HOTTENTOTS

From Agepedia

Jump to: navigation , search

HOTTENTOTS. The natives of the southern part of Africa are reducible to two distinct families, the Hottentots, and the Betjuanas or Bushwanas (q. v.), to whom the Caffres (q. v.) are related. To the former, or Hottentot family, belongalso the Bosjesmans or Bushmen, the Koranas and the Namaquas. When the European colony was first established at the Cape, the inhabitants of the country between it and Orange river were Hottentots, divided into various tribes. Of a moderate height, lean, with high cheek bones, thick lips, small, halfclosed eyes, woolly hair, a mild expression, but indolent and unenterprising, they were despised and oppressed by the colonists. Their filth and indolence, and the harshness and poverty of their language, led the Europeans to consider them as little better than brutes, and by their treatment they almost reduced them to that condition. But a kinder treatment, introduced by the Moravian missionaries, has shown them to be capable of civilization, and not to be wanting in ingenuity and industry. The colonial Hottentots, who were at one time rapidly diminishing on account of the mode of life to which they were reduced, increased in number from 17,431 to 30,549 between 1807 and 1823. Their mutual affection, kindness, integrity, chastity and hospitality are commended by travellers who saw them while yet comparatively independent. A kros or karos (sheepskin) serves the Hottentot as a dress by day, a bed by night, and a winding sheet in the grave. A thick plaster of dirt and grease covers his head and body ; a blunt javelin (assagay) and a dart were formerly his only weapons. The Hottentots eai animal food voraciously, but are often reduced to great abstinence. Milk and water are their common beverage, and they smoke hemp when they cannot get tobacco Their villages, called kraals, are a circular cluster of beehiveshaped huts, which are covered with mats woven by the women ; an opening in front serves as a window, a door and chimney. The Bushmen (q. v.), or wild Hottentots, resemble the Hottentots, strictly so called, in their features and language. The Koranas lead an indolent, wandering life, on the Orange river and its vicinity. The Namaquas are a Hottentot tribe, inhabiting the country on each side of the Orange river, in the lower part of its course.