles from the coast’, at the first missionary station called Scheppmansdorf, from which ‘a journey of ten or twelve days inland over wretched country led to two other stations’ and it is only here that oxen can be bought, those bought from Damaras [Herero] being ‘untaught’ and [7] those from Namaquas being ‘taught’[266]. He is shown ‘a small pen and ink map, but it was blotted and not very intelligible’ [7] and hears that horse distemper is very severe, ‘[t]he Namaquas are always fighting with the Damaras [Hereros]’ making it difficult to pass through the country of both, ‘[n]o money was used or known, nothing but articles of barter, – iron things … among the Damaras, clothing and guns among the Namaquas’, [8]although under-calculates how much he will need to exchange for oxen – stating that ‘his great error was in not taking far more things of known exchangeable value, and in having taken those “presents” which the natives really cared very little for’[267]. Jonker Africaner is known as ‘the great man of all the country’ but reportedly with ‘a wholesome dread of the English Government, and unlimited respect for a large letter with a large seal’[268]. In Cape Town he purchases ‘two wagons [to be drawn by oxen he intends to buy in the country], nine mules [to pull the wagons and a cart to Scheppmansdorf], and two horses’, plus a few sheep, ‘thinking wrongly that there would be plenty of game’[269]. He takes plenty of corn for the cattle and a cask of good water and hires personnel including a Portuguese chef called John Morta, an ex-slave called Timboo ‘liberated by one of our cruisers years ago, on capturing a slave-ship in the Mozambique’, John St. Helena as wagon-driver and his brother as leader, John Williams as another leader, ‘a young scamp’ Gabriel who begged to join and supplied a pack of dogs, and an additional wagon-driver from ‘a wagon-maker’s shop’[270].

Galton: they round…

‘Pelican Point (on which pelicans were certainly sitting) and came into a wide bay, the shores of which were dancing with mirage, and presented the appearance of the utmost desolation. The store-house was a wretched affair to have received so grand a name – being a wooden shanty, about the size of a small one-storied cottage – which we could not for a long time see from on board our ship. The name of the bay, “Walfisch,” is Dutch, and means whale-fish: the sailors have corrupted it to Walwich, and, lastly, to Woolwich Bay, all which aliases may be found in different maps. There are a great many whales of the sort called “humpbacks” all about this coast; in coming here we passed through a ”school” or herd. It was a magnificent sight for the whole sea around us was ploughed up by them. We went up the bay very cautiously, for it has never been properly surveyed; and different charts give most widely different plans of it. At nightfall we anchored a mile or so off shore. We could see no natives; and not a sign of life anywhere, excepting in the immense flocks of pelicans and of flamingoes and other sea-birds. And this, it appears, is the character of the entire coast between the Orange River and the Portuguese territory – a physical barrier which has saved the natives who live behind it from the infliction of a foreign slave-trade.

   The books of sailing directions say that no fresh water can be obtained on the coast for the whole of that distance; but this is a mistake, [10] as in Sandwich Harbour, some twenty miles south of Walfisch Bay, there is, at least at present, a copious supply.[271]

On the morning of 21st August they ‘see some savages about’, and bring the schooner in to around 1/3rd of a mile from the ‘storehouse’ and,

[Galton p.10] at midday the captain, the new Missionary, and ourselves landed. A row of seven dirty, squalid natives came to meet us. Three had guns: they drew up in a line, and looked as powerful as they could; and the men with guns professed to load them[272]. They had Hottentot features, but were of a darker colour, and a most ill-looking appearance; some had trousers, some coats of skins, and they clicked, and howled, and chattered, and behaved like baboons. This was my first impression, and that of all of us; but the time came when, by force of comparison, I looked on these fellows as a sort of link to civilisation.[273] 

[Andersson p. 18] We had not been many minutes on shore, when some half-naked, half-starved, cut-throat-looking savages, made their appearance, armed with muskets and assegais. Nothing could exceed the squalid, wretched, and ludicrous aspect of these people, which was increased by a foolish endeavour to assume a martial bearing, no doubt with a view of making an impression on us. Without noticing either their weapons or swaggering air, and in order to disarm suspicion, we walked straight up to them, and shook hands with apparent cordiality[274].

[Galton p. 10] They were well enough acquainted with sailors; and the advent of a ship was of course a great godsend for them, as they bartered, for tobacco, clothes, and all sorts of luxuries, the goats’ milk and oxen which a few of them had; but they had been savagely ill-used more than once, and had occasionally retaliated[275]. The captain of them soon made his appearance, and we became very amicable, and walked towards Sand Fountain, signs and smiles taking the place of spoken language. A letter was sent on to the Missionary [Bam] at Scheppmansdorf, a cotton handkerchief and a stick of tobacco being the payment to the messenger for his twenty-five miles’ run. We passed over a broad flat, flooded in spring-tides, following the many waggon-tracks that here seemed so permanent as not to be effaced by years. We were surrounded by a mirage of the most remarkable intensity. Objects two hundred yards off were utterly without definition; a crow, or a bit of black wood, would look as lofty as the trunk of a tree. Pelicans were exaggerated to the size of ships with the studding-sails set; and the whole ground was wavy and seething, as though seen through the draught of a furnace. This was in August, the month in which mirage is most remarkable here; it is excessive at all times, and has been remarked by everyone who has seen the place. A year and a half later I tried on two occasions to map the outline of the Bay, which was then comparatively clear, but still the mirage quite prevented me; an object which I took as a mark from one point being altogether undistinguishable when I had moved to my next station.

   After proceeding half a mile we came to the bed of the Kuisip, a river that only runs once in four or five years, but, when it does, [11] sweeps everything before it. … Bushes (Dabby bushes I have always heard them called, i.e. Tamix usneoides / daweb) not unlike fennel, but from eight to twelve feet high, grew plentifully; a prickly gourd, the ‘Nara, with long runners, covered numerous sand-hillocks; and lastly, high shifting sand dunes, on either side, completed the scene. … [14] it is the staple food of these Hottentots, and a very curious plant. In the first place, it seems to grow nowhere except in the Kuisip and in the immediate environs of Walfisch Bay; and in the second place, every animal eats it; not only men, cattle, antelopes, and birds, but even dogs and hyenas. It is a very useful agent towards fixing the sands; for as fresh sand blows over, and covers the plant, it continually pushes on its runners up to the air, until a huge hillock is formed, half of the plant, half of sand. I do not much like its taste; it is too rich and mawkish. …[276]

Andersson [22] Sand Fountain, notwithstanding its disagreeable guests [sand fleas], had its advantages. Almost every little sand-hillock thereabout was covered with a 'creeper’ which produced a kind of prickly gourd (called, by the natives, naras) of the most delicious flavour. It is about the size of an ordinary turnip (a swede), and, when ripe, has a greenish exterior, with a tinge of lemon. The interior, again, which is of a deep orange colour, presents a most cooling, refreshing, and inviting appearance. A stranger, however, must be particularly cautious not to eat of it too freely; as, otherwise, it produces a peculiar sickness, and a great soreness of the gum and lips. For three or four months in the year it constitutes the chief food of the natives.  

   The naras contains a great number of seeds, not unlike a peeled almond in appearance and taste, and being easily separated from the fleshy parts, they are carefully collected, exposed to the sun, dried, and then stored away in little skin bags. When the fruit fails, the natives have recourse to the seeds, which are equally nutritious, and perhaps even more wholesome. The naras may also be preserved by being boiled. When of a certain consistency, it is spread out into thin cakes, in which state it presents the appearance of brown moist sugar, and may be kept for almost any length of time. The cakes are, however, rather rich and luscious ...  

   The naras only grows in the bed of the Kuisep river, in the neighbourhood of the sea. A few plants are to be met with at the mouth of the Orange river, as also, according to Captain Messum, in a few localities between the Swakop and the Nourse [Kunene] river.[277]

[23] A few miles from our encampment, resided a small kraal of Hottentots, under the chief, Frederick [Khaxab], who occasionally brought us some milk and a few goats, as a supply for the larder, in exchange for which they received old soldiers’ coats (worth sixpence a-piece), handkerchiefs, hats, tobacco, and a variety of other trifling articles. But they infinitely preferred to beg, and were not the least ashamed to ask for even till' shirt on one's back.[278]…  
  At that period, certain parties from the Cape had an establishment here for the salting and curing of beef. They, moreover, furnished the guanotraders, as, also, Cape Town, with cattle; and had, in addition, a contract with the British Government for supplying St.Helena with live stock. The latter speculation proved exceedingly lucrative for a time, and a profit of many hundred per cent. was said to be realized
[279]. This lagoon teems with various kinds of fish; and, at low water, many, that have lingered behind, are left sprawling helplessly in the mud. At such times, the natives are frequently seen approaching; and, with a gemsbok’s horn, affixed to a slender stick[280], they transfix their finny prey at leisure. Even hyaenas and jackals seize such opportunities to satisfy their hunger[281].
  We had not been many minutes on shore, when some half-naked, half-starved, cut-throat-looking savages, made their appearance, armed with muskets and assegais. Nothing could exceed the squalid, wretched, and ludicrous aspect of these people, which was increased by a foolish endeavour to assume a martial bearing, no doubt with a view of making an impression on us. Without noticing either their weapons or swaggering air, and in order to disarm suspicion, we walked straight up to them, and shook hands with apparent cordiality

Galton [11] We were so much out of condition, that the depth of the sand and the heat of the sun (at least, what we then thought was heat) gave us a good tiring, and we were heartily glad when Sand Fountain and its watering-place came in sight. My imagination had pictured, from its name, a bubbling streamlet; but in reality it was a hole, six inches across, of green stagnant water. It was perfectly execrable to taste, as many years had elapsed since the Kuisip last ran, and the water which drains from its damp sand to the hollow here had become almost putrid, and highly saline. However, it was drinkable, and I was satisfied that with plenty of digging enough could be obtained to water my mules.[283] 

[Andersson observes that,] the water, moreover, was of so execrable a quality as to make it totally undrinkable. However, on cleaning away the sand, it flowed pretty freely, and we flattered ourselves that, by a little care and trouble, we might render it fit for use, if not exactly palatable[284].

[… Galton p. 11] Some years ago, when the trader lived here [presumably Morris/Dixon, see 1842], the water was copious and very good, but all these sort of wells' are very uncertain, even more so than the flow of the river on which they depend. We came back much as we went, and bought five ostrich eggs that were brought to us, giving seven sticks of tobacco for the lot; but this was a piece of extravagance, five being the proper price. Cavendish tobacco is that which has been nearly always bartered here; it is, as most smokers know, in sticks, each stick weighing about an ounce, and worth a penny. I had taken only a hundredweight with me; but five hundredweight would not have proved at all too much. We took the captain and an ill-looking Hottentot, who appeared to be a relation of his, on board, as the two were inseparable; and we employed ourselves in picking bush tics from our persons, for the bushes swarmed with them. [presumably the captain and his relative were the Mu-ǁin captain and assistant Khaxab and ǁNaixab, see above]

   During the night a gun was heard on shore, and a fire was lighted, which proved to be made by the Missionary, Mr. Bam, and Stewartson, who had been a cattle-trader, but had lately lost everything, so that he, his wife, and children, could not afford to return to Cape Town, but lived at the same station with Mr. Bam. We had sent the letter at midday [see above]; they received it about nightfall, and had ridden down on [12] oxen in five hours. I had up to that moment no conception that oxen ever were, or had been, used as hacks, except possibly as a joke; but here were two fine-looking beasts, saddled, and with sticks through their noses, and a thin bridle fastened to the stick, and tied to a log of wood, and really they looked uncommonly well, and not at all out of their element.

   We at once proceeded to disembark. The horses and mules had to swim; the sailors managed it rather clumsily, and nearly drowned one; but at last the creatures were all got on shore. Heavy packages had next to be landed in the dingy, and we got through a deal of work. In the evening I rode with Mr. Bam to the Hottentot kraal by Sand Fountain, and of course listened with great interest to all he [Bam] had to tell me of the country. With the Damaras he had little or no acquaintance [= at this point missionary Bam had not interacted with Herero inland]. He was born in the Cape; had made several overland journeys; spoke much of the difficulty of travelling here, both from want of food and the badness of the road; and did not hold out to me the slightest encouragement as regarded my journey.

   After sunset Mr. Bam returned on board to sleep, and to get a good substantial dinner there, which is not to be despised by a resident in these parts. I pitched my tent on shore, and slept in guard of the things. My men had worked with very good spirit through the day in landing them, though it was hard work, and they were wet all the time. Some slept on shore and some on board. I had a heavy spar, which lay on the beach, carried under the Iee of the store-house, and picketed my mules and horses to it. The night was very chilly, damp, and windy, and the animals extremely restless. In the morning we found that my two horses had broken Ioose and escaped. Timboo and John St. Helena [see above] went directly to their tracks; but as hours passed, and they did not return, I became much alarmed. On Mr. Bam’s coming on shore he advised me at once to send some natives with provisions after the men, as all was desert for forty miles and more round the Bay; the horses would never perhaps be overtaken by the men, who would possibly follow their tracks till they were exhausted, and so be themselves unable to return. I therefore sent two natives directly, – Mr. Bam interpreting for me, – one with provisions, and the other with orders to go on after the tracks and bring the animals back. Late in the afternoon my men made their appearance, looking sadly exhausted. They had gone very far, until they dared not go further; and then, intending to return by a short cut back soon [13] became bewildered among the sand-hills, and quite lost their course. They were on the point of going altogether wrong, when the mist cleared away, and showed them the sea and the Bay, with the schooner in it, in the far distance. After a long walk they came to the waggontracks, which took them to Sand Fountain, where they obtained water, and there the Hottentots met them.

   The sailors had landed some of my things very carelessly indeed, dropping bags of flour into the sea. I made a great row, with much effect, about it. Some goats driven down to sell. I bought two kids for a second-hand soldier’s coat without the buttons. I had three dozen, and gave sixpence each for them at a Jew’s shop in Cape Town.

   The horses were still missing. I sent the captain, “Frederick,” [Khaxab] and another man, on their ride-oxen upon the spoor – for I became extremely anxious for their lives; there is not a blade of grass or a drop of water where they are gone. Frederick would not go unless I promised him and his friend a really respectable coat and a pair of trousers, to be paid if they brought the horses back-not otherwise. The agreement was made, and off they started. I wish I had brought more old clothes. Two coats and the etceteras are a sad drain upon my wardrobe. Another accident happened: my large white dog, that I begged from the barracks, took fright at the waggon-whips which we had landed, and were cracking; he ran straight away, and was never seen by us again. Flamingoes gathered here in immense flocks; their flight is very curious; the long projecting neck in front, and the long legs behind, make them look in the distance more like dragon-flies than birds. I broke a pelican’s wing with a cartridge of swan-shot, and had a chase of a good mile after him before I came up; the Hottentots ate him. The Bay seems, from all accounts, to swarm with fish; but, though I have a small seine net, I have no time now to set it.

   August 23. – The horses are found! They had strayed nearly forty miles (I saw their tracks long afterwards), and Frederick drove them to Scheppmansdorf for food and water, as it was much nearer for them than the Bay. He came to claim his apparel. I grudgingly enough gave him the only coats I could; they were the workmanship of Stultz: I had intended them for full-dress occasions at Missionary chapel-meetings, etc. But it could not be helped; and the greasy savages put them on, exulting in their altered appearance. …[285]

Andersson [23] ‘A few miles from our encampment, resided a small kraal of Hottentots, under the chief, Frederick [Khaxab], who occasionally brought us some milk and a few goats, as a supply for the larder, in exchange for which they received old soldiers’ coats (worth sixpence a-piece), handkerchiefs, hats, tobacco, and a variety of other trifling articles. But they infinitely preferred to beg, and were not the least ashamed to ask for even till' shirt on one's back.’[286] 

= Andersson is reported to observe that ‘Khaxab’s people’ (at ǂKhîsa-ǁgubus / Sandfontein) are ‘still extremely poor, being anxious to exchange milk and goats for trifles such as tobacco, old coats, or handerchiefs’.[287]

Galton[14] The waggons that belonged to the Missionaries in the country came down to the beach to carry away their supplies, which had arrived by my ship. A vessel would have been chartered for them if I had not previously engaged it. They had arranged that one should be sent every two years to bring them their things of barter-clothes and groceries, and whatever else they might want; for the overland journey was found to be more expensive and less practicable, as it takes quite four months to reach Cape Town from Walfisch Bay, and the roads are so rocky that a waggon is seriously risked by the journey. The oxen, too, are probably much worn out, and, after all, only some 1,500 lb net weight can be carried in each waggon. On the other hand, a vessel from the Cape arrives in a week, and can, of course, carry anything. The trip costs about £100; it would be much less if it was not that the prevalent winds make it a matter of some four weeks to return. Chance vessels hardly ever arrive nowadays at Walfisch Bay; not one had come for more than a year.

… All our things were at length landed; the wells at Sand Fountain yielded enough water for the mules; the storehouses both there [Sandfontein?] and at the Bay were unlocked, and cleared out to receive my luggage; the waggons and cart were pieced together; and the schooner sailed away.

   [15] The Missionary who had come with us from Cape Town went off at once to Scheppmansdorf with Mr. Bam, whose oxen fetched his waggon and all his things, and who very kindly promised to give me a help with mine, when the oxen were sufficiently rested, if I would first get the luggage as far as Sand Fountain. The mules [brought from Cape Town] were therefore harnessed, and worked excellently, carting my heavy things through the deep sand; and they made sometimes two and sometimes three trips a day between that place and the Bay. Andersson and myself slept at Sand Fountain. John Morta cooked for us, and the others drove the cart, and took care of my store at the Bay.

   Mr. Bam told me I should have great trouble in first going up the country, unless I had a person to guide me, and that there was not a Hottentot with him who could go. I had no interpreter for them, and they were frightened at the Damaras. [= Nama at the Bay were frighten of Herero inland – but no mention at this point of Jonker at the coast, cf. earlier accounts] Stewartson [impoverished trader, see above] said that he was going in about two months, and would then be very happy to show me the way. It appeared, on further conversation, that the business which detained him from going at once was that he had to make a fence round his garden to keep it from Mr. Bam’s pigs. So I arranged with two of my men that they should go and help him to get through the work quickly, while my others were employed with me. After a week everything was returned to Sand Fountain. Andersson and myself had employed ourselves in walking about, superintending the work. The Hottentots of course crowded round us every day, but they did not at all trouble us: only one or two of them were impudent, and, as I did not [16] know how much thrashing they would stand, I let them alone.[288]

Galton shows the ‘Hottentots’ a rat-trap, explaining that if they put their hands into his stores to steal ‘they would infallibly be caught’[289]:

The black-and-white crows almost attacked our larder for food. They live on the dead fish that lie about the beach, which indeed is almost the only food hereabouts for them. The natives brought us milk every morning to barter for tobacco, and also some goats. Mr. Bam very kindly sent me a slaughter ox. It seemed to me the most princely of presents. Meat keeps wonderfully well here in this season (August and September), and even dries instead of tainting; but I subsequently found it otherwise in December. I had taken plenty of salt meat with me from Cape Town, and rice and biscuits – quite two months' provisions – for I knew it must be a long time before we could fall into the ways of the country, and find our own commissariat there.

   I gave the mules a day’s rest, and then started with my first load to Scheppmansdorf, Andersson remained behind [at Sandfontein]. Mr. Bam had sent me word that a lion had come over from the Swakop, River, and was prowling about and very daring, and that a hunt should be got up at once. As we travelled sometimes in the soft sand of the river bed, sometimes on the gravelly plain, through which it runs, we kept a sharp look-out for the track that had been seen there; we found it after we had travelled ten miles. The natives amused themselves by cleverly imitating it; they half clenched their fist, and pressed their knuckles into the sand. It was curious to see to what a distance the lion kept to the waggon-road, walking down the middle of it as though it had been made for him. I listened deferentially to Timboo und John St. Helena, who were quite learned on the subject of tracking. Except some ostriches scudding about, some crows, lizards, and a few small birds, there was no other sign of animal life, but we saw spoors now and then of the little steinbok, a very pretty gazelle some sixteen inches high.

   We followed the waggon path till an hour after nightfall, when the damp feel of the air, distant lights, and barking of dogs, announced that we had arrived at Scheppmansdorf. Mr. Bam welcomed me most kindly, introduced me to his wife, gave me an outhouse for my boxes and myself, and we formed a very pleasant party that evening, more [17] especially as I heard my horses were quite well and fat …[290] 

They talk until late about what should be done concerning the lion, ‘a well-known beast, who usually hunted the lower part of the Swakop, and had killed an immense number of cattle’, [20] a great hunt drawing on ‘most skillful tracking’ by the accompanying ‘Hottentots’, including Captain Frederick [Khaxab], leading to its eventual demise, from a ‘single shot at the head, fired by Mr. Bam’ [21] the skin being given to Galton as a covering for his saddle-bags[291]. Galton describes Mr. Bam’s household as giving ‘a good idea of consisting of a Missionary establishment’, consisting of ‘himself, Mrs. Bam, a numerous family, and an interpreter [Johannis[292]], who helped at the schools, [and] could drive a waggon’, plus ‘a few hangers-on, more or less trustworthy, and always ready for a job’; the house being ‘a tolerably sized cottage or bothy, all on one floor, built of course by the Missionary himself’ with ‘[c]hairs, a table, and a bureau’ brought from Cape Town’[293]. Describing the gendered division of labour he notes that,

[t]he wife does the whole housework, cleaning the rooms, managing the children, cooking the dinner, and, what I never liked, waiting at table. These ladies have the hardest and rudest of occupations, but, I must candidly say, they seem to like this life extremely, and I am sure that Missionaries must find great favour in the eyes of the fairer sex, judging from the [18] charming partners that they have the good fortune to obtain.[294] 

The ‘natives’,

make their huts as they like, and where they like. They plant sticks in a circle of six feet across, then bend the tops , together and tie them with strips of bark; lastly, they wattle the sides and plaster them up.[295] 

Scheppmansdorf itself is described as

Pretilly [sic] situated on a kind of island in the middle of the Kuisip River bed near a clump of fine trees, somewhat resembling elms [the soft-wooded ‘unna’[296] = ‘ana’ / Faidherbia albida]. At one side stands the Missionary’s and Stewartson’s houses, in the middle is the white-washed chapel, and round the other sides lie the huts, twenty or thirty in number. All round is sand; to the south there is a perfect sea of sand-dunes from one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet high, to the north the Naanip plain. A small streamlet rises from the ground, and runs through the place, watering about three acres of garden and field, and losing itself half a mile off in a reedy pond full of wild fowl.

[images of hut traces etc.]

[19] [Built in a ‘rude circle’] [t]o the middle of this the oxen of the place come of their own accord every night as the evening sets in, and lie their until the early morning...

… [18] The natives crowd the church and sing the hymns, which, being about three-quarters articulate and one-quarter clicks, produce a very funny effect. The Missionary is, to all intents and purposes, lord paramount of the place, though he is modest, and refers matters as much as possible to the captain of the tribe. Savage countries are parcelled out by a tacit understanding between different Missionary Societies, priority of occupation affording the ground of claim, it not being customary for one sect to establish its stations in a land where another sect is already settled. Mr. Bam [RMS] and the other gentlemen I was thrown amongst belonged to a German Mission, and were all of them Germans or Dutch. Further to the interior, and communicating with the Cape, not by the sea, but overland, are some English Wesleyan stations. Subsequently, I passed through these, but at the time of my visit they were unoccupied.[297] 

Galton buys two oxen, ‘a black and a red one, from Stewartson’ for ‘[g]roceries and a gown for his wife’ and a yellow ride ox from Johannis, the interpreter, for ‘a common gun’[298]. Galton acquires pack and ride oxen on arrival, plus Dama and Herero men as guides and workers, from mission stations at Scheppmansdorf (led by Missionary Johannes Bam) (i.e. Rooibank) and Otjimbingwe (led by Missionary Johannes Rath, accompanied by Hans Larsen - ‘trader, hunter, trek manager and cattle farmer’, who joined Galton’s expedition)[299]. He also hires Philippus Kajimune who spoke Herero, Nama and Dutch and who had worked as interpreter for Missionary Franz Heinrich Kleinschmidt (1812-64)[300].

Galton hears constantly from Andersson,

who remained at Sand Fontain with most of my men, guarding the boxes till Mr. Bam’s oxen were fresh enough to go down and take them. They had a monotonous time of it. A hyena paid them two visits at night, but got away in the dark unscathed. Little else happened.[301] 

[Andersson p. 15] This lagoon teems with various kinds of fish; and, at low water, many, that have lingered behind, are left sprawling helplessly in the mud. At such times, the natives are frequently seen approaching; and, with a gemsbok’s horn, affixed to a slender stick, they transfix their finny prey at leisure. Even hyaenas and jackals seize such opportunities to satisfy their hunger[302].

Galton makes his ‘first attempt at mapping’ from the sandhills at Scheppmansdorf, from which Walvis Bay and [23] the mountains of the Swakop could be clearly seen[303]. He is shown by ‘natives’ the first place they would aim for on the difficult, grassless and waterless ‘first stage’ across the plain to the Swakop, which for their journey in mid-September is guided by [trader] Stewartson on an ox, with Galton and Andersson on horseback and the rest of the men on foot, the wagons having been brought to Scheppmansdorf and a full-list of things taken and how packed provided in Galton’s narrative[304].

Galton is joined at Scheppmansdorf (Awa!haos / Rooibank) by Andersson who observe’s ‘Khaxab’s people’ (at ǂKhîsa-ǁgubus / Sandfontein) to be ‘still extremely poor, being anxious to exchange milk and goats for trifles such as tobacco, old coats, or handerchiefs’.[305] ‘[t]he Hottentots come over now and then from the Bay, when the 'Naras are not in season, and bring their cows and oxen to give them a good feed. The place is not suited for savages [meaning Herero / Tjimba?], for there are no roots for them to grub up and feed upon, and the river bed is so deep, and the rocks so abrupt, that nothing would be easier than to entrap a drove of oxen in it. Anywhere else, when a plundering attack is made, men and oxen scamper off in all directions, but here they would be if pounded[306].


Of the mid-1800s Vigne summarises that,

[d]efeat in battles with the Herero and the Swartbooi, war losses as conscripted allies of the latter, famine, and demoralization as their dune and shore settlements like ǂKhîsa-ǁgubus became corrupted by prostitution and alcoholism were only part of the process. Many remnants [??] from other communities settled among them – San, Damara, Nama and Herero and mixtures of all these with Europeans. The great numbers of cattle driven to the bay for export by the traders there destroyed the grazing for their own herds.[307]


Archival sources suggest that ‘Topnaar’ of Rooibank make a campaign in this year against the Herero, who were then sitting at the Swakop (e.g. Otjimbingwe)[308].

A Captain John Spence obtains ‘permission from the local chief (probably Khaxab) to set up a fishing establishment at Sandwich harbour on behalf of the Cape- and London-based firm, de Pass & Co. [A & E de Pass
[309]] … on condition that the chief’s people were allowed to stay there with their families’, becoming the first of several fisheries and related operations such as shark-liver-oil extraction in Sandwich and Walvis Bay[310] - at Sandwich Harbour ‘[h]igh quality shark liver oil was produced in brick tryworks, until the shark were fished out’[311]. Some whaling continues but without success of earlier American whalers, despite their exclusion at this time[312].


At Jonker Afrikaner’s command, in August Jakob ǁNaixab, Frederik Khaxab and Jonah at Jan Bam’s, who led Scheppmansdorf after Scheppman’s death, all had to leave Rooibank, and Jonker,

orders Khaxab to leave the Bay with his people and to move to the highlands inland. It is unknown whether this order of Jonker’s was directed against the mission in Rooibank or because Jonker himself needed more men for his war effort. About 300 Topnaar left the Kuiseb area to follow the call of Jonker. Some of them returned to Rooibank in 1852. ǁNaixab seems to have been held by Jonker to prevent the Topnaar from moving to Rehoboth, given the hostility between Jonker and the Zwartbooi [Swartbooi]. Because … both Jonker and the Zwartbooi required ǁNaixab to join their people in their warfare.[313] 

[= hostility now between Jonker and Zwartbooi? Following alliance in 1840s?]


A fishing business is opened at Sandwich Harbor [?see 1851] and coastal people / Topnaar go there to work for ‘wages and spirits’, linked, according to with being no longer able to live on the Kuiseb !nara[314], although unclear as to why exactly this is [nb. see 1852]. The merchant Stewardson settles with his family back on Rooibank with his family and trades in powder and lead, which causes new unrest[315].

The missionary Carl Hugo Hahn includes the ethnic descriptor !Gomen with ǂAunin at a time when !Gomenǁgams and ǂAuninǁgame were both Khoe names for Walvis Bay (as recorded in the diaries of the trader Charles John Andersson)[316]. Nb. anthropologist Winifred Hoernlé in the early 1900s also notes the name !Gumin as ‘an alternative name’ for ǂAunin but states that she does not know the meaning of !Gumin[317]; Köhler[318] following Kroenlein[319] suggests that it is linked with the verb ‘to be mute’, and might ‘designate neighbors who speak a different dialect or a different language and who are difficult or even difficult to understand’. Field research in Sesfontein confirms !Gomen as a name linked with Walvis Bay (fieldnotes).

In his diary entry for 7 March of this year, Rev. C.H. Hahn ‘estimates the strength of the Oorlam overlord Jonker Afrikaner’ as:

Orlams and Namaquas (at Jonker’s main wert [i.e. |Aeǁgams?] 1500

Namaquas (Topnaars) in the mountains and at Walvis Bay, including Scheppmansdorf [i.e. Rooibank] 1000

Berg Damaras 2000

Herero 2000

TOTAL 6500[320] 


ǁNaixab returns to Rooibank [see 1952] and [111] at this place the Topnaar ‘robbed handlers [?] and stole their ammunition’[321]. After the flood[?], Bam rebuilds the mission station at |Awa!haos/Rooibank and in this year is able to move into his into his new home, consisting of 3 rooms and a kitchen, with a reed church was built within 14 days, although the east wind later blows away the canvas roof[322].


James Chapman:

[a]fter travelling 15 hours without unyoking [across ‘Narriep Desert’], we reached an outspan termed Sandfontein….
Many narras, pale-green gourds growing on a prickly creeping shrub, are found amongst the white sandhills here. The sand deposited by the wind accumulates against these shrubs, thus forming the base of these shifting sandhills. The gourd is pleasant, though mawkish, to the taste, and the natives eat their seeds, which are rich in oil, very nutritious, and taste like almonds. The pulp is made into a jam, which is spread on level sand to dry and then packed in sheets resembling cardboard for the winter. The narra is eaten by every animal and almost every kind of bird, particularly the ostrich, and no human could exist here without this gift of Providence.

This country belongs to the Beach Hottentots, (14:33) a small tribe living at Sheppmansdorp [Rooibank / |Awa-!haos], 18 miles south of Walvisch Bay. They subsist on the narra and on fish, which they spear with a gemsbok horn or an assegai. They possess a few cattle and guns. Each family has its assigned portion of narra bush, which grows only in this locality. Only jackals, hyenas, reptiles and a few ostriches inhabit the dense dabby bushes  in the bed of the Kuissip River, which falls into Walvisch Bay.[323]
Of the !nara he writes that ‘no human could exist here without this gift of Providence’

“When the children were in the mood to go to school, they attended, if not, they were lying among the
!nara bushes”[325]


The Anglo-Swede explorer-trader Charles John Andersson publishes his Lake Ngami in this year and uses the term ‘Topnaar’ ‘as an all -embracing term for the indigenous Nama’, signifying “the First, the Highest, the Great, or those who originally inhabited Great Namaqualand, and they view with considerable jealousy the progress and superiority of the Orlams, whom they justly consider as intruders”[326].


Rev. Carl Hugo Hahn notes in this year that many so-called ‘Saan’ described as settled throughout Namibia are not ‘Saan’ or ‘Bushmen’ but impoverished ‘Namaqua’, adding that ‘the true Saab are in Bushman country and live high up in the north’ and that ‘[t]he Namaqua in the north who are also called Saan and who live together with the Bergdama are of one tribe with the Topnaars whatever the latter may say’[327].


Former missionary at Rooibank Walter Möritz credits C.H. Hahn in this year with the first European use of the term ǂAonin for the Topnaar [see 1853], ‘whom Hahn believed to be the same people as those Poor Namaqua he found stretching right across to Lake Ngami, on his visit to the Ovambo in 1857’[328].


The RMS Chronicle mentions in this year that ‘[t]he Mountain Dama and Bushmen sitting in the mountains began to steal cattle in Rooibank’, Köhler adding that ‘[p]resumably, in order to avoid the punishments the cattle-theft brought from the Topnaar, they retreated into impassable areas and gradually died out there, provided they did not succumb to the weapons of the stronger ones’[329]. The Chronicle also mentions in this year that ‘the Bergdama sat in the mountains and occasionally committed cattle theft with the Bushman’ but also ‘indicates that the Bergdama are scarcely worth mentioning’[330].


Regarding Sandwich Harbour in these years:

… needing only simple drying sheds, boats, nets and lines, fisheries [at Sandwich Harbour] produced dried fish in quantities large enough to be exported to feed workers on the sugar plantations of Mauritius, which were fertilized by guano from lchabo. The fisheries were at the height of production between 1860 and 1870 … The fishing season lasted about six months …. A manager from the Cape supervised from eight to 16 Cape fishermen and local Topnaar who cleaned and salted the fish and packed them in wooden casks when dry. The fish was shipped to Cape Town every two months when a ship collecting guano from the islands brought water, stores and provisions. When the !nara season was over and the melons on which the Topnaar subsisted were gone, the fishery workers' families were joined by more local Topnaar people, up to about 500 in number, who came down from their settlements near Walvis Bay and scavenged what they could find from the deserted fisheries while also harvesting marine foods ….  

   The material remains of the fisheries include extensive middens of fishbone, ruined sheds and imported artifacts, including assemblages of ceramics and fishing equipment. Alongside these remains are shell middens with indigenous artefacts and glass trade beads. One large fishbone midden contained two burials, the bodies wrapped in sacking and resting on a layer of reed stalks, the soil above having been closed with bricks and stones. This situation confirmed documentary comments … that the fishing business was seasonal, the manager and fishermen from the Cape returning to Cape Town after the season was over while the Topnaar occupied the premises during the intervals, changing their activities from laboring on the fishing station to scavenging and subsisting on the !nara and marine resources.  

   The skeleton examined was of a woman, over 60 years of age at death. This estimate suggests that she would have been born around the turn of the century when the Topnaar controlled the cattle trade. Her molars were very worn, suggesting a diet of !nara concentrate which is made by cooking the melon and slopping out to dry on a clean dune side, which results in a layer of sand embedded in the dried fruit. …[331]


The Swartbooi construct embankments around Rehoboth to protect against Nama attack, following their realisation of the Swartbooi-Herero alliance that facilitated Herero southward advance [Specifically, ǁKhau|gôan or Swartbooi Nama under Willem Swartbooi who had moved northwards in the early 1800s after leaving the southern areas of Bethany, the Fish (ǁAub) River, and Warmbad[332], establishing themselves in 1845 with missionary Kleinschmidt at |Anhes / Rehoboth[333], a locality inhabited by ‘Berg Dama’ when they settled there. They become the only Nama collective to ally with Kamaherero rather than the Afrikaners based at |Aeǁgams / Windhoek.

The Swartbooi are defeated in the struggles that followed and forced to leave |Anhes / Rehoboth due to this attack by Jan Jonker [his father Jonker died in 1861] and Afrikaner commando[334], with Kleinschmidt whose mission station they have inhabited, and they trek ‘along the Kuiseb River, and thence to Salem on the Swakop River in order to find new dwelling places in Hereroland’.[335] They are pursued by Jan Jonker who overtakes them and sets fire to their wagons [recorded in Andersson commission 1][336], speeding up their retreat along the Kuiseb, from where they settle at Salem on the Swakop River and then move towards Fransfontein and Sesfontein where they settle, via Ameib [1867] in the Erongo mountains[337] where a Rhenish Mission is established in this year[338]. Kleinschmidt, deserted in the attack, treks overland with his family to Otjimbingwe and dies there soon afterwards.[339]

Elsewhere, these circumstances are described as,

a “trading expedition” allegedly initiated by the people of Rehoboth in 1864 to the Bergdama people in Erongo. As the story goes, the Bergdama, on seeing the Rehobothers, somehow did not recognise the nature of this visit and escaped without their flocks, which were appropriated by the “traders”, since this was so convenient. When they left, the Bergdama attached them with arrows, but the Rehoboth people “defended” themselves effectively with their guns. Thus, the anticipated trading could not take place.[340] 

Another description states that,

[a]ccording to the chronicle of Otjimbingue, the Topnaar living in the Kuiseb valley joined forces with the Zwartbooi, headed northward under the leadership of the missionary Bohme, and settled in !Am-eib on the Erongo mountains. When the water in !Am-eib became scarce, the Zwartbooi and the Topnaar moved northwards to reach Okombahe, Otjitambi or Franzfontein. From there, many Topnaar moved to Zesfontein (aka Sesfontein), where at that time lived Bushman and Bergdama, who were under the influence of the Herero. The Topnaar were later followed by a smaller group of Zwartbooi and also settled in Zesfontein[341].

The Afrikaners are prevented from attacking Otjimbingwe by the kapteins of Berseba, Bethany and Gibeon by cutting off their supplies of ammunition[342]. Oral history confirms that !Gomen (from Walvis Bay), |Hai-!gâuan and ǁKhau-|gôan (Swartboois) all came from Utuseb / Kuiseb through Walvis Bay to Sesfontein[343].

It is in this year that Thomas Baines paints a group of people on the shores of Walvis Bay lagoon, later claimed as ǂNūkhoen by the late Seth Boois[344]:

[i]n the shallows of the lagoon, men spear fish with long sharpened sticks near their ǁou-ǂguris, a pyramidal frame erected in the water on which the fish were skewered before being taken ashore. Women clean sandsharks on the beach; note their beads, predominantly pink, blue, red and white, and sailor’s cap and jersey, although most wear skins. In the background of the painting (left) are the sheds and maritime navigation beacon marking the anchorage and (right) two women transporting fish on carrying sticks called ǂgobo-haiti to dry at their settlement. In the mix of indigenous and European items represented, the painting is a superb illustration of the transitional Middle Contact period[345].  

**check Baines images & scan**


Jacobus Boois attacks Topnaar settlements on the lower Kuiseb and in the Bay and the Danish trader Iverson meets his death, after which all white people leave the Bay[346].


A parallel separate movement of !Gomen|gôan, i.e. people from Walvis Bay, under the |Uixamab lineage leadership moves northwards and settles in Sesfontein to become the so-called ‘Sesfontein Topnaar’[347]. Thus, a section of ‘the Topnaar tribe’ retreats to Kaokoveld ‘after the defeat of the Hottentots by the Herero in the sixties of the last century’ [**suggests that the |Uixamab lineage (!Gomen|gôan) were linked around this time with the Swartboois (ǁKhau|gôan)?]; ‘the other section lives in the dunes around Walvis Bay and in the bed of the Kuiseb river at various places’[348].


By this decade the ‘Topnaar’ are described as having “disintegrated, with many of them permanently in hiding. Only a small and impoverished group remained at the coast”[349].


In the Walvis Bay area Palgrave (in his report to the British Cape Government as Special Commissioner to ‘Damaraland’ and ‘Great Namaqualand’) finds 120-200 people, including Berg Damara and Bushmen under the influence of the Red Nation[350] [​​Rooi Nasie / Kai ǁKhauan Nama] of a total of around 750 Topnaar[351] of a total of around 750 Topnaar[352]  under a Captain Frederick [= Khaxab?], with part living in ‘Damaraland’[353]. Palgrave reportedly persuades the Topnaar ‘that their future would be more secure under the British flag’[354].


By this year ‘the decline of the Topnaars seemed irreversible’[355]. Walvis Bay is formally annexed (‘owned’[356]) by the British with warship Industry taking possession of the harbour, and British flag flies at Walvis Bay on 12 March[357], and British Resident Magistrate based here[358], although ‘traders and missionaries continue to appeal for protection from the interior pastoralists who resisted their interference’[359]. The bay and enclave is surveyed by a Captain Dyer ‘to include the fresh water at Rooibank’, ‘as a British possession … accepted by Piet !Haibib without demur’[360]. It appears to be Piet ǁHaibeb / ǁEibeb (who lived in Rooibank and succeeded Frederik Khaxab as Topnaar captain), who negotiates with the British government and agrees ‘that part of the Topnaar country would become British’, based on an understanding according to a statement by missionary C.H. Hahn the Joint Commissioner that ‘the territory of the Topnaar-Hottentots comprising the territory north of the latitude of Sandwich Bay, from Walfish Bay and the lower Kuiseb as far as the 16th longitude and to the north as the lower Swakop'[361]. Elsewhere this moment is reported as ‘[t]he Topnaar chief Piet !Haibib [d. 1909[362]] was coerced into selling a large part of Topnaar territory to the colonizing Germans in 1884’[363]. Topnaar property rights to !nara are recognized in Act 5, Clause 7[364]. Missionary Baumann takes up RMS post at Rooibank on the !Kuiseb[365].

Thus, legal treaties protecting the ǂAonin’s rights to land and supporting their !nara fields begin to be agreed between the local Chiefs and relevant colonial leaders in an attempt to reverse the growing lack of control over productive resources associated with colonial processes. Specifically, in this year ǂAonin chief, Piet ǁEibeb (Haibib) signs up to ‘protection’ by the British government of the Cape Colony[366].

In the German geographic journal Mittheilungen aus Justhus Perthes’ geographischer Anstalt auf dem Gesammtgebiete der Geographie, Dr. A. Petermann calls what was formerly known as ‘Damaraland’, ‘Hereroland’, and states that ‘[t]he ancestors of the current Topmaars [sic] and Bushmen must be regarded as the original inhabitants of the Herero land’[367]. A map A. Peterman published this year places ‘Topnaar (Namaqua)’ south of Walvis Bay in dunes south of ‘Kuisip’[368].


Lutheran missionary Johann Philipp Baumann is based at Rooibank [Scheppmansdorf] and his views re: the in-migration of the ‘Topnaar’ in the late 18th century are later drawn on by Oswin Köhler [see above], i.e.,

that the Topnaars came into the area only at the end of the 18th century, settling at the mouth of the Swakop river in the early 19th century and around Walvis Bay as late as 1820-30[369].


A Mrs Latham, daughter of Latham who ‘pioneered the trail from Cape Town to Walvis Bay’ speaks of her memory from 1879,

[n]ear the banks of a river we outspanned and stayed there to rest ourselves and the oxen, there being good grazing. Then after some days father, Becky, Ben and I took the advantage of going with Frank Bassingthwaite’s wagon to Rooibank to fetch supplies for the missionary .... We left mother and the children at the wagon and the cattle in the care of the only faithful Hottentot we had found. ... His name was Kleinsmit [perhaps named after Kleinschmidt, the missionary in Rehoboth etc. from 1845 who died in Otjimbingwe in 1864]. I wonder why he was so different from the majority of the Hottentots, I don’t know what we should have done without him. He was one of the bay Topnaars as they are called, and was a very quiet determined man. Very careful of his powder since he had learned to shoot with a musket he had got from [306] father. He deserves to be remembered by us being the only faithful Hottentot servant we found in the country.[370] 

Capt. Warren of the HMS Swallow escorting the Christina – ‘chartered to transport the goods’[371] – leaves Cape Town on 24 September accompanied by W. Coates Palgrave, Special Commissioner of Damaraland for the British Government in the Cape, landing at Walwich Bay five days later, ‘as part of the relief expedition sent by the British Government to assist the ill and starving “Dorsland (Thirst Land) Trekkers”’ stranded in ‘Damaraland’, carrying a collection of money, food, medicines, clothing and ammunition by a relief committee set up in Cape Town[372]. Palgrave also brings horses and mules, saddles, harnesses and forage, and is accompanied by ‘a translator and Topnaar assistants from Walvis Bay’[373].


Abraham Zwartbooi is documented in the RMS Chronicle of this year as calling to the Topnaar to draw with the Zwartbooi in the war against the Herero[374].


In Walvis Bay, the RMS Chronicle records that ‘[t]he ability to accept contract work and to get money, drew the Topnaar again and again to Sandwich Harbor and especially to Walvis Bay’[375].


Piet !Haibeb petitions the Governor of the Cape, recalling that “in 1876 I agreed to the annexation to the Cape Colony of that portion of my country now known as Walwich Bay Territory”, that its boundaries “be extended so as to include the whole of my territory, in order that I and my people may live in peace under the Colonial law”[376].

Missionary J.A. Bohm [Bam?] writes in his annual report that 10,000 pounds of nara kernels were shipped to Cape Town at about 30 pfennigs a pound from Sandwich Harbor or Walvis Bay.[377]

Koch, who lived at Rooibank and Walvis Bay in last quarter of 19th century, writes that,

during the late 19th century, visitors from the interior were assigned a number of bushes, “the fruit of which could be used at will, either for own consumption, for sale, or be given away” - “One can easily imagine that quarrels about bushes flare up frequently, because the vines do not stop at the established boundaries, sometimes evan a completely new bush grows right on the border”, plus “it often happens that women and girls own landed property”. Property “is passed over from parents to children, to be more precise, the youngest boy always is the principal heir, because the responsibility to take care of and maintain his parents grown old, rests with him” and “[w]hen a man dies, his widow and her daughters remain with the youngest son”. Mediation is reportedly through ‘law of the strongest’ or through ‘a tribal gathering convened for the specific purpose of trying to solve the problem according to law and equity’.[378]


This is the year that Walvis Bay is ‘formally annexed to the Cape Colony’[379].

In October, and ‘threatened by Maherero’s demands’[380], Piet ǁEibeb (apparently also Haibeb / !Haibeb), who succeeded Frederik Khaxab cedes the coastline (excluding Walvis Bay which since 1878 had been annexed by the British) and 100-200kms of its adjoining land from 26° to 22°S to the German Imperial Commissioner Dr Nachtigal for £20[381]. Thus, Piet !Haibeb, son(?) of Khaxab, explains in a statement Over de Topnaarstamme to an agent of Adolf Lüderitz, in the moment in which ‘!Haibeb sold all Topnaar land outside the Walvis Bay enclave to Lüderitz [for £20], because of “famine among the people, misrepresentation on the part of the German agents, and fear”’[382], ‘an explanation for his sharing responsibility for the sale – and the proceeds – with a Topnaar elder, Jacob ǁNaixab [presumably lieutenant of Khaxab, see above], who had not at first been consulted’[383]. Thus, !Haibib’s statement closes by stating that ‘”according to the law of our people the tribal elders or chiefs must agree” on such an action as the sale of land and copper mines that they are now engaged upon. He said that he had done wrong to sign the deed without waiting for Jacob ǁNaixab’s agreement, now manifested by his signature (a cross, like his own) on the document’[384].  

The treaty recognises Topnaar rights in the ceded land which ǁEibeb (Haibib) claimed to be ‘the whole !Khuiseb area as far as the Gamsberg and from there to Onanis and Horobis on the Swakop and from there to Karibib and in a straight line to the sea’[385], thus,

“[m]y territory is the whole !Khuiseb area as far as the Gamsberg and from there to Onanis and Horobis on the Swakop and from there to Karibib and in a straight line from there to the sea”.[386]

Seen as an attempt to reverse the growing lack of control over productive resources associated with colonial processes, the then ǂAonin chief, Piet ǁHaibeb (spokesman for the !Khuiseb Delta people), thus agrees in 1884 to ‘protection’ by the British resulting in the !Kuiseb area being defined as Topnaar land[387][388], and that ‘his people once controlled a very large area, grazing their stock as far away as the Erongo, 250km to the east’[389], although at the time of the inquiry ‘had become a pathetic few squatters in the dunefields at Walvis Bay’[390]. Review of the purchase agreement between A. Luderitz and Piet ǁEibib shows that the territory indicated by Piet ǁEibib as the Topnaar exceeded the area actually inhabited by Topnaar [although review of the complex historical connections and movements between these areas perhaps implies otherwise][391].

Elsewhere this moment is described as follows:

[i]n 1884, their [i.e. ‘Topnaar’] chief, Piet !Haibeb, petitioned for the addition of their land outside the enclave to the [British Cape] colony, for protection from both Hereros and Germans and in the hope of further benefits.
An agreement to sell land for a derisory sum, to Lüderitz, obliged Chief !Haibeb to set out an account of the three groups: !Gomen (later a remnant in Sesfontein in the Kaokoveld), Mu-ǁin (ultimately the dominant group in Walvis Bay and the !Khuiseb) and the |Namixan (defeated and obliged to inhabit the coast until taken back by the Mu-ǁin). [cf. Hoernlé oral history above]

i.e. !Haibeb’s statement ‘identifies the movements of the !Gomen, Mu-ǁin and |Namixan’ – ‘three Topnaar groups, once independent of each other’[393]:

  • the !Gomen under Chief ǁKuiseb (i.e. Alexander’s ‘Quasip’?**check Vigne) ‘came under Jonker Afrikaner’s domination’ and after his death in 1861 ‘they became free of the Afrikaners and moved to the Bokberg [!Ameib / Erongo, where Swartboois had also settled] under their chief |Uixab’, whilst half of their group stayed ‘in their original territory’ (i.e. !Gomes / Walvis Bay)[394]. Eventually they moved onto Sesfontein under |Uixab’s son, |Uixamab[395];  
  • the Mu-ǁin ‘living in the Swakop river region under Chief !Oaseb-Zamrab, returned to the !Khuiseb where they were three times defeated by Willem Swartbooi. Eventually their chief Frederick Khaxab brought to Walvis Bay Jonker Afrikaner, who made peace and put them in charge of his cattle so that they could buy arms for him from the ships that came into [8] the bay. Jonker Afrikaner’s death made them independent again and the Afrikaners no longer had overlordship over their chiefs or their country[396];
  • the |Namixan, ‘under Chief ǂGasoab, lived in the !Khuiseb but came into conflict with the returning !Gomen and Mu-ǁin, were defeated by them, and part moved to the high ground and the rest remained. Jonker Afrikaner failed to make peace among them and the conflict continued between ǂGasoab’s successor, Chief ǂHieb, and Chief Khaxab of the Mu-ǁin, and the |Namixan were forced to withdraw to the sea-coast. When Chief ǂHieb and two companions travelled secretly to Rooibank to look for any of his people left there they were surprised at a Mu-ǁin werf by a commando which attacked from the dunes rather than approaching them along the river, and all three were killed. The Mu-ǁin refused the |Namixan plea for peace and drove them, under Chief ǂHieb’s son, away yet again. Jonker Afrikaner at last managed to make peace between them and the |Namixan came again, led by Haoseb, father of Jacob ǁNaixab, to live among the Mu-ǁin’[397].
  • in addition, the ‘ǂGai-!Khomsen’ and ‘!Noraban’ are confirmed as ‘Topnaar groups’ – also included as ‘|Namixan sibs’ in Hoernlé’s narrative[398].


Lüderitz acquires the ‘coastal strip’ from 22°S (around mouth of Omaruru River, present-day Hentiesbaai) to Cape Frio, ‘from Jan |Uixamab, chief of the !Gomen, whose father |Uixab had moved on to Sesfontein after a spell in the Bokberg’, described later as:

“[o]f all the devious land acquisition treaties negotiated by Leutwein the one covering the coastal area between Swakopmund[?] and Omaruru was the most devious”.[399]

In a report from this year ‘600-700 topnaar and 100-200 bergdama are mentioned in the British area at the lower Kuiseb’ and Bergdama ‘slaves’ are called the Topnaar[400]. Casual work for cash is observed to increase consumption of alcohol, thus, ‘[t]he Topnaars are a lazy thriftless race, whose sole object in working is to obtain the means whereby they may gratify their insatiable thirst for Cape Brandy’[401].


Köhler cites archival sources mentioning that in this year thirty Topnaar live at ǂKorogos (ǂGorogos) (literally Shell Place (?), also known as Grochus), in between Sandwich Harbour and Walvis Bay[402].


Dissatisfaction among Topnaar reported over ‘unauthorized harvesting of !naras by a number of coloured people’:

that the population of the district having of late years greatly diminished. whilst the area occupied by the narraplants has increased. whole tracts of narra became vacant and the narras remained rotting away. Then some two of three families at Zandfontein (Bastaards) took to gathering these narras. This excited the ire of the Topnaars (who monopolize the narras), one of whom complained that ‘his narras’ were being stolen. I explained that I could not look upon narras as property. they grew wild on waste Crown lands and were veld kosi, so the law against theft was inoperative.[403] 



Summarising histories recounted above,

… during the wars between the Nama and Herero, a group of Topnaar joined Jan Jonker Afrikaner, headman of the Afrikaners, to fight the Herero, and thereafter remained in the north, in a place called !Am-eib [near Erongo mountains]. Forced by drought they moved afterwards to Sesfontein, where at that moment already lived some other African tribes, Bushmen and Bergdama. Another group of Nama people, the Swartboois, followed them later.[404]   


In Walvis Bay, the British Magistrate reports on 26th October,

[t]here is no canteen in the settlement, and only one Bottle Store, but this latter is the curse of the place, for the natives spend there by far the largest portion of their earnings … Women, whose husbands are known to be in receipt of wages, come to the houses and beg for food, asserting that ‘their men’ take nothing home, all money going in drink[405].


Missionary Viehe writes of the Walvis Bay area that,

[t]his flat plain is enclosed by tall sand dunes that stretch on both sides of the bay to the beach, some of which are covered with a strong tendril plant called the naraw plant, the leaves of this peculiar plant are small and very thick. The fruit, measuring four to five inches in diameter, is very prickly, and in the immature state the thick, rather hard shell is grass-green, with the maturity it becomes yellowish, enclosing a very flesh, which does not look unremarkable to a bright egg-yolk When one eats it for the first time, one is apt to feel aversion to it, but after it has been overcome, it tastes very the flesh are about 200 kernels distributed. They are white, about half the size of almonds, and their taste is reminiscent of beech seeds, which are collected by the natives and sold to dealers, and about 300 cents a year still dwell on Cape Town where they are sold at prices of 40 to 50 pfennigs a pounds.[406]

Palgrave reports for Walvis Bay people on ‘the remuneration they can from time to time obtain for their labour in carrying from the beach to the warehouses cargoes landed by the coasters from the Cape. For a day’s work, each man receives two and six pence with which he purchases rice, coffee, and tobacco', and [t]he only employment here, save domestic service, is that afforded when periodical ship arrives. The rate of pay is 2/6 per diem with food, but the work is not constant and does in fact average 3 days a month[407] [= drawn into casual labour and cash economy]  


The census states that 600 persons are resident in the British territory around Walvis Bay, most of whom were Topnaar (plus assimilated Bergdamara? cf. 1985), but they also included Bergdama and Bushmen[408]. The Walvis Bay area census of this year reports small families and an, ‘excess of females over males’ due to,

the presence of the many stranger women who figure in the schedules as “relatives” or “visitors” (often widows)… [who] are in reality refugees from the German Protectorate whose husbands or natural protectors have been killed in the tribal wars which have so long raged there. These helpless creatures are a great burden on the community and fare badly in times of scarcity. Their number is likely to increase rather than diminish[409].

Palgrave observes that Topnaar make their living from harvesting !nara for food and sale of pips to traders, fishing – through harpooning with a gemsbok horn tipped spear [‘the facilities offered for the capturing of fish driven into the lagoon at the bottom of the harbour by the sharks’[410]], and occasional paid labour – e.g. unloading cargoes at Walvis Bay[411] [see 1890].

Regarding !nara he writes that,

The tract on which it [!nara] thrives,  locally known as the 'Nara veldt is divided into "patches" among the different families of the tribe. These holdings descend through successive generations according to generally recognized Jaw of inheritance, all the individual members of the family having equal communal rights over the family patch.  

   In the Nara season. from January to May, the people leave their homes and camp out or squat among the Naras, living on the fruit and collecting the seeds for sale to the traders. These seeds -- the "Butter pits" of commerce - are the only natural products of which the District can boast …[412] 


The evangelist and Topnaar spokesman/foreman of Walvis Bay, Jacobus Argyll / Argyle / Arkul Stevenson[413] (b. 1888), reports that he had seen ‘Bushman’ at Frederikdam up to the Bay in his youth and that the ‘Topnaar Captain Khaxab was at war with the Bushmen and that Bushmen lived near his place Gomes in the south of the Bay’[414].


At Walvis Bay Palgrave notes that 'Fifty or sixty natives find employment for a few days every month during the visits of the periodical steamer ...   [and Domestic services with the European families absorb about a score of workers of both sexes, a few natives are also employed as herds. wood carriers or water drawers, etc.'[415]. The RMS Chronicle notes that ‘the standard of living in the Bay has increased’[416].  


Köhler observes that,

[i]n 1894, a German military and police station was built in Uruxas [on the Kuiseb, just east of Rooibank]. The ruins are still visible today. The canteen of the station stood in the shadow of the trees of the River. ... The purpose of this German control post was to monitor the export of cattle to Walvis Bay and to levy an export tax. Since control over the cattle crossing the border in one direction or the other to find seasonal pasture was very difficult, topnaar were also affected by the levies that drove their flocks back to Rooibank. Through the intervention of the missionary Johann Bohm (1895 to 1904 in Swakopmund) it was achieved that cattle could pass on the drift to the pasture or from the pasture tax-free.[417]


‘Some Hottentots are settled here [Walvis Bay area]; apart from fish, which they collect on the beach at low water, they live from the nara fruit (Acanthosicyos horrida Welw.), a kind of cucumber with fruits the size of an orange, that are numerous on the sand-dunes’[418].

“any interference with the traditional ownership of the Nara may well lead to complications similar to an incursion to a vineyard in the Rhinegau”


‘the Naras, that interesting Cucurbitacee, which in large numbers grows at Sandfontein near Walvis Bay, preserves with their precious heavy fruit an existence for a few hundred Hottentots’[420].


Moritz refers to observations by Schultze in these years that,

[t]he Topnaars in the Walvis Bay area get their have got their root name !Na.ranin from the melon fruit !Na.rab, the Acanthosicyos horrida welw., on which they live for a large part of the year. The period of the nara fruiting falls in the 4 first months of the year; The main harvest time is February and March.
Then the fields are left. The poorer families carry their bags into the dunes, either taking their mats home or perhaps making a shelter out of shrubbery, scarcely calling it a cottage, and come to their old abode only to fetch water, if none in the narafeld itself can be found. More affluent Hottentots stay at home, let themselves be brought by their family[?] the Nara and only come in one day for an inspection.
“The individual families have hereditary property rights on certain Narabusche. This is the only case I know of private ownership of immovable property outside the hut area near the Hottentots. His Narabusche defends the Hottentott against encroachments of his kind on the legal way of the complaint before the Kapitan. A brief trial is being made with Bergdamara and Buschmanns. Several cases have become known to me in which the thieves were simply shot down on the decency of the Narabush, where the owner had traced their tracks and thereby condemned the death sentence. If at all the captain takes notice of such an incident, he will never take the party of the fugitive”.


German trader and farmer Ludwig Conradt quotes Matthew 6.26 ‘... they sow not, neither do they reap; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them’ in depicting Topnaar provisioning by !nara, and observes that ‘[t]hey are said to have strong respect for the property rights attached to every single plant, and it hardly ever happens that somebody steals from his neighbour’[423].


The lifestyle and mobility of the |!Khuiseb peoples / ǂAonin are further restricted by the proclamation of the Namib-Naukluft National Park (Game Reserve no. 3)[424], which occurs without consultation with the local people and rules hunting in the park illegal, although the ǂAonin already controlled hunting through an established traditional hunting season (!amis). Herding and all other activities were restricted to the river and official ownership of the land and resources was shifted to the state[425]. Schutztruppen posts (i.e. ‘stations manned by colonial protection troops’) are positioned at Ururas and Haigamkap ‘in Topnaar territory’[426]. Repeated changes in park regulations have also brought ǂAonin lifestyles in conflict with Park management, resulting in incidences of direct confrontation between the two[427].

The RMS station at Rooibank ‘Scheppmannsdorf’ is closed


Chief Piet !Haibeb (see 1878) dies[429].


A chemist of the Museum of Hamburg Clemens Grimme analyses specimens of !nara sent from Deutsch-Südwestafrika by German traders and publishes his results in the journal Tropenpflanzer; stating the the plant is very important for (unidentified) indigenous people, saying little about how it is prepared (other than to offer racist comments about how ‘a Negro’s teeth’ is required to consume the dried !nara fruit leather) but later dwelling extensively ‘on the various possibilities of profiting from nara by large-scale industrial processing’.[430]


German industry investigates the possibility of using the !nara as an almond substitute or for commercial oil production[431]. Ambiguities in the demarcation of the German territory and British Walvis Bay enclave lead to the border being redefined in this year: ‘[f]ollowing the verdict of the Spanish arbitrator, Professor Prida, the Rooibank border [?] was relocated … six kilometers upstream’[432].

A German customs official informs his superiors that “each of these noblemen who might possibly be prepared to work, applies for leave during the Narra season from December until April, before he has even started, and he gets it, because otherwise he would run away all the same”[433].


Anthropologist Winifred Hoernlé interviews Khaxas, the daughter of Haibeb[?], who succeeded Frederik Khaxab[434]. In the vicinity of Sandfontein Hoernlé muses that,

I find the people extremely mixed and the real Hottentots are few and far between. Many a child shows only too distinctly traces of white blood and one hears that the mother has lived in Swakop or somewhere with some white man. The Bergdamaras are certainly in the majority here.[435]


Popular writer Lawrence Green writes that when he landed at Walvis Bay ‘shortly after World War 1’ water distilled using a condenser was sold a five guineas a thousand gallons, falling only after a pipeline was laid to Rooibank on the Kuiseb River[436].


A 10km radius from Sesfontein is established as a Reserve for ‘Topnaar Swartbooi Hottentots’[437], and the descendants of these peoples who form the basis for recent ethnobotanical research with ‘Topnaar’ that includes both the !Khuiseb and Sesfontein areas[438].

A bulk water supply system is constructed by the South African Union Government at

Anthropologist Winifred Hoernlé writes a letter to the Secretary for South West Africa, Office of the Administrator[440] stating,

There is no doubt that the people are on bad terms with one another ... They would like a headman with authority to settle disputes, yet the dissensions among themselves as to whom they want have prevented them from putting forward their wishes. The people just brood and bicker in the recesses of their sanddunes, and are infinitely unhappy. They will never move to aid themselves, nor will they leave the bed of the Kuisib of their own accord. NO, as long as the !naras is there, the best food in Africa, as all Hottentots will tell you, the Topnaars will not move. Meantime, members of the various black races of the Protectorate are settling more and more in Walvis Bay, where they are not only ousting the Topnaars from the labour market, but where they are disputing possession of the !nara fields with them also. Altogether, hidden behind the silent line of sanddunes bounding the Bay there is a festering sore of human misery that troubles anyone who approaches it at all closely[441].


Topnaar and others are evicted from the area south of Walvis Bay. Köhler reports that in these evictions around 70-80 Topnaar and Bergdama living in Sandfontein (ǂKhîsa-ǁgubus / ǂKîsa-ǁgubus) moved to the location of Walfish Bay, while older people and people with livestock moved to different places upstream[442]. Topnaar living at |Unixa-!ûs / Wortel; also called ǁGam-ams (‘watermouth’[443]) were also moved from here in when the area south of the bay was evacuated.


A year of heavy rains in which the Kuiseb breaks its old course and floods Walvis Bay, leaving parts of the town under water for up to five months, floods wash away the bridge that crosses the Swakop mouth[444]. Köhler suggests from his field research in 1957 that following this flood the ‘!Nara nut based food basis of the Topnaar did not recover and since then plays only a minor role’[445].


Damara families Xoagub and |Awaseb are recorded harvesting from !nara fields along the Kuiseb in the records of Topnaar evangelical pastor Solomon Reinhard (born about 1870)[446].


The church in Scheppmannsdorf, under date palms in 1950. Source: Scan from Moritz 1997, p. 8.

Early 1950s

‘There is one special plant that grows in the desert, the Naras. It is a strange-looking plant, rather like an untidy heap of tangled up, pale green barbed wire. On it grow small round fruit, a kind of melon. These the coloureds collect. They eat the soft pulp, making a kind of bread or biscuit from it. They dry the seeds. Some of these they roast, and they have a nutty flavour.

‘The dried naras seeds have a ready sale. Confectioners use them for flavouring and for ‘nut fillings’ and trimmings. Sacks of naras seed are brought into Walvis Bay, mostly on pack donkeys, and sold to the stores for cash to buy things like paraffin and the clothes. Nearly thirty tons of naras seed were exported from Walvis Bay in 1953.

‘It is no light undertaking to trek to Walvis Bay from these settlements up the Kuiseb River with pack donkeys. It takes three or four days each way. All the water needed for the journey has to be taken along as well.’[447] 

1950s on

Khoe-speaking Dama / ǂNūkhoen are observed as inhabiting the !Khuiseb, integrated within the ǂAonin community[448].


In May Köhler does field research with Topnaar and Bergdama along the Kuiseb River, writing that,

the population at the lower Kuiseb consists of Topnaar and Bergdama. This does not mean that both ethnic groups can be clearly identified as ‘Topnaar’ or ‘Bergdama’. Intermarriage and influences from other ethnic groups have determined the image of the external appearance … [and] within the population at the lower Kuiseb due to long inter-ethnic relations, there is a sense of togetherness.[449] 

He visits 50 Topnaar and 14 Bergdama households with 153 and 43 individuals respectively, finding that many younger people are either at Walvis Bay or ǂGorob for work[450]. Field survey by Köhler indicates that although numbers of people along the Kuiseb were low, ‘the number of women did not exceed that of men’ (as in 1891 Walvis Bay census) although the phenomenon of a high incidence of ‘relatives’ and ‘visitors’ was observed, interpreted ‘closely related to the structure of the clan’ more broadly (i.e. is ‘found everywhere’)[451]. In years of poor pasture and low !nara harvest, the government provides rations to the needy[452]. Topnaar concentrations were at Rooibank and Swartbank and many were born there; some moved to the Kuiseb from Walvis Bay, Sesfontein and Bethany[453]. Of the Bergdama, some were,

born at Kuiseb, especially in ǂNatab and Breuergu-!goab. Both places seem to be the most important centers from which members of the living generation spread’, others ‘came from places outside the Kuiseb valley, especially Otjimbingue, Okombahe and even the south of the country, and also Usakos and Walvis Bay. In some cases, the Bergdama claimed that their parents had fled the Otjimbingue Herero War and settled at the Kuiseb. The Kuisebtal was therefore sometimes an area that offered refuge in the tribal wars or in the clashes between the Germans and the Herero refugees.[454] 

In 1957, Owambo contract workers were employed at Rooibank water installation which had (again) become an important centre; otherwise ‘[t]he population of the lower Kuiseb lives mainly from a. the harvest of the Nara-nut, b. the keeping of cattle and goats c. the manufacture and sale of charcoal and d. wage labor’[455]. By this year [?] the place The place |Nomabeb, after the wild fig |nomas, has become known by the Namib Desert Research Station under the name ‘Gobabeb’[456].


The Namib Desert Research Station with links to the Transvaal Museum is established at Gobabeb[457].


Dispute follows the Odendaal Plan which suggests moving the ǂAonin from their traditional lands and !nara fields to the proposed Namaland (Gibeon) or Damaraland communal areas. Resistance leads to the shelving of these plans on the following grounds: the ǂAonin have been present in the vicinity of the !Kuiseb for at least several centuries; their culture and livelihoods are intimately linked with the !nara and marine resources of the coast; and legal treaties entitling the ǂAonin to the continued use of the resources exist dating to annexation by the British in 1884[458].


Walter Moritz works as a missionary in Walvisbaai and Swakopmund and ‘a lot of information from the Topnaar on Kuiseb’, while building a church with them in Rooibank / Scheppmannsdorf[459]. One of his informants is ‘the old evangelist Jakobus Stevenson (Argyll)’[460] [see 1890s]. In 1970 one of the main processors of !nara was a Damara man called Ruben Xoagub who Moritz meets in February in Walfischbucht where ‘he had just delivered over a ton of Nara kernels and wanted to go back to the Narafeld for about a month before he would again deliver Nara kernels to Walvis Bay’[461].


In a Scientific Paper of the Namib Desert Research Station of this year describing ‘the way of life of the people as we found them in [March] 1966’ and presenting ‘the results of a genetical study carried out on a large proportion of them’, Jenkins and Brain write of how the Namib Desert Research Station is,

built on the site of a deserted Hottentot village, one of several, scattered along the length of the lower Kuiseb valley as it makes its way across the arid Namib plain. Of the 18 villages, known to have existed in recent years, only 8 are currently occupied and it is clear that the way of life of the inhabitants of this part of South West Africa is undergoing rapid change. With the growth and industrialisation of ports such as Walvis Bay, it is inevitable that a movement of people away from the rural villages...[462]

‘Map of the Khuiseb Valley area showing the positions of the occupied and deserted villages’. Source: scan from Jenkins and Brain 1967, p. 3.

Jenkins and Brain draw on Vedder’s 1938 South West Africa in Early Times to assert the following ‘history of human settlement in the Kuiseb valley’:

Vedder (1938) relates how the recent settlement of the Kuiseb Valley probably began. After Tjanuaha, Maharero’s father, led his Herero people in the early 1800’s south from the Kaokoveld along the coast [??**check, cf. Bollig 2020], they tried to establish themselves and their small herds at the mouth of the Swakop River. However, due to persecution by the Bergdamaras [??] and the uncertainty of the water supply in years of drought, they explored the lower reaches of the Kuiseb. A Bergdamara servant of the Nama (or Namaqua) Hottentots, who were living near the present day Walvis Bay, found the lost Hereros wandering about in the plains and she took them to Awa-haos, which means ‘Ridge of Red Rock’, and which afterwards became Schleppmansdorp [sic: Scheppmansdorf] and Ururas, the former name being changed more recently to Rooibank… . The Hereros gave the place a different name, Otjombinda, which means ‘ant-bear houses’, because of the large numbers of ant-bears (ombinda) which lived there. Oral tradition claims that in those days, there were no sand dunes between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund and that the Kuiseb mouth was entirely free from dunes and grass grew on its broad plains. For some time the Herero and the Nama lived peaceably together but eventually, due to disagreements over pasturage of their cattle, Nama massacred many Herero and those who escaped settled on the lower parts of the Swakop River.[463] 

 In their survey of March 1966 ‘the total population of the lower Kuiseb was about 130’ with many of the ‘permanent inhabitants’, especially those between 20-40 years, being ‘away from their homes working, either in Walvis Bay or on road construction camps’[464]. They report that a herder may move if herds increase causing ‘disputes over pasturage’, documenting a move from Soutrivier upstream to Ossewater (present-day Homeb?) for this reason [= father/family of the late chief?][465]. Describing Soutrivier, inhabitants were acquiring water mostly through wells dug to around 10ft deep:

[the upper part of each is lined with tree trunks and the water is extracted in a bucket. suspended from the end of a long, counterbalanced

pole running over a fulcrum … . Living quarters consist of circular, bark-covered huts, situated higher up the river bank. Occasionally the

individual huts are connected together to form clusters … with interleading doors.

   Goats and lambs are kept in separate enclosures, made of dry tree trunks and branches embedded upright in the sand. A similar palisade had been constructed round a small tobacco garden on the river bank. In addition to the tobacco, this contained a small number of mealie plants, constituting the only attempt at agriculture to be found in any of villages when the study was made.

   Hut construction provides some idea of the influence of modern civilisation on the people. In [8] the upstream villages the traditional materials are still being used, while nearer Walvis Bay at Rooi­bank and Ururas, these are being abandoned in favour of corrugated iron and sacking ...

   The traditional Hottentot huts were made by sticking supple lengths of wood into the ground forming a circle, the tops being bent over and tied together to make a bee-hive shape. Over this frame­ were secured reed mats. The spaces between the reeds permitted the cool breezes to enter in the summer; with rain, the reeds became swollen, closing the gaps and keeping the water out. This type of dwelling was easily dismantled, the sticks tied together, the mats rolled up and the lot carried a new site by pack oxen. In this way the Hottentots were able, with a minimum of inconven­ience, to move their homes as they went in search of new pasture grounds for their cattle.

   … At present the hut frameworks on the Kuiseb River are normally covered with long pieces of bark from the Ana trees (Acacia [Faidherbia] albida) which grow in the river bed ...[466]



“The Kuiseb river-bed at Soutrivier…” showing inhabitants at a well with large Ana trees (Faidherbia albida). Source: scan from Jenkins and Brain 1967: 4.

"A general view of part of the Natab village. The Kuiseb River course is also visible, supporting the only vegetation to be found in this part of the arid Namib plain": source: scan from Jenkins and Brain 1967: 7, fig. 5. 


On an expedition to the Kuiseb in 1968 Moritz finds ‘several old Damara dwellings’[467].


The foundation stone of a new church at Rooibank was laid on 7.12.69, the church being called the Scheppmann church to commemorate the first missionary and founder of the station, the new church on Rooibank[468].


Walter Moritz, pastor in Walvis Bay area, builds a new memorial stone for Heinrich Sheppmann (1818-1847) among the palm trees at Rooibank, unveiled on 5 December 1971, the inscription in Afrikaans on a black granite slab reading: “Scheppmannsdorp-Tergedagtenis aan die Rynse Sendeling Heinrich Scheppmann [Scheppmannsdorp Memorial to the Rhenish Missionary Heinrich Scheppmann], *1818 +1847, who created a church here in 1845”[469].


**image Scheppmans memorial**


‘Ethno-historical’ field research by Budack observes ǂAonin to be differentiated into two ‘sections’: the !Khuisenin, i.e. !Khuiseb people, living upriver with livestock and coming to the coast seasonally to harvest !nara, and the Hurínin, i.e. sea people, living near the coast without livestock, the name !Naranin referring to a reliance on !nara and having derogatory connotations by referring to the poverty indicated by dependence on this food rather than on livestock.[470] 


The Ethnobotany of the Topnaar is published[471]. Its front cover shows ‘Bethuel Xoagub showing the special relationship Topnaar people have with the !nara melon’[472], although it is interesting to observe that ‘Xoagub’ is in fact a Dama / ǂNūkhoen name (as noted by Walter Moritz, see 1965-1972 above).

Following independence, the MET begins to address some of the problems existing in terms of the relationship between park rules and management and the ǂAonin people along the !Khuiseb, associated with exclusion from any decisions relating to park management, marginalisation in terms of development investment, and being repeatedly encouraged to leave the !Khuiseb. The aim was to promote a Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) approach in the lower !Khuiseb. The first stage of this process was the implementation of a ‘socio-ecological survey’ conducted in 1992, with the aim of producing ‘management proposals ... which integrates the needs and aspirations of the Topnaar people with the needs and objectives of conservation within the Namib-Naukluft Park’. Requests made by the ǂAonin during this survey included: the removal of at least some problem animals (jackal and hyaena); the distribution of benefits from conserving wildlife to local people through receiving meat from culled wildlife and a percentage of Park visitor’s fees, and through the involvement of ǂAonin people as tourism guides; and the recognition of land rights allowing development within the ǂAonin settlements in the Park, and preventing detrimental effects from external sources on the !nara fields.[473] 


Current Topnaar headman (the late Gaob Kooitjie) is quoted as saying that although the Nama are known for !nara harvesting ‘the Topnaar or hurinin, the “people of the sea”, were originally not !nara harvesters’ and ‘![n]ara harvesting was never a major social economic activity until the fishing rights were taken away from the Topnaar by the settlers’[474].


The importance of high density areas of !nara plants for ‘Topnaar livelihoods’ continues to be recognised, for example, through designation of such sites as ‘red flag areas of high biodiversity’ in the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) conducted a few years ago for managing the so-called ‘uranium rush’ in the Central Namib[475].

[1] Identifying terms such as ‘Hottentots’ and ‘Kaffirs’ carry derogatory associations. Because this timeline is intended to reflect historical accounts, and after some reflection, such terms included here only when written as such in quoted historical texts and where their use in such texts conveys information relevant for present understanding, i.e. by clarifying or inferring the past presence of specific groups of people.

[2] Vedder 2016[1938), p. 9.

[3] Vigne 1994, p. 4.

[4] Vedder 2016(1938), pp. 9-10.

[5] Vigne 1994, p. 4.

[6] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 15; also reviewed in du Pisani 1986, p. 13; Moritz 1992, p. 5.

[7] Vigne 1994, p. 4. Nb. Given later observations by Alexander (1837) and Galton (1850) of Namaqua / ‘Hottentot’ / ‘Red Nation’ peoples in northern areas beyond Herero occupation in these decades of ‘Damaraland’, and the way in which this occupation split ‘Red Nation’ Namaqua to leave some ‘Red Nation’ peoples cut off in the north from those in the south, perhaps this framing of ‘Negro’ and ‘Hottentot’ extent in the late 1600s should be given more consideration as having some possible credibility.

[8] Vigne 1994, p. 4.

[9] i.e. Angra Pequeña, where the captain and crew of the Grundel, sent on an exploratory journey northwards in 1670 by the Dutch East India Company ‘to make a careful survey of all landing places along the coast … to ascertain how far the settlements of the Hottentots extended to the north and where the country of the Kaffirs commenced … [and] to look out for where vegetables and firewood could be got’ (Vedder 2016[1938], p. 9), end up in a violent skirmish with the bay’s Namaqua / ‘Hottentot’ inhabitants (Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 15).

[10] Bode ship’s log quoted in Vedder 2016[1938], pp. 12-14. This encounter is later summarised thus: ‘where the captain and crew were involved in an unpleasant skirmish with local Nama’ (du Pisani 1986, p. 13); and as with the Grundel, ‘[w]hile remaining prudently armed, the sailors tried to make clear their friendly intentions and their desire to trade iron bangles and beads for cattle. The nomads reacted with fear and suspicion, and skirmishes broke out. The reports discouraged further exploration or attempts to trade’ (Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 15). Also reported in Budack 1983, p. 3.

[11] Vigne 1994, p. 4.

[12] Khaxas seems to be the same person as Miriam - the ‘most influential woman here’ and ‘the oldest descendant of the old chief’s family and practically has the chief say in all tribal matters’ – ‘[f]or years she has not been down to the Bay and she will have nothing to do with the missionaries’ (Hoernlé 1913/Carstens et al. 1987, p. 72). The ‘old chief’ in this quote was Piet ǁEibeb or ǁHaibib ‘who died some eight years before Mrs Hoernlé’s visit (Carstens et al. 1987, f7, p. 154, after Hoernlé 1918, p. 66).

[13] Hoernlé 1985[1925], p. 47.

[14] Moritz 1992, p. 17.

[15] Hoernlé 1985[1925], pp. 47-48.

[16] Hoernlé 1985[1925], p. 42; also reviewed in Köhler 1969, p. 99; Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 3.

[17] In old reports, called Kuisip or Kuisip, cf. Alexander 1838 vol. 2, p. 21 – ‘Kuisip (or Root) river’.

[18] After Vedder 1928, p. 83.

[19] Köhler 1969, p. 107.

[20] Ito 2005, p. 69, referencing Van Eynden et al. 1992, p. 4 who mention this early migration but not its 14th century occurrence.

[21] Moritz 2015, p. 4, after Moritz 1980, pp. 37-41.

[22] Galton 1852, p. 144.

[23] Dentlinger 1977, p. 7 after Hoernlé 1925, p. 5.

[24] Galton 1852, pp. 156-158.

[25] Mossop 1935, pp. 3-4.

[26] Wikar in Mossop 1935, pp. 29, 75-81.

[27] For example of a mountain or tower – Haacke and Eiseb 1999, p. 263.

[28] Confirmed in 1838 by James Edward Alexander who encounters villages of ‘Hill Dama’ in the vicinity of the ‘Tans Mountain’ – the present-day Gamsberg – as well as on a plain south of the !Khuiseb and at Niais (Krumnek?) near present-day Rehoboth –  Alexander 2006[1838], vol. 2: 110, 121-122, 138.

[29] Hendrik Jacob Wikar in Mossop 1935, pp. 3, 13, 79; also see Penn 1995.

[30] Jill Kinahan 1990, p. 24.

[31] Thompson narrative in Jill Kinahan 1990, p. 39.

[32] John Kinahan 2001[1991], pp. 99-100.

[33] Popham narrative in Jill Kinahan 1990, p. 57.

[34] Thompson narrative in Jill Kinahan 1990, p. 39.

[35] Considered by Prof. W. Haacke and Pastor E. Eiseb in African Languages Dept., UNAM, to be borosa, i.e. ‘anointed’, from the verb boro “to anoint” – Jill Kinahan 1990, f37, p. 49..  

[36] Vigne 1994, p. 4.

[37] John Kinahan (1989, p. 44 in Jill Kinahan 1990 f44, p. 50) suggests that the ratio was because given the restricted availability of waterholes in the !Khuiseb Delta this village was ‘the central pastoral encampment’ in the dry season [so = more male herders at the camp at this time?], plus ‘the inhabitants of Walvis Bay were familiar enough with sea-farers to employ caution, and keep their women and cattle out of harm’s way’.

[38] Jill Kinahan 1990, f40 p. 50 records here that an annotation on an unillustrated copy of the narrative reads “I observed each of the Women had one joint of the little finger cut off”.

[39] Cf. 12 October 2020.

[40] Thompson narrative in Jill Kinahan 1990, pp. 42-44.

[41] John Kinahan 2001[1991], caption to Plate 3 – also used as front-cover of 1st edition of Pastoral Nomads … (1991).  

[42] It is not clear where the name ‘Topnaar’ here comes from. Thompson and Popham do not use this term in their text (they use ‘Caffarian Hottentots’). ‘Topnaar’ here seems to be a post-hoc identification, rather than an ethnonym or exonym from 1786.

[43] Cf. gemsbok horns, later observed in Walvis Bay by, for example, Captain Cécille of the French survey ship L’Heroine in 1836, missionary Tindall in 1845, Andersson in 1850 …

[44] The livestock would have been kept at outlying stockposts, Jill Kinahan 1990, f44 p. 50 after John Kinahan 1989, p. 154.

[45] Thompson narrative in Jill Kinahan 1990, pp. 42-44.

[46] Jill Kinahan (1990, f50 p. 51) writes that calabashes are exotic to Namibia and that it reached Africa from America prior to the latter end of the 18th century.

[47] Popham repeats that ‘[i]n the Evening he [Thompson] returned being only able to procure a calf, and no hopes of getting any Fresh Water, -the next party that went purchased a heifer, which with much difficulty they got to the Boat’ – Popham narrative in Jill Kinahan 1990, p. 58.

[48] Thompson narrative in Jill Kinahan 1990, pp. 42-44.

[49] Popham narrative in Jill Kinahan 1990, p. 58 – although they are able to stock up with wood, they are unable to find any sources of freshwater.

[50] As Popham writes, ‘I saw but one Whale in this Bay but our Seine was sufficiently fortunate for the Supply of the Ship's Company’ – Popham narrative in Jill Kinahan 1990, p. 58.

[51] Thompson narrative in Jill Kinahan 1990, p. 44.

[52] As also later observed and described by Alexander in the 1830s, and observed in dance events as worn today in Sesfontein from 1990s onwards.

[53] Also observed and described by Wikar**.

[54] John Kinahan 2001[1991], pp. 99-100.

[55] Jill Kinahan 2000, pp. 15, 16.

[56] Jill Kinahan 1990, p. 25; also John Kinahan 2001[1991], p. 117.

[57] Wallace 2011, p. 56, cf. Jill Kinahan 1990, p. 25.

[58] Jill Kinahan 1990, p. 24.

[59] John Kinahan 2001[1991], pp. 99-100.

[60] Budack 1977 in John Kinahan 2001[1991], p. 100.

[61] P. Eiseb pers. comm. in John Kinahan 2001[1991], p. 100.

[62] Of the five excavated four were female aged between 40-50 and one was male of around 36 years, and bone collagen diet analysis indicates an emphasis on animals which feed on browsing and, with !nara, is interpreted to suggest mixed cattle and sheep (Kinahan 2001[1991], pp. 113-114).

[63] Kinahan 2001[1991], pp. 100, 103, 104.

[64] Kinahan 2001[1991], pp. 107, 110, 113, 114, 120.

[65] Kinahan 2001[1991], pp. 110, 112.

[66] Kinahan 2001[1991], p. 110, cf. Budack 1977.

[67] Kinahan 2001[1991], p. 112.

[68] Jill Kinahan 2017, pp. 300-302 drawing on Jill Kinahan 1990, pp. 40, 44, 2000 pp. 33-35; John Kinahan 2001[1991], pp. 100-115, 1996; John Kinahan et al. 1991

[69] Vigne 1994, p. 4.

[70] Vigne 1994, p. 4.

[71] Vigne 1994, p. 5.

[72] Vigne 1994, p. 5.

[73] Vigne 1994, p. 5 after Franken 1938, pp. 218-318.

[74] du Pisani 1986, p. 13. Presumably the same Petrus Pienaar who employs Klaas Afrikaner (father of Jager Afrikaner and grandfather of Jonker Afrikaner - see below) and commando in early 1790s in Orange River District]

[75] du Pisani 1986, p. 13.

[76] Green 1953, p. 203.

[77] Vedder 2016(1938), p. 37; also in Green 1953, p. 203, presumably following Vedder.

[78] Rudner and Rudner 1968, p. 467, drawing on Vedder 1938.

[79] du Pisani 1986, p. 13; Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 15; also Heawood 1912**.

[80] Heawood 1912 **

[81] du Pisani 1986, p. 13; Vedder 2016(1938), p. 16.

[82] Jill Kinahan 1989, p. 38.

[83] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 15.

[84] Mossop 1935, p. 11.

[85] Vedder 2016[1938], pp. 37-38.

[86] Although John Kinahan (1980, p. 18) reports that Vedder (2016[1938], p. 37) believed them to be Herero**.

[87] Mossop 1935, p. 11.

[88] Wadley 1979, p. 9.

[89] Vedder 2016[1938], p. 38; also du Pisani 1986, p. 13; Lemmer 1957, p. 15; Franken 1938, p. 284 and 292-294 as well as pp. 315-317 in Dierks Nam Roads online; Wadley 1979, p. 12.

[90] Mossop 1935, p. 11.

[91] Vedder 2016(1938), p. 17.

[92] Vedder 2016)1938), p. 17.

[93] Köhler 1969, p. 106.

[94] Moritz 1992, p. 5.

[95] Gardner 1803 quoted in Jill Kinahan 1990, p. 50 – spelling and emphases as per original.

[96] Bollig 1997, p. 13.

[97] Bollig 1997, p. 13.

[98] Bollig 1997, pp. 13-14.

[99] Bollig 1997, p. 14.

[100] Bollig 1997, p. 14.

[101] Bollig 1997, p. 15.

[102] Laurie and Whittle 1807, 151 in Jill Kinahan 1988, p. 7.

[103] See Vedder, H. (translation): 2.Teil: Namaland gegen Hereroland: Kapitel 1: Aufmarsch and Kampf: 1800 - 1840, p. 209-210 in Dierks Nam Roads online**.

[104] Moritz 1997, p. 3.

[105] |Kaxab in Moritz 1992, p. 5.

[106] Köhler 1969, p. 106.

[107] Vigne 1994, p. 6.

[108] Lemmer pp. 16, 19; Wallace 2011, p. 52;

[109] Lau / Andersson 1987, p. 94; Bell 1977, p. 11. Nb. Bell’s account is reporting James Bassingthwaighte’s understanding apparently gained directly from Jacob Afrikaner.

[110] Moritz 1997, p. 3.

[111] Ridsdale 1883, p. 111; Wallace 2011, p. 54, after Dedering 1997, pp. 9, 18.

[112] In Vigne 1994, pp. 1, 5.

[113] Köhler 1969, p. 106 after Vedder 1928, p. 115.

[114] Morrell 2014[1832]: p. 303-206.

[115] Morrell 2014(1832), p. 316.

[116] Morrell 2014(1832), p. 316, emphasis added.

[117] Morrell 2014[1832], pp. 318-319.

[118] Lau 1985, p. 1243 quoted in Vigne 1994, p. 9.

[119] Vigne 1994, p. 5 after Möritz 1915-18, p. 72 quoted in Sydow 1973, p. 74.

[120] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 17.

[121] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 17.

[122] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 17.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[142] Vigne 1994, p. 5.

[143] Alexander vol. 2., pp. 71-79.

[144] Alexander vol. 2., p. 79.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[161] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 17.

[162] 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’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[171] Vigne 1994, p. 6.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[181] Jill Kinahan 2000: 18 and references therein. **check Dentlinger 1977: 6-7, 18 after pers. comm. from Beatrice Sandelowsky.

[182] Moritz 1992, p. 5; Köhler 1969, p. 106.

[183] Bell 1977, p. 63. Nb. Bell (1977) is a personal memoir and should be read with this in mind.

[184] Bell 1977, dust jacket and pp. 1, 8, 20.

[185] Bell 1977, p. 2.

[186] Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 303 after Vedder 1966[2016], p. 230.

[187] Wallace 2011, p. 64.

[188] Bell 1977, p. 9.

[189] Bell 1977, p. 2.

[190] Bell 1977, p. 3.

[191] Bell 1977, p. 5.

[192] Bell 1977, pp. 5-6.

[193] Bell 1977, p. 8.

[194] Bell 1977, pp. 11-12.

[195] Bell 1977, p. 26.

[196] Bell 1977, p. 29.

[197] Bell 1977, pp. 9-10, 27.

[198] Bell 1977, pp. 32-33.

[199] Bell 1977, p. 45.

[200] Bell 1977, p. 10.

[201] Bell 1977, p. 25.

[202] Bell 1977, pp. 20-22.

[203] Bell 1977, pp. 21, 39-40.

[204] Bell 1977, p. 33.

[205] Bell 1977, pp. 21, 33-34.

[206] Bell 1977, pp. 47-50.

[207] Bell 1977, p. 68.

[208] Bell 1977, p. 39.

[209] Bell 1977, p. 51.

[210] Jill Kinahan and John Kinahan 2009, p. 45.

[211] Watson 1930, p. 633.

[212] Snyders 2016, p. 9.

[213] Bell 1977**; Jill Kinahan 2000: 18.

[214] Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 303.

[215] Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 305.

[216] Moritz 1997, p. 4.

[217] Moritz 1997, p. 4.

[218] Moritz 1997, p. 4.

[219] Moritz 1997, p. 4.

[220] Moritz 1997, p. 4.

[221] Köhler 1969, p. 108.

[222] Jill Kinahan 2000, pp. 18, 3 citing Tindall 1959, p. 71 and Scheppmann in Moritz 1916, p. 238; also summarised in Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 303. Nb. The use of the ethnonym ‘ǂAoni’ here is perhaps a post-hoc identification rather than deriving from historical texts of the time?

[223] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 3 citing Dentlinger 1983, p. 18.

[224] Moritz 1992, p. 8.

[225] Moritz 1992, p. 7 quoting Rautenberg 1967 p. 31 f..

[226] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 18, and references therein.

[227] Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 303 after Vigne 1994, p. 7 – again, it’s not clear exactly where the term ‘Topnaar’ used in these texts comes from.    

[228] Moritz 1997, p. 5.

[229] Köhler 1969, p. 108.

[230] Köhler 1969, p. 108.

[231] Moritz 1997, pp. 6-7.

[232] In Moritz 1992, p. 33.

[233] Moritz 1997, p. 3.

[234] Jill Kinahan 2000, pp. 3, 18, and references therein; Wallace 2011, p. 60; Blomstrand 2008, p. 11; du Pisani 1986, p. 15; also Haythornthwaite 1956, p. 58.

[235] Quoted in Budack 1983, p. 3 after Moritz 1916, p. 238.

[236] Quoted in Moritz 1992, p. 8.

[237] In Vigne 1994, pp. 1-2.

[238] In Vigne 1994, p. 2.

[239] Tindall, 1959, pp 71-72 quoted in Vigne 1994, pp. 2-3.

[240] Köhler 1969, p. 107.

[241] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 3.

[242] Köhler 1969[1957]: 102.

[243] Köhler 1969, p. 108.

[244] Quoted in Lau 1979, p. 28; cf. As later observed by Hoernlé **.

[245] Quoted in Moritz 1916, pp. 241, 243 in Budack 1983, p. 6.

[246] Moritz 1997, pp. 7, 9.

[247] Köhler 1969, p. 111.

[248] Moritz 1997, p. 10.

[249] Moritz 1997, p. 10.

[250] Mossolow, 1970, p. 40, in Moritz 1992, p. 33.

[251] Moritz 1997, p. 10.

[252] Moritz 1997, p. 11.

[253] Moritz 1997, p. 11.

[254] Moritz 1997, p. 11.

[255] Moritz 1997, p. 11.

[256] Moritz 1997, p. 11.

[257] Moritz 1997, p. 10. 

[258] Moritz 1997, p. 10.

[259] Galton 1890[1853], p. 5; Gillham 2001, pp. 63-64.

[260] ‘[S]ome enterprising individuals from Cape Town had established a facility for salting and curing beef, and they furnished cattle to guano traders and to Cape Town and contracted with the British Government to supply the island of St. Helena with livestock’ (Gillham 2001, p. 67).

[261] Galton 1890[1853], p. 5, emphasis in original.

[262] Galton 1890[1853], pp. 5-6.

[263] Dentlinger 1977, p. 7 after Hoernlé 1925, p. 5.

[264] Galton 1852, p. 157.

[265] Andersson 1856, p. 14 quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 112.

[266] Galton 1890[1853], pp. 6-7.

[267] Galton 1890[1853], pp. 6-8, emphasis in original.

[268] Galton 1890[1853], p. 7. Gillham writes that Galton is given by Smith an ‘enormous parchment passport inscribed in large letters in English, Dutch, and Portuguese’ its dangling, encase seal designed to ‘impress the natives’ (Gillham 2001, pp. 62, 65).

[269] Galton 1890[1853], p. 7; Gillham 2001, p. 66

[270] Galton 1890[1853], pp. 7-8; Gillham 2001, p. 66

[271] Galton 1890[1853], pp. 9-10.

[272] On landing Galton was ‘greeted by seven natives drawn up in a line, three of whom brandished guns’; [68] they spoke a click language and were used to trading livestock with sailors. (Gillham 2001, pp. 67-68). Gillham (2001, p. 67) states that Galton observes ‘local natives’ spearing fish caught in the shallow lagoon east of Pelican Point ‘on the tips of gemsbok horns affixed to slender sticks’ [**I cannot find Galton saying he sees this – perhaps this is from Andersson?].

[273] Galton 1890[1851], p. 10, emphasis added.

[274] Andersson 1856: 18 quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 113 – as Köhler notes, Alexander’s observations of interactions between male traders and local women in 1837 might shed some light on the bearings of people recorded here.

[275] This sentence also quoted in Vigne 1994, p. 7.

[276] Galton 1890[1853], pp. 10-11, 14.

[277] Andersson 1856, pp. 21-23 quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 110.

[278] Andersson 1856, pp. 21-23 quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 110.

[279] Andersson 1856, p. 14 quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 112. Also in Gillham 2001, p.67.

[280] Gillham 2001, p.67.

[281] Andersson 1856, p. 15 quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 112.

[282] Andersson 1856: 18 quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 113 – as Köhler notes, Alexander’s observations of interactions between male traders and local women in 1837 might shed some light on the bearings of people recorded here. Galton (1890[1853], p. 10) also observes that the people of Walvis Bay had been ‘savagely used’.

[283] Galton 1890[1853], p. 11.

[284] Andersson 1856, p. 18 quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 110.

[285] Galton 1890[1853], pp. 11-13.

[286] Andersson 1856, pp. 21-23 quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 110.

[287] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 18 after Andersson 1967[1861], p. 23.

[288] Galton 1890[1853], pp. 14-16.

[289] Galton 1890[1853], p. 16.

[290] Galton 1890[1853], pp. 16-17.

[291] Galton 1890[1853], pp. 17, 20-21.

[292] Galton 1890[1853], p. 21.

[293] Galton 1890[1853], p. 17.

[294] Galton 1890[1853], pp. 17-18.

[295] Galton 1890[1853], p. 18.

[296] Galton 1890[1853], p. 21.

[297] Galton 1890[1853], p. 18.

[298] Galton 1890[1853], p. 21.

[299]  Gillham 2001: 67-69, 72; Blomstrand 2008: 9.

[300]  Blomstrand 2008: 9

[301] Galton 1890[1853], p. 21.

[302] Andersson 1856, p. 15 quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 112.

[303] Galton 1890[1853], pp. 22-23.

[304] Galton 1890[1853], pp. 23-24.

[305] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 18 after Andersson 1967[1861], p. 23.

[306] Galton 1890[1850], p. 26.

[307] Vigne 1994, p. 7 after also Lau 1987, p. 55.

[308] Köhler 1969[1957], p. 103. Again, not sure where the term ‘Topnaar’ comes from’

[309] Jill Kinahan and John Kinahan 2009, p. 49 – the company becomes De Pass, Spence & Co., then Daniel De Pass & Co., after Spence becomes insolvent.

[310] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 18.

[311] Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 306.

[312] Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 18.

[313] Köhler 1969, p. 110.

[314] Köhler 1969, p. 102.

[315] Moritz 1997, p. 11.

[316] Dedering 1997, p. 37; Lau 1987, p. 105 – although Vigne 1994, p. 6 after Möritz 1980, p. 38 says that it is 1858 that Hahn is recorded using the term ǂAonin.

[317] Hoernlé 1985[1925], p. 43.

[318] Köhler 1969, p. 101.

[319] Kronlein 1889,  p. 121.

[320] In Vigne 1994, p. 6 after Hahn vol. 3 1984, p. 652.

[321] Köhler 1969, pp. 110-111.

[322] Moritz 1997, p. 11.

[323] Chapman 1971[1855] vol. 1, p. 175. The missionary here at the time is Mr Bam and his family.

[324] Chapman 1971, vol. 1, p. 175.

[325] RMS missionary Scheppman[?or Bam] quoted in Budack 1983, p. 6.

[326] Vigne 1994, p. 6 quoting Andersson 1856, pp. 325-326.

[327] Hahn Quellen Bd. 25b: 180 quoted in Lau 1979, p 25.  

[328] Vigne 1994, p. 6 and references therein.

[329] Köhler 1969, p. 107.

[330] Köhler 1969, p. 107.

[331] Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 306, drawing on Jill Kinahan 1991, pp. 7-9.

[332] Palgrave 1876, nb. Swartbooisberg on north bank of the Orange near present-day Vaalhoek (Mossop 1935: 130).

[333] Wallace 2011, p. 61-62.

[334] Lau / Andersson 1987, p. 104; Wallace 2011, p. 61.

[335] Wallace 2011, p. 61.

[336] Palgrave 1876; Wallace 2011.

[337] Lemmer 1957 p. 29; Palgrave 1876; Rizzo 2012 and references therein. Krenz (1972, p. 5) in Inskeep (2003, p. **) says that ‘when the SWARTBOOI-Naman trekked into the Kaoko-veld round about the middle of the previous century, and captured Otjitambi from the Herero, they took with them from the Erongo (Ameib) some clans of the !OE ǂAN, whose descendants call themselves U-SAU-BETA (we followers = those who were led away’ (Krenz 1972:5)]. Nathan ǂÛina Taurob related to me in 1996 that his grand-father was originally !Oe-ǂan, so perhaps was part of this migration.

[338] accessed 22 February 2018.

[339] Lemmer 1957, p. 29.

[340] In Lau 1979, p. 35.

[341] Köhler 1969, p. 111 after Van Warmelo 1962[1951]: 151.

[342] Wallace 2011, p. 68; Lemmer op. cit. p.27, writes ‘South of Rehoboth they encountered the Nama chiefs advancing northwards and after a decisive battle the Nama were defeated, the Herero acquiring 3,000 head of cattle that were driven north to Otjimbingwe.’

[343] Emma and Suro Ganuses, !Nao-dâis, 141115.

[344] Boois 2017, p. **

[345] Jill Kinahan 2017, Fig. 5 p. 305 - Courtesy of Museum Africa. MA 6336.

[346] Köhler 1969, p. 111.

[347] Köhler 1969, p. 101 in Dentlinger 1977, p. 6; Rizzo 2012, pp. 45-46.

[348] Hoernlé 1985[1925], p. 47.

[349] Vigne 1994, p. 9 quoting Lau 1985, p. 1243.

[350] Köhler 1969, p. 113; also referenced in Sandelowsky 1977, p. 237.

[351] Dentlinger 1977, p. 38 after Palgrave 1876, pp. 6, 94.

[352] Dentlinger 1977, p. 38 after Palgrave 1877, pp. 6, 94.

[353] Palgrave 1877, p. 94.

[354] Vigne 1994, p. 8.

[355] Vigne 1994, p. 2.

[356] Köhler 1969, p. 113, who says the British take ownership on 6th March.

[357] Lemmer op. cit. p.36; du Pisani 1986, p. 16; Kinahan 2001[1991], p. 117; Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 19; Olusoga and Erichsen, 2010, p. 44; Wallace 2011, p. 57.

[358] Silvester and Gewald 2004, p. xxv.

[359] John Kinahan 2001[1991], pp. 117-118.

[360] Vigne 1994, p. 8.

[361] Quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 1115.

[362] Vigne 1994, p. 6.

[363] Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 297.

[364] Gruntkowski and Henschel 2004, pp. 43, 46.

[365] Köhler 1969, p. 105.

[366] Budack, 1977, p. 11-12.

[367] Perthes 1878, p. 309-310 - thank you to Dr Ute Dieckmann for drawing my attention to this observation and reference.

[368] Originalkarte des Herero & Kaoko-Landes, by A. Petermann, drawing journeys and observations by Rhenish missionaries, especially J. Böhm and F. Bernsmann, published in Perthes 1878, p. Tafel 18. Source:, 10 November 2020.

[369] Vigne 1994, p. 3.

[370] From Wilken and Fox 1978, p. 156 quoted in Jill Kinahan 2017, pp. 305-306.

[371] Rudner and Rudner 1974[1899], f55, p. 180.

[372] Bridgeford and Bridgeford 2002, pp. 12-13.

[373] Bridgeford and Bridgeford 2002, p. 13.

[374] Köhler 1969, p. 111.

[375] Köhler 1969, p. 114.

[376] In Vigne 1994, p. 9.

[377] Moritz 1992, p. 29.

[378] Koch 1883, pp. 51-52 in Budack 1983, pp. 4, 5.

[379] Vigne 1994, p. 2.

[380] Vigne 1994, p. 9.

[381] Gruntkowski and Henschel 2004: 42 and references therein; Esterhuyse 1968, p. 76; Jill Kinahan 2000, pp. 19-20.

[382] Palgrave 1884, p. 41 quoted in Vigne 1994, p. 7.

[383] Vigne 1994, p. 7.

[384] Vigne 1994, p. 8.

[385] Gruntkowski and Henschel 2004, p. 42 and references therein; Esterhuyse 1968; Botelle and Kowalski, 1997, p. 18 and references therein.

[386] Quoted from Quellen, 1.10.1884 in Vigne 1994, p. 9; also in John Kinahan 2001[1991], p. 118.

[387] Botelle and Kowalski 1995, p. 11.

[388] Botelle and Kowalski 1997, p. 18 and references therein.

[389] Proceedings 1885, q. 1158 in John Kinahan 2001[1991], p. 118.

[390] John Kinahan 2001[1991], p. 118.

[391] Köhler 1969, p. 115.

[392] Vigne 1994, p. 1. **also check Esterhuyse on this. The 1890s Topnaar foreman Jacobus Arkel Stevenson reports to E. Möritz ‘an account of the origin of the Sesfontein Topnaars in which folk-memory had conflated and confused several stories’ – Vigne 1994, p. 6 after Möritz 1980[?], p. 39.

[393] Vigne 1994, p. 7.

[394] Vigne 1994, p. 7.

[395] Vigne 1994, p. 8.

[396] Vigne 1994, pp. 7-8.

[397] Vigne 1994, p. 8.

[398] Vigne 1994, p. 8; Hoernlé 1925, p. 21.

[399] Vigne 1994, p. 8 quoting Dreschler 1980, p. 25.

[400] Köhler 1969, p. 113.

[401] Surveyor General for Walvis Bay, quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 114.

[402] Köhler 1969, p. 102.

[403] Rolland 1888, p. 26 quoted in Budack 1983, p. 5.

[404] Van den Eynden et al. 1992, p. 4, after Köhler 1969 and Chief Kooitjie, pers. com.

[405] Report by John Cleverly, British Magistrate of Walvis Bay to Under Colonial Secretary, Cape Town, quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 114.

[406] Viehe 1890 in Moritz 1992, pp. 9, 30.

[407] Palgrave memo of 1890 quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 114.

[408] Köhler 1969, p. 113.

[409] Memo of 20 April quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 114.

[410] Palgrave memo of 1891, quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 114.

[411] Dentlinger 1977, p. 16 after Köhler 1969, pp. 113-114.

[412] Palgrave memo of 1891, quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 113.

[413] Known as Oupa Arkyl after ‘his father, a Scotsman named Argyle’, Vigne 1994, p. 6.

[414] Köhler 1969, p. 107.

[415] Palgrave memo 1892 quoted in Köhler 1969, p. 114.

[416] In Köhler 1969, p. 114.

[417] Köhler 1969, p. 115.

[418] Rudner and Rudner [Möller] 1974[1899], p. 172.

[419] Von François 1896, p. 9 quoted in Budack 1983, p. 5.

[420] Dinter 1918, p. 84 in Moritz 1992, p. 12.

[421] Moritz 1992, p. 10.

[422] Schultze 1907, pp. 197-200 quoted in Moritz 1992, p. 10.

[423] D.S.W.A. Zeitung 13/9/1905 referred to in Budack 1983, pp. 3, 5.

[424] Budack 1977, p. 4; Van den Eynden et al. 1992, p. 5; Botelle and Kowalski 1995, pp. 2, 12-13, 18; GRN 2010; Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 298.

[425] Budack 1977, p. 4; Van den Eynden et al. 1992, p. 5; Botelle and Kowalski 1995, pp. 2, 12-13, 18.

[426] Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 307.

[427] Budack 1977, p. 4; Van den Eynden et al. 1992, p. 5; Botelle and Kowalski 1995, pp. 2, 12-13, 18.

[428] Köhler 1969, p. 111.

[429] Vigne 1994, p. 6.

[430] Grimme 1910, pp. 297-298 and 1911, p. 226, summarised and translated in Kranz 2016, p. 73.

[431] Lau and Reiner 1993 **in Craven and Sullivan 2002.

[432] Köhler 1969, p. 115 based on RMS Chronicle.

[433] letter Mr Köhler to Govt. 6/2/1911, quoted in Budack 1983, p. 6.

[434] Jill Kinahan 2000, pp. 19-20.

[435] Hoernlé 1913/Carstens at el. 1987, p. 72.

[436] Green 1953, p. 203.

[437] Van Warmelo 1962, pp. 4, 11, 37.

[438] Van den Eynden et al. 1992.

[439] Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 308.

[440] Carstens 1985, p. vii.

[441] Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 309 quoting Carstens et al. 1987, p. 179, citing Hoernlé 1923.  

[442] Köhler 1969[1957], p. 102.

[443] in Köhler 1969[1957], p. 102.

[444] Haythornthwaite 1956, p. 21, 75. Haythornthwaite (1956, p. 76)says that [a]s the water came down it was plain how the river gets its name, not as some think from ‘Swart kop’, black head, but it refers to the filth that comes down ahead of the first water, derived, I think, from a Herero word’, but in fact Tsoaxau is a Damara / ǂNūkhoen name.  


[446] Moritz 1992, p. 17.

[447] Haythornthwaite 1956, p. 61.

[448] Haythornthwaite 1956, p. 61; Jenkins and Brain 1967, p. 10; Budack 1977, p. 2.

[449] Köhler 1969, p. 116.

[450] Köhler 1969, p. 116.

[451] Köhler 1969, p. 115.

[452] Köhler 1969, p. 116.

[453] Köhler 1969, p. 117.

[454] Köhler 1969, p. 117.

[455] Köhler 1969, p. 118.

[456] Köhler 1969, p. 120.

[457] Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 309 after Henschel and Lancaster 2013.

[458] Odendaal Report**; Budack 1977, p. 4; Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 298.

[459] Moritz 1991, p. 3.

[460] Moritz 1992, p. 15.

[461] Moritz 1992,  p. 19.

[462] Jenkins and Brain 1967, p. 3.

[463] Jenkins and Brain 1967, p. 5.

[464] Jenkins and Brain 1967, p. 6.

[465] Jenkins and Brain 1967, p. 7.

[466] Jenkins and Brain 1967, pp. 7-8.

[467] Moritz 2015, p. 5, also Moritz 1997 p. 32 ff.

[468] Moritz 1997, p. 10.

[469] Moritz 1997, p. 10.

[470] Budack 1977, pp. 12-38; also Jill Kinahan 2000, p. 3.

[471] Van den Eynden et al. 1992.

[472] cf. Jill Kinahan 1992, p. 310.

[473] Jones 1992, pp. 1-5.

[474] In Mapaure 2008, pp. 170-171.

[475] SEIA 2010-11, pp. 7.80; also Risk-Based Solutions, Foresight Group Namibia (Pty) Ltd 2011, p. 167.