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tribe, from which it may, perhaps, be inferred that the Koi Koin were formerly, if only for a short time, united into a nation by some skilful ruler. Polygamy is allowed, but is seldom practised. Kolbe states that a woman is never ill-used, but more recent observers do not confirm his assertion. It may be that the better customs of old times have been corrupted by the bad example of the Boors. Like the neighbouring Bantu negroes, the Koi-Koin exhibit skill in all forensic arts on the occasions of public judicial proceedings. The duties of the vendetta are not quite extinct, but the infliction of fines is generally held to be sufficient.

Great obscurity still prevails as to the religious ideas of this remarkable people. It is only certain that the Koi-Koin worship the moon, which is regarded as of the masculine gender. Their belief in a life after death is proved by the custom of giving to the corpse at its burial the same attitude as in the maternal womb, and they also break up their kraals after every case of death to avoid the proximity of the grave. Ancestor worship has been proved to exist among the Korana tribe, who worship a great chief of former times under the name of Tsui-xoab.24 It is much more difficult to decide whether the Hottentot Heitsi-Eibib was an historical hero. Stones are piled on tumuli in his memory, and dances are executed in his honour, so that the Namaqua, in speaking of the members of their tribe, say “they still dance," or “they dance no more,” to express their persistence in paganism or their conversion to Christianity. Little light is afforded by the fables told of the death and deeds of this enigmatical being He is said to have died and been born again more than once, so that many consider him identical with the moon-god.25 There were also Shamans among the Hottentots, who exercised power over rain and sunshine, and cast out the spirits of disease. Of course, belief in charms existed also, but the persecution of witches did not produce such evil consequences as among the Bantu negroes.

Any one who is capable of valuing the development of their

24 Bleek, Reineke Fuchs, pp. 59-64.

25 Theophilus Hahn, Die Nama-Hottentotten; Globus, vol. xii. p. 276.

Resemblances to Papuans.


language, is also able to appreciate the fact that Hottentots readily learn foreign languages and speak them correctly. Any one who in the examples given in Bleek's Reineke Fuchs admires their power of remodelling fables of animals of foreign derivation, so as to suit African understanding, will no longer allow that the Koi-Koin are among the lowest of human races, but will rather attribute to them a very high position among the semi-cultured nations. They undoubtedly possessed every disposition for social improvement, but the dearth of water in South Africa, which always compels its inhabitants to renew their wanderings, has prevented them from becoming stationary, and has at the same time precluded any density of population.

Before concluding this brief sketch, we must call attention to a remarkable coincidence of specific resemblances between the Koi-Koin and the Papuans of Fiji. Not only are the tufted matting of the hair and the narrow shape of the skull common to both, but in women of the Papuan race there is also a tendency to steatopygy26 We must attribute less importance to the point that in both races men and women eat apart, from the fact that this practice is not uncommon elsewhere. It is more remarkable that the Fijian women when mourning for the dead cut off joints of their fingers, and that the same mutilation is practised by the Koi-Koin as a rule, especially among women, more rarely among

But the direct coincidence of the legends concerning the mortality of man is very strange. Two gods, the Fijians relate, disputed whether eternal life should be conferred upon mankind. Ra-Vula, the moon, wished to give us a death like his own ; that is to say, we were to disappear and then return in a renewed state. Ra-Kalavo, the rat, however refused the proposal. Men were to die as the rats die, and Ra-Kalavo carried the day. According to Anderson, the Koi-Koin have transformed the legend in the following way.

The moon sent the hare on an embassy to man to say, “ As I die and am born again, so shall ye die and come to life again.” But the hare gave the message wrong, for he used


26 At least among the people dwelling on the shores of the Utenata River, in New Guinea. Natuurliche Geschiedenis der nederlandsche Bezittungen. Saloman Müller.

the words “ As I die and am not born again.” When he confessed his mistake to his employer, the moon hurled a stick at the hare and slit his lips. The faithless messenger took flight, and still ranges timidly over the face of the earth. 27

The temptation is great to explain the coincidence of decisive physical characters, strange customs, and even a peculiar legend by supposing either that the Koi-Koin and the Papuan Fijians were derived from a common ancestry in primordial times, or at least that they lived so near together as to exchange customs and legends. But neither hypothesis is tenable. On closer examination, the Koi-Koin are sufficiently distinguished by the colour of the skin, the absence of hair on the body, and by the lowness of the skull. Among these people the amputation of the fingerjoints is affected during youth, and seems to be superstitiously regarded as a sort of charm. 28 It occurs, moreover, among the Polynesians and in the Nicobars.29 Thus there remains only the similar connection of the moon with the hope of immortality. But this merely corroborates the old maxim that among different varieties, in different regions, and at different times, the same objects have given rise to the same idea. Hence the psychical identity of human nature ought no longer to be disputed.


The Negroes inhabit Africa from the southern margin of the Sahara as far as the territory of the Hottentots and Bushmen, and

27 Another version of the myth of immortality exists among the Bantu negroes. Casalis, Les Bassoutos, p. 255. Paris, 1859.

28 The same custom is noticed among the Kaffirs by Maclean (Kafir Laws and Customs). The Bushmen are also said to sacrifice the end joints of their fingers on occasions of illness, beginning with the little finger of the left hand, believing that the illness will be removed with the flowing blood. Barrow, Travels, vol. i. p. 289.

Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. ii. p. 402. 1 With this and the preceding chapter compare Richard Andrée's Chart of the Tribes and Languages of Africa, in Meyer's Conversations-lexicon.


Negro Characters.


from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, although the extreme east of their domain has been wrested from them by intrusive Hamites and Semites. Most negroes have high and narrow skulls. According to Welcker2 the average percentage of width begins at 68 and rises to 78. The variations are so great that, among eighteen heads from Equatorial Africa, Barnard Davis found no less than four brachycephals. In the majority dolichocephalism is combined with a prominence of the upper jaw and an oblique position of the teeth, yet there are whole nations which are purely mesognathous. It is to be regretted that in the opinion of certain mistaken ethnologists, the negro was the ideal of everything barbarous and beast-like. They endeavoured to deny him any capability of improvement, and even disputed his position as a

The negro was said to have an oval skull, a flat forehead, snout-like jaws, swollen lips, a broad flat nose, short crimped hair, falsely called wool, long arms, meagre thighs, calfless legs, highly elongated heels, and flat feet. No single tribe, however, possesses all these deformities.3 The colour of the skin passes through every gradation, from ebony black, as in the Joloffers, to the light tint of the mulattoes, as in the Wakilema, and Barth even describes copper-coloured negroes in Marghi. As to the skull in many tribes, as in the above mentioned Joloffers, the jaws are not prominent, and the lips are not swollen. In some tribes the nose is pointed, straight, or hooked ;7 even “Grecian profiles” are spoken of, and travellers say with surprise that they cannot perceive anything of the so-called negro type among the negroes. 8

According to Paul Broca, 9 the upper limbs of the negro are com



2 Thesaurus Craniorum, p. 210.

3 The typical negro is a rare variety even among negroes, says Winwood Reade (Savage Africa, p. 516). 4 Nord- und Central Afrika, vol. ii. p. 465.

Mungo Park, Reisen, p. 14. Berlin, 1799. * Among the Batonga between the Cameron Mountains and the Gaboon. Winwood Reade, Savage Africa, p. 515.

? Among the Quissama Negroes in Angola. Hamilton, Journal of Anthrop. Institute, vol. i. p. 187,

8 See Hugo Hahn's account of the Ovakuengama and Ovambo. Petermann, Mittheilungen, p. 291. 1867.

Anthropological Review, vol. vii. London, 1869.


paratively much shorter than the lower, and therefore less ape-like than in Europeans, and, although in the length of the femur the negro may approximate to the proportions of the ape, he differs from them by the shortness of the humerus more than is the case with Europeans. Undoubtedly narrow and more or less high skulls are prevalent among the negroes. But the only persistent character which can be adduced as common to all is greater or less darkness of skin, that is to say, yellow, copper-red, olive, or dark brown, passing into ebony black. The colour is always browner than that of Southern Europe. The hair is generally short, elliptic in section, often split longitudinally, and much crimped. That of the negroes of South Africa, especially of the Kaffirs and Betshuans, is matted into tufts, although not in the same degree as that of the Hottentots. The hair is black, and in old age white, but there are also negroes with red hair, red eyebrows, and eye-lashes, to and among the Monbuttoo, on the Uellé, Schweinfurth even discovered negroes with ashy fair hair." Hair on the body and beards exist, though not abundantly ; whiskers are rare although not quite unknown. 12

The negroes form but a single race, for the predominant as well as the constant characters recur in Southern as well as in Central Africa, and it was therefore a mistake to separate the Bantu negroes into a peculiar race. But, according to language, the South Africans can well be separated, as a great family, from the Soudan negroes.


To them belong the known parts of South Africa up to the equator ; and their district extends even to the 5th latitude of the northern hemisphere. Their languages are recognizable by their peculiar defining prefixes," and they also have a large number

10 For instance on the Gaboon. Comp. Walker in the Journal of the Anthropological Society, vol. vi. London, 1868.

11 Im Herzen von Afrika, vol. ii. p. 107. Leipzic, 1874. 12 Gerh. Rohlfs, Reise von Kuka nach Lagos. Petermann's Mittheilungen. 1 See above, p. 121, et seq.

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