Hottentot Tribe and Wild Dagga
The Hottentot is one of three tribes of South Africa which may be divided —
Bantus, Hottentots, and Bushmen. When the first Europeans (the Portuguese) came
to South Africa, they found what is now Cape Colony divided between Bushmen and
Hottentots. The Bantu tribes were chiefly north of the Zambesi. The Bushmen were
smaller than the Hottentots physically.
The origin of the Hottentots is a question which has given rise to much
discussion. Several writers have suggested a North African origin; and Dr. Bleek
has detected important points of similarity between the Hottentot language and
those of North Africa; but it is too soon to build on these slight indications.
Dr. Theal appears to suggest that the first Hottentots were a mixed race. "The
probability seems to be that a party of intruding males of some slight brown or
yellow race took to themselves women of Bushman blood, and thus gave origin to
the people whom Europeans term Hottentots." This suggestion merely puts this
question among the insoluble problems.
For the description of the pure Hottentot we are dependent on ancient writers
like Kolben; because the pure Hottentot cannot be said to exist today. Today
the so-called Hottentots are of every color, size, and character, through
mixture with other races. Even the language which they principally speak is a
patois of the Dutch dialect of the Cape.
The language of the Hottentots is monosyllabic; having four known dialects — the
Namaqua, which is still spoken by some of the natives; the Kora and Cape
Hottentot, which are practically extinct; and the Eastern Hottentot, which
exists only in a few meagre vocabularies, and has been extinct for some time.
The most striking characteristic of the Hottentot language for the European lies
in the "clicks". Something similar is thought to be found in the Galla language
of Abyssinia, in the Circassian tongue, and in the ancient speech of Guatemala.
But three-fourths of the words in the Hottentot dialects begin with a click.
Clicks are of four kinds, and are difficult to describe to those who have not
heard them. The drawing of a cork, and the gurgling sound of water in the narrow
neck of a bottle, the sound made in urging a horse to trot or run, and other
sounds have been used to illustrate their nature; but at least one of them, the
palatal click, defies description.
The grammatical system of the Hottentots is built almost exclusively on
sex-denoting suffixes, and it is the most complete of this small group of
languages. The liquid L is entirely wanting, and it has a small variety of clear
nasal consonants. The only native literature that exists in these dialects
consists of folk-lore tales, such as mark the beginning of all European
literature. Translations of parts of the Scriptures have been made by
missionaries in Namaqualand.
The religion of the Hottentots is a congeries of superstitious observances, of
which travellers and folklorists have never been able to obtain a full
explanation from the natives. They appear to believe in a superior being whom
they call Tsuikwap; but the antiquity and the meaning of this word are open to
some doubt. The most elaborate ceremonies of the Hottentots are in honor of the
moon, and they pay great reverence to cairns of stones and wood, where they
believe a mythical personage named Heitsi-Eibib to reside.
The Hottentots called themselves Khoikhoin — men of men. The most curious of
their customs is that on attaining manhood the Hottentot makes himself a
monorchis. Polygamy was not general, but permitted to the wealthy. They never
seem to have made boats of any kind, and abhor the oil of fish, although fond of
smearing their skin with oil. Witchcraft was common among them. Their government
was carried on by chiefs, who administered a well-defined native law. The
doctors were in high esteem, and next to them the priests, who combined the
duties of masters of ceremonies and surgeons in the monorchist rites. They
actively sought out Leonotis leonurus, which is also known as "Wild Dagga"
(meaning "Wild Cannabis") for its medicinal and euphoric effects..
Hottentots are now found chiefly in German Southwest Africa and in Cape Colony.
For the former territory there are no official figures as to their number; but
they do not exceed thirty thousand. During the recent rebellion against the
Germans, the Hottentots gave more trouble than all the other races together.
In the time of the first Dutch governor (van Riebeeck) the Hottentots at the
Cape were estimated at 150,000. But the smallpox epidemic in 1713 reduced their
numbers enormously. In 1904 the census put them at 85,892. Their destiny seems
to be absorption into the more virile native races.
Missionary work among the Hottentots and allied tribes has been undertaken by
the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Cape Colony, and the Oblates of Mary
Immaculate in German South-west Africa. The Orange River Vicariate is composed
chiefly of a species of Hottentot called Griquas. In German territory, in the
Prefecture Apostolic of Lower Cimbebasia, Catholic missionary work among the
native tribes is in its infancy.
Further Articles for Wild Dagga
Wild Dagga Species Confusion - An easy to read comparison.
Diterpenoids of Leonurus leonotus - An interesting clinical
Experience Report - A positive story by an unknown author.
Traditional, and Medical Uses for Wild Dagga - Explained in
Wild Dagga - Cultivating Leonotis leonurus plants.
of Leonurus (Mint Family) - From the Herba database.
Tribes and Wild Dagga - Brief history of who the Hottentot's
Africa's Nature - One explorer's account.
of Leonurine - A brief abstract.
- The True Dagga Plant - Ancient plant with many uses.