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The Khoi-Khoi & San Peoples

By Brian e Ebden

Khoi-Khoi Tribe, Horinghaicona, of Cape Town South Africa

Spring 2001

As scientific and genetic studies prove that the Khoi-San people where the first modern humans (as we know them) and by an large found in the Western Cape of South Africa (as a territory of origin), all else merely becomes a case of link-the-dots so to speak.

The rock paintings at Tassili n' Ajjer  in Algeria one cannot but confirm that these are Khoi-San by design and strikingly similar to the thousands of examples in the Southern African region. Investigations prove this Neolithic settlement dates back to 7,500 BC. In addition, the rock painting site at Tadrart Acacus in Libya dates back to 12000 BC, in particular the earlier painting series are also strikingly Khoi-San. Please bear in mind that there were many series over the millennia, but the earliest ones are clearly similar to that of Khoi-San peoples expressions and design.

Furthermore, evidence can be found of modern day Khoi-San peoples, in terms of physical attributes unique to Khoi-San peoples vis-a-vis brown skin, slightly to sharply slanted (Asian) eyes, small and tall and specific hair types. A typical example would be someone like Gabriel Hailiselassie the Ethiopian middle distance runner, the TaHiti and TaVeta tribes (meaning from the south) of pure Khoi-San people living in South West Kenya (they have been living there for hundreds of years); Khoi-Khoi people in Botswana; Namibia and Zambia. The remnants of our people are found all over Africa.

People migrated from north of the Limpopo and Rift valley regions into Southern Africa via Zimbabwe and Botswana being namely Shona and Tswana/Sotho speaking people about 1800 years ago. There could have been a migration from as far as Uganda as I have identified a number of customs and traditions which are very similar to Nguni and Sotho people one in particular being Umqomboti (pronounce Um [k] "hard click with tongue from the pallet" - omboti.) a sorghum based beer and other things.

The interaction was amicable between the Khoi-San and northern settlers in fact many elements of Limpopo settlers where fundamentally altered, those in particular being linguistic in nature. The Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele, Swazi, Shangaan (or Tsonga) all have been heavily influenced for Khoi-San linguistics where all these groups have clicks in their language even though their physical attributes are exactly the same as the non-clicking people of the Sotho, Pedi, Tswana and Venda groups.

Furthermore, marriages between the royal houses of Khoi-Khoi and tribes like the Xhosa were commonplace. A modern day high profiled example is Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Chief Whip of the ANC's parliament, MP Tony Yengeni and the chief of the AmaRarebe tribe, Pathekile Holimisa. If one looks (and not even closely) and the physical attributes of all Xhosa's the simple deduction is that they display very little if anything remotely similar to that of 98% of the AmaXhosa.  (There have been numerous and protracted calls from the various houses of Khoi-Khoi for Mandela to admit to this. He remains quiet on the subject and chooses to ignore the glaring facts.)

San and in particular Khoi-Khoi tribes, were decimated by white settlers and diseases introduced into the subcontinent and hinterland and not by settled Nguni and Sotho tribes. In fact, many Khoi-San tribes were sworn allies of the AmaXhosa and Basuto during the numerous frontier wars together against the Dutch, English and Afrikaner marauders. However, if approximately 99% of our (Khoi-San) language, traditions and culture have been forcibly and brutally removed from us, the history and genetics remains still.

Common traditional and customary practices between Khoi-Khoi and San peoples adopted by Xhosa and Basuto peoples have been circumcision. The Xhosa name for God is U-tixo which was adopted from the first Khoi-Khoi deity. In fact the name Xhosa is Khoi-Sa (without the n). Khoi-Khoi people also prayed to U-tixo facing east the way Muslims have adopted 1400 years, yet the Khoi-Khoi people practiced this for thousands of years before that.

The eating of raw oysters and mussels was also a considered a delicacy by the Khoi-Khoi as many Shell-Middens (giant heaps of shell deposits) dating back more than 2000 years (a bit of useless information?) are found along the coastal regions in South Africa.

I believe that Khoi-San tribes living in various parts of Africa inter-married, migrated to other lands which suited them as the Sahara  become desert etc., were assimilated into other groupings and evolved, into early Egyptians and Ethiopians as I wish to prove this particular hypothesis still.

South African Museum Archaeology & Anthropology

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