Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

Characters of Hottentots and Bushmen.

the contraction of avan (masculine), the feminine with the suffixes ál, al, the contraction of aval (feminine). Magan is therefore the son, magal the daughter; illân the master of the house, illâl the mistress of the house. 18

455

V. HOTTENTOTS AND BUSHMEN.

In the southern parts of Africa, near the Atlantic coast, and on the side more remote from the Indian Ocean, live a race of men, partly split up into tribes, but mainly distinguishable into Hottentots and Bushmen. The first of these names signifies stammerer, and was given to them by the Dutch in ridicule of their clicking sounds. It is now replaced by Koi-Koin, or the men, the title which the Hottentots themselves use. The Bushmen are called San, the plural of Sab, by the Hottentots. Tufted matting of the hair is common to both divisions, but it also appears among other South Africans, although in a less degree. The Bushmen are distinguishable from the latter chiefly by the leathery yellow or brown colour of their skin, which becomes much wrinkled at an early age. Their finger-nails also are never lightly coloured as is the case with the Bantu negroes.1

The women of both these divisions are remarkable for steatopygy,2 that is to say, the fatty cushions of the buttocks project above like inverted steps, and then gradually merge into the thighs; in other words, the arrangement is the reverse of that which occurs in other races.3 A less trustworthy character is the elongation in the women of the labia minora and of the praeputium clitoridis (Hottentot's apron), for similar deviations occur not only in Africa, but also in America.4 The beard is scanty, and the rest of the body is almost entirely hairless. According to Welcker, the relative breadth of the head is only 69, but, as the skull widens towards

18 Fr. Müller, Reise der Fregatte Novara.

1 Fritsch, Eingeborne Südafrika's, pp. 264, 279.

2

Theophilus Hahn asserts that this formation occurs also in men during

youth.

3 According to the result of the dissection of the Afandy who was brought us

to Tübingen as a corpse in 1866. Archiv. für Anthropologie, vol. iii.

4 Dr. Ploss in the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, vol. iii. 1871.

the back, the index would rise a few per cent. if the calipers were inserted at the widest place. But the skulls are yet more remarkable when we consider the occiput, for the height is even less than the breadth, so that these people belong to the low dolichocephals. The jaws are usually prominent; but the prognathism is moderate in degree. The cheek-bones also project laterally. The lips, although very full, are not so intumescent as in the South African negroes. Near the root of the nose the nasal bones often project but little beyond the adjacent parts, so that the snub nose makes its appearance only a little way above the mouth. The opening of the eyes is narrow, but not oblique, as Barrow has stated, having probably been deceived by the habit common among the Koi-Koins of contracting their brows as a protection against the dazzling sun. The Bushmen, who have all these characters in common with the Koi-Koins, are, in their turn, distinguished from the latter by secondary peculiarities. Their stature is considerably smaller than that of the Koi-Koins, although the tribes to the west of Lake Ngami are described as taller. It remains for future travellers to decide whether a former original population, once much more widely spread and akin to the Bushmen, are not represented by the Obongo, a dirty yellow race of low stature, ranging from 4 ft. 4 in to 5 ft., with tufted matted hair, and skins covered with down, whom Du Chaillu met with in equatorial West Africa, and described as timid people inhabiting the forests 5; by the dwarf-like Acka, or Ticki-Ticki, whose dwelling-place is situated to the south of the Uellé, and therefore not in the Nile district of Dr. Schweinfurth; lastly, by the small Doko in the south of Kaffa, respecting whom Krapf received information from a somewhat untrustworthy source.

The latter are distinguished from the Hottentots by the absence of secondary sexual characters, with the single exception of steatopygy. The men do not exceed the women in height; and the pelvises of the two sexes are so much alike as to be mistaken for

Ashango Land, pp. 316–320.

• Im Herzen von Afrika, vol. ii. p. 136. Leipzic, 1874.

7 J. L. Krapf, Reisen in Ostafrika, vol. i. pp. 76–79.

8 Behm on the Bushman territory in Petermann's Mittheilungen, 1858, and

in the same work on the pigmy nations of South Africa. 1871. Science' xxii,25.

live roles'

The Koi-Koin Language.

one another, and even the feeble development of the mammary glands is strikingly similar in male and female Bushmen.9

The Bushmen and Koi-Koin form a single race; they are, as Theophilus Hahn observes, the children of the same mother. It is true that in language they have in common only the clicking sounds, which are produced by applying the tongue to the teeth, or to various parts of the gums, and suddenly jerking it back. One of these sounds is used by Europeans to express annoyance, and another by drivers as an encouragement to their horses. Except the clicking sounds, and a few words which have been interchanged, there is no resemblance between the San and the Koi-Koin languages. The dialects of the Bushmen differ widely from one another, as is usual in all hunting tribes, although a certain kinship is always recognizable; 12 but we are as yet totally without information respecting the system pursued in their formation of words. '3

II

10

457

The Koi-Koin language, on the contrary, is of great ethnological interest.14 Dr. Moffat was the first to discover in it a resemblance to the language of ancient Egypt. This was also the opinion of Lepsius, and was also acknowledged by Pruner Bey. 15 Even Max Müller has sustained the assertion, 16 and Whitney has repeated it. Lastly, Bleek admits that, in the phonetic signs for the genders, the Hottentot language agrees more closely with ancient Egyptian or Coptic than with other languages, but that it also contains traces of Semitic forms. 18

9 Fritsch, Eingeborne Südafrika's, pp. 407, 415.

10 Theophilus Hahn in the Globus. 1870.

11 Fritsch, Drei Jahre in Südafrika, pp. 253, 254.

12 Theophilus Hahn, VI. and VII. Jahresbericht des Dresdener Vereins für Erdkunde.

13 A description of the manners of the Bushmen has already been given. See p. 146.

14 S. G. Morton, Types of Mankind, p. 253. 1854. 15 L'origine de l'ancienne race egyptienne. d'Anthropologie, Aug. 1, 1871, p. 430.

16 Science of Language, vol. ii. p. 2.

Mémoire lue à la Société

17 Language and the Science of Language, p. 347.

18 Reineke Fuchs in Afrika. Weimar, 1870. Bleek still clings to the common origin of the Hottentot and Hamito-Semitic languages.

Von Gabelentz, Pott, Friedr. Müller, and Theophilus Hahn have pronounced against the relationship, and we should not have recurred to this old dispute, did it not plainly show that the dialects of the Koi-Koin must be very highly developed, and, in fact, so highly that Martin Haug supposes that their higher and more refined constituents have been acquired by contact with a civilized people. It is impossible to say whether this people is the same as the ancient Egyptians. 19 Not a single fact, however, speaks in favour of any such contact. Hence, until strict proofs are adduced for these conjectures, we must persist in maintaining that languages may be raised and polished by nations which have been unjustly called savages. The social condition of our forefathers at the time of Tacitus was little better than that of the Koi-Koin, but their language was even then Aryan in dignity.

The Nama and other dialects of the Koi-Koin attach highly abraded phonetic forms to the end of the roots. From koi human being, comes koi-b man, koi-s woman, koi-gu men, koi-ti women, koi-i person, koi-n people. We select this example that we may add that from koi, human being, is derived koi-si kindly, koi-si-b philanthropist, koi-si-s humanity.20 As many anthropologists reproach primitive nations with the assertion that their languages contain no expressions for abstract ideas, or no word for God or morality, we take this opportunity of pointing out that the Hottentots, who were once placed in the lowest grade, possess this said word for kindliness.

As they have already been in communication with Europeans for several centuries, we shall obtain the best information respecting their manners and customs from the older descriptions, of which the most valuable is undoubtedly that given by Kolbe in the first decade of last century.

At the time when the Portuguese first saw them, the Hottentots were said to be cattle-breeders," but not given to agriculture,

19 Anthropologisches Correspondanzblatt, p. 21. 1872.

20 Nama Grammatik von Th. Hahn in the VI. and VII. Jahresbricht of the Dresden Vereins für Erdkunde, p. 32.

21 The Angra dos Vaqueiros, or the landing point, of Bartolomeo Dias (Barros, Da Asia) was the present Bay of Algoa. Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, p. 94.

[blocks in formation]

contenting themselves with wild fruits and roots, which latter, however, it was unlawful to dig up until the ripe seeds were shed.22 For shelter they used a low dome-shaped framework made of sticks, which were sunk into the ground, bent and lashed together, and then covered with rush-mats. Their clothing consisted of leathern aprons and cloaks; they wore sandals, and both sexes— the women from feelings of modesty-covered their heads with fur caps. Spears, darts (kiri), and shields for parrying blows were their weapons; and for hunting purposes they carried bows and poisoned arrows. Like all Africans, they knew the arts of smelting iron ore and of working the metal.23 They were in the habit of training oxen for riding purposes in very early times. Cooking was done in earthen vessels. From honey they made an intoxicating drink; and, owing to their strong tendency to such beverages, brandy drinking has become a national vice among them. In addition to this they, in common with the Bantu negroes, had long indulged in the pernicious practice of smoking Dacha, or hemp. The contempt with which they are regarded by Europeans is perhaps principally due to their uncleanliness. The custom, incredible as it sounds, that, on the conclusion of a marriage, the Shaman defiles the bridal pair with his urine, is said actually to continue among the Nama tribes. Yet, let us not forget that, notwithstanding their uncleanliness, the Neapolitans and Irish, as well as the gipsies, are members of the Aryan family; and also that the drinking of the urine of oxen was enjoined on the Brahminical Hindoos as a purification from all manner of iniquities. Revenge, slight respect for parents, and the custom of exposing the aged and decrepit in deserts, are also flaws in the character of the Hottentots. Their love of freedom-or rather of indolencehas greatly diminished their number, and their total extinction is almost inevitable. They lived in tribes under chiefs, who shared their dignity with the elders of the community. Occasionally the single tribes concluded treaties of defence against common enemies. The Kei-xous, or "red people," still call themselves a royal

22 Kolbe, Vorgebirge der guten Hoffnung, p. 460.

23 Kolbe, p. 453. Theophilus Hahn, VII. Jahresbericht der Dresdner Geogr. Gesellschaft. p. 9.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »