THE NATIVE RACES OF SOUTH AFRICA
GEORGE W. STOW, F.G.S., F.R.G.S.
13. THE ENCROACHMENT OF THE STRONGER RACES
In entering upon this portion of our subject we may observe that in the foregoing chapters we have shown that there is every reason for believing that the origin of the Bushman race was far north of the equator, and that at a very remote period they followed the migration of the game to the southward. The men of this hunter race remained for unknown ages in apparently undisturbed possession of Central and Southern Africa, their retreat farther being prevented by the ocean, and there, notwithstanding all the social convulsions to which most of the other portions of the world were subject, a remnant remains until the present day, standing out clear and strong as a relic and memorial of a past stage in the world's existence.
It was here in this remote comer of the world, isolated and unchanged, the ancient Bushman remained, roaming over his broad hunting fields, and struggling ever and anon with the lion for the ownership and sovereignty of the countless herds that covered the mighty plains of the South. And this while in other parts of the world civilisation was developing from its earliest germs, while ancient empires grew up, and flourished, and decayed, and became again nothing but a memory of the vanished past. While their grandest structures were crumbling into ruins, and the ruins were becoming silently entombed in the drifting sand, here he, the associate of the rhinoceros and giraffe, sculptured the rocks over with the primitive designs of art, and covered the walls of his cave dwelling with paintings, many so closely copied from nature that they would seem to prove that he himself, before his isolation, must have formed the first rippling wave of that advancing tide of civilisation which was thrown off from the grand centre of its birth, and of which he, after his enforced separation, became the stereotyped representative.
Thus it was that driven onward before the development and advance of races stronger than himself, he still fostered and carried with him this art-germ, until he found himself land-locked in the silent parts of the earth, while far in his rear, and severed from him by a migration of still darker negro barbarism, which must have subsequently forced itself across the path he had taken, the northern nations, of which he was a distant link, were carried onward by a steady after-flood of progress.
It was this very progress, however, which ultimately, by hemming in the seething mass of equatorial savage life, checked its expansion in that direction, and turned towards the south the tide of intervening barbarism represented by the ancestors of the present stronger native races in Southern Africa. This movement, though possibly slow at first, gradually gained strength and impetus with the increase of population, and now creeping on, now surging forward under the guidance of ambitious chieftains, pressing tribe on tribe like great pursuing waves, then possibly a pause, that may have lasted for generations, until amid internal heavings and internecine war another storm-wave rose which, beaten from the north, would naturally expend its fury in the opposite direction, sweeping at various points over the weaker opposing tribes, or hurrying them on in front ever farther and farther, and ever encroaching more and more upon the domains of the primitive hunter race.
While here a single fugitive tribe advanced, there they pressed forward in various streams, to the west, the east, or over the central plains, until they met and struggled, and in every struggle always still encroached. The hapless hunters found themselves opposed at every point, isolated and hemmed in, the hate of every intruder being turned especially against them. Their greatest crime being that they were the original possessors of the soil, a war of extermination was waged against them, until at last the miserable remnants of their once numerous race had to struggle for a precarious existence in a few almost inaccessible mountain fastnesses or in the wilds of the Kalahari desert.
In following up this inquiry we shall find, from South African evidence, that after the original Bushman migration, the Hottentot tribes, at a comparatively recent period, were the first to follow them. These people were themselves driven from the more central portions of the continent by another race still stronger than themselves. They then retreated in a south-westerly direction, until arrested by the Atlantic, when they turned towards the south. We shall find that in the meantime the tribes before whom the Hottentots fled were themselves pressed farther into Central Southern Africa, and away from the eastern coast, by still stronger and fiercer hordes from the north.
The men who pressed forward the Hottentots were the Bachoana and Basutu hordes, who were not only a pastoral but an agricultural people, who were occasionally impelled by their lust for cattle to attack their neighbours ; but their devotion to agricultural pursuits must have prevented them from making rapid conquests. Their migrations, therefore, from one place to another would be a matter of time, that took generations in their accomplishment ; while the men who were slowly but surely advancing upon them were almost purely pastoral, and as a necessary consequence more warlike.
We shall find that when these last, who wielded the club and the assagai, discovered more luxuriant and more permanent pasturage for their herds within a specified zone along the coast, they, after turning the flank of the Bachoana migration more into the interior, adhered strictly to the seaboard, and engrossed for their own use the broad belt of land that runs for an immense distance with the ocean on one hand and the great range of mountains that stretches itself almost parallel to it on the other. Here tribe followed tribe, the stronger as in every other case pressing the weaker before it ; again they were like successive waves, the one behind urging forward the one immediately in front, the Abatembu, the Amaxosa, the Amampondo, and the Amazulu, ever advancing from the eastward.
The great shields adopted by the foremost Kaffirs proved impervious to the tiny reed shafts of the Bushmen, who had until then been in undisturbed possession of that part of the continent, but who from that time forward were driven from one retreat to another until the survivors retired to their fellow countrymen inhabiting the more open plains to the north of the rugged ranges which skirt the sea-coast zone, thus leaving the victorious Kaffir race to advance towards the west, until they came in contact with strange white-faced men still more invincible than they had imagined themselves to be, against whom, with many minor fluctuations, the tidal wave of rude barbarism beat in vain.
In examining the evidence that has been collected upon the migrations and history of the tribes above alluded to, it will be better to follow the sequence in which they came upon the South African scene. We shall therefore consider —
I. The Hottentot tribes, a nomadic pastoral race, armed with bows and arrows, originally without poison, and sometimes shields and miserably small javelins.
II. The agricultural and pastoral Bachoana and Basutu tribes from the north, also armed with bows and arrows, small shields, assagais, clubs, and battleaxes.
III. The pastoral and more warlike Coast Kaffirs, the Amaxosa and other frontier tribes, armed with javelins or assagais and immense shields cut from an entire ox hide.
IV. The Abatembu and Amampondo tribes, with assagais, clubs, and oval shields.
V. The Amazulu, Matabli, and Natal tribes, with large oval shields and short broad-bladed stabbing assagais, with which they charged at close quarters.
VI. The tribes of Basutuland, with assagais, battleaxes, and deeply indented shields.
VII. The men of the Dutch settlements.
VIII. The English occupation.
In these sections we shall make such additional remarks upon the manners and customs of the native races as may tend to throw a clearer light upon their probable migration and origin.
The Hottentot and other Kindred Tribes.
These tribes have a special interest in connection with the subject of our inquiry, from the fact that they were the first people with whom the daring navigators of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries came in contact at the southern extremity of the African continent. For a long time they were considered the aborigines of the country and the ancient owners of the soil, whose forefathers had possessed the same from time immemorial.
Some writers described them as a very numerous race, whose teeming hordes were spread over the length and breadth of the land. From the evidence collected in the present work, we shall find that such statements are far from giving a correct representation of the case : that instead of being the rightful possessors of the soil, they had intruded into territories which had previously for an unknown period been the hunting grounds of the Bushman race ; that these Hottentots, in the earlier days of their migrations, came from the far interior in the north-east, and moved towards the south-west until they were arrested by the Atlantic a few degrees south of the equator ; that after this they gradually spread themselves along the western coast, dispossessing the original occupiers of the country, until they reached the southern limit at the Cape of Good Hope, around which point and between this and the lower portion of the Orange river their principal tribes congregated.
We shall find also that although a few tribes penetrated a little farther to the eastward along the coast line, it would appear that for a long period they did not make any serious lodgment in that direction, being kept back not only by the formidable difficulties presented by the physical features of the country, but also by terror of the poisoned arrows of the fiery race of pigmies who occupied all the mountain barriers to the eastward, and who at last roused themselves to repel the further unceremonious invasion which threatened their hitherto undisputed domains.
Some few of this more ancient race had become half dependent upon the nomadic herdsmen who were gradually attempting to usurp possession of all the best pasturage of the western and open portions of the country, but by far the greater majority of them tenaciously clung to the mountain strongholds of their fathers, and refused to come to terms with men whom they considered as intruders, who were gradually spreading themselves over the broad pastures of their herds of game, and whose presence scared away the animals which afforded them the means of subsistence.
The relative condition in which the Hottentots and Bushmen were found in the middle of the seventeenth century may be received as confirmatory evidence of the fact that the former had not long been settled in those parts of the country. The Bushmen were still living in most of the mountainous and wooded portions of it, — even Table Mountain was occupied by them, — and although they lived in a condition of comparative dependence on the Hottentots and acted as their light troops, taking care of their outposts, and performing the duties of messengers and spies, in the more inaccessible portions of the country to the east and north-east the Bushmen were living without the slightest trammel, ruled by their own chiefs, and under a rude form of government, which, however primitive it might have been in its details, was entirely their own ; and there appears little probability that either under the Hottentots or Kaffirs these Bushmen would ever have fallen into a lower degree of servitude.
Such then was the position of these two races when other and still stronger men appeared upon the scene : a race of white faces, shaggy and bearded as the native lions of the land, a race that appeared to come out of the sea, who dwelt upon floating islands, and who had the lightning and the thunder of the storm- cloud at their command. These were the Portuguese, who came and went away ; and again the Dutch, who made a permanent settlement.
At first the new arrivals appeared a great gain, but after a time the gain gradually turned all on one side, and upon the excuse of some alleged offence or other encroachment followed encroachment, until those who had dispossessed the old hunter tribes and appropriated their grounds for pasture lands, found themselves not only almost stripped of their cattle, but dispossessed of the land they themselves had taken ; and once more a migration of their tribes commenced.
One portion pushed on towards the east, followed by the stronger race who had dispossessed them, until they were stopped by the great mountain barriers which barred their further progress in that direction, and whose rugged and precipitous passes, strongly garrisoned as they were by the intrepid and untamed dwellers of the caves and forests, they dared not attempt to force, until they were overtaken by their pursuers and became absorbed and made serfs to the white race that was ever on their heels.
Another portion of the retreating Hottentots pressed towards the north until they reached the valley of the Great river, and penetrated along its course far into that portion of the Bushman territory, some settling down for a time in that part of the country now occupied by the division of Victoria West, where they spent their time in petty quarrels with one another, each separate kraal trying to appropriate the cattle of those richer than themselves. This and encounters with the Bushman owners of the land filled up their time, until the increasing inroads and atrocities of the restless bandit Africaander on the one hand, and the pressure from the extension of the colonial boundaries on the other, once more set them on the move, when they again continued their onward migrations until they reached the Orange river near its junction with the Vaal.
Here the Korana tribes were the first that crossed. After doing so, they advanced along the valley of the Vaal, seizing the country and driving back, or annihilating whenever possible, the Bushman tribes that strove to check their advance. Pressing still towards the north, they at length met, near the present Kuruman and Lithako, the first of the Bachoana tribes, who had in the meantime advanced from the north, and who, notwithstanding the almost irrepressible predatory habits of the yellow-skins, were able after a time effectually to check their further progress in that direction.
For a long series of years after this collision the nomadic clans indulged their love of plunder, in making forays and raids upon one another, or, as restless as the Arabs of the desert, they attacked any other tribe in the neighbourhood that they considered sufficiently weak to fall an easy prey to their lawlessness. All these tribes were purely nomadic-pastoral, never making the least attempt at cultivation, except a few of their clans who raised a little dacha. Their condition constantly fluctuated between the extremes of plenty and famine.
In following out this inquiry, we shall therefore, for the sake of precision, do so under the following heads —
1. The Hottentots of the early Dutch Period,
2. The Tribes of the West Coast,
3. The Koranas, and
4. The Griquas.
The Hottentots of the Early Dutch Period.
In studying this portion of our subject we soon discover that the difficulties of investigation are greatly increased, and considerable confusion is occasioned, both from the indiscriminate use by the early writers of different names, and employing different modes of spelling, when giving the appellation of any particular tribe ; and also from their classing all under the common term of Hottentots, where other tribes such as the Bushmen are intended.
From the only reliable evidence which can now be obtained, it would appear that the title Hottentot is not of native origin, but a sobriquet given to them by the early Dutch traders from the almost unpronounceable character of their language. The almost constant termination of qua to the Hottentot tribal names is asserted by Korana authorities to be synonymous with the Ba and Ama prefixes of the Bachoana and Kaffir families, meaning the people, sons, or men of. Thus the Cochoqua would be the men of Cocho, the Gora (or more probably Kora) choqua, the men of Kora.
A traveller of the last century tells us that Auteniqua signified " the men loaded with honey," from the immense number of wild bees which swarmed in the country they inhabited. Most probably the other names would be found to possess equally significant meanings, could they be rightly interpreted.
This nomadic people had arrived at a stereotyped stage of existence, and doubtless would for many ages more have remained unprogressive, retaining all their primitive modes of life, had it not been for the outward pressure which was brought to bear upon them about the middle of the seventeenth century. Van Riebeek among a number of other epithets describes them as " stinking and greasy," and it is quite certain that wherever they continued sufficiently isolated they remained perfectly unaltered to the end of last century, and even to a much later period in numerous instances. So much so that the sketch of their habits and customs given by Barrow in 1797 is a correct reflex of what they actually were nearly a century and a half before. All the Hottentots were evidently of the same low type as those which this accurate observer described.
The Hottentots and Bushmen had two remarkable faculties in common : that of quickness of sight and power of endurance in withstanding the cravings of hunger. It was remarked that they could distinguish objects scarcely visible to other men. This faculty was well illustrated in their expertness in watching the flight of bees through the air, and by this means discovering their nest, although at a considerable distance ; the certainty also with which they followed the spoor or trail of animals through a difficult tract of country was another illustration of the same fact, they being frequently able to follow the pursuit at a full run, tiring out horse and rider who accompanied them. With regard to their endurance, if they possessed wonderful power in withstanding the pangs of hunger, their voracious appetites enabled them to make up for long fasting.
In preparing their meals, their meat was put upon the embers in long strings, and when just warmed through, the ashes serving as salt, it was seized and one end applied to the mouth, when they appeared to devour it in a consecutive piece. During this operation, while the meat was passing through their hands, these were occasionally cleaned by being rubbed over different parts of their bodies. The grease from these smearings would accumulate for years, and form a thick black coat of dirt over their skin, hiding its true colour, with the exception of their faces and hands, which they kept somewhat cleaner by rubbing them over with the dung of cattle.
Their dress was simple, consisting of a belt made of a thong cut from the skin of some animal. From this was suspended a pouch made in the shape of a ninepin cut longitudinally of jackal skin, the convex and hairy side being outermost. From the back part one or two small flaps of leather were dependent, covering no particular portion of the body. This constituted the whole of their summer dress. The Hottentot women of those days wandered about in the same state of comparative nudity as that of their lords and masters.
At an early period of life, immediately after the birth of the first child, the breasts began to grow loose and flaccid, and as old age approached these became distended to a great length ; the posterior parts at the same time swelled out to enormous dimensions.
They lived in portable huts constructed of rush mats, which could be taken down, rolled up, and made into bundles with their sapling supports and carried from place to place on their pack oxen during their migrations.
Such were the tribes of wandering herdsmen found by Van Riebeek at Table Bay at the time of his landing. The principa of these were the Cochoqua and the Gora or Kora-choqua, from whom, as we shall discover in the sequel, the present Korana clans appear to have descended.
The Cochoqua were those who frequently resided in the immediate neighbourhood of Table Bay. They generally occupied the country from False Bay to Saldanha Bay and from Table Bay to the mountains in the east, never staying long in one place, but moving about for change of pasture. There appear to have been constant jealousies and quarrels between the tribes, with occasional raids upon each other's cattle and eloping with one another's wives. This latter amusement seems to have been a common occurrence among them, and thus became an endless cause of turmoil and tribal feuds.
In 1652 the Cochoqua were divided into two branches, the elder one being under a chief named Oedasoa, who considered himself the paramount chief, the other under a secondary captain named Gonnema. It is recorded that this Oedasoa had carried off the wife of 'Goeboe, the son of Sousa, chief of the Chainouqua. There appear to have been several tribes which at one time acknowledged their supremacy, but subsequently threw off their allegiance. Amongst others, they were generally at variance with the Namaqua, who were Hottentots like themselves.
Oedasoa said that although these people had many cattle, they had not so many men as he had ; and that when he was joined by the Korachoqua, the Goringhaiqua, and the Cochoqua under the chief Gonnema, he need not be afraid of any attempt the Namaqua might make upon him. From this fact it appears very probable that the Cochoqua, the Korachoqua, and the Goringhaiqua were kindred tribes of so recent a separation that they speedily reunited when a common danger threatened them.
The following recorded facts appear to support this position. The Gorachoqua were a people described to be rich in cattle. The name of their chief was 'Choro ; he took away the wife of Gonnema, kinsman of the chief of the Cochoqua. This tribe was discovered in 1657 by a party of the Dutch a day's journey north-east of Tygerberg ; they were then possessed of large herds of cattle, and were supposed to be able to muster from six to seven hundred men. They were supposed to belong to, or to be closely allied to the Cochoqua. They arrogated to themselves the title of 'Khoeque, or chief over other tribes, and thus often got into war with them. This is the very assumption made by the Taaibosch branch of the Koranas at the present day.
As the early writers could not be expected to detect the fine variations sometimes distinguishable in the clicks forming such a prominent feature in this class of languages, it would appear as if in the name of this tribe G has been employed to represent the initial click found in it, whereas 'K is more probably the one which ought to have been used, when the word would be as a consequence 'Kora instead of Gora, the former being the one from which the present Koranas derive their tribal appellation. All the native traditions uphold this position. In fact it is more than probable that the descendants of both these tribes would be found amongst the Koranas of the present day, and thus it is that the history of the first peopling of the Cape by white men is so clearly preserved among the traditions of this tribe.
The Charingunqua were another tribe that had renounced the authority of the Cochoqua, and had removed to the Oliphant's river in consequence.
The Cochoqua were the people who sold the Cape peninsula to the Dutch in 1672. The first hostilities between the Dutch and these Hottentots broke out the following year. Oedasoa was then dead, and Gonnema had succeeded to the chief authority in the tribe ; hence it was that this tribe was subsequently called Gonnemas. The Cochoqua under Gonnema were defeated with the loss of nearly all their cattle. The state of unrest which ensued from the vain endeavours of the vanquished Hottentots to regain a portion of their cherished cattle, caused the governor Goske to issue in 1675, three years after their defeat, orders that every male of the tribe who fell into the hands of the Dutch was to be destroyed.
Van Riebeek stated that the united tribe of the Cochoqua, twenty years before, were able to muster three thousand men capable of bearing arms, and that they often migrated a considerable distance inland with their large herds of cattle, carrying all their movables with them on their pack oxen.
Besides these tribes there was another called Goringhaiqua, under a chief named 'Go'gosoa. These people appear to have leagued with the Dutch in their attack upon the Cochoqua. The strength of the tribe is stated by one writer to have been about three hundred men, exclusive of women and children.
The Chariguriqua, subsequently called Grigriqua, lived towards the north, in the country intervening between the Cochoqua and the Namaqua. They were said to possess large herds of cattle. It was also stated that they were without any hereditary chief, and that the tribe itself had revolted or separated from the Cochoqua. In 1658 a portion of them migrated as far to the southward as Saldanha Bay, but they evidently shortly afterwards returned again to the north, as in 1661, when Van Meerhof undertook an expedition to the Namaqua, he found the latter in the country round the Khamiesbergen, while the Grigriqua were occupying that portion along the lower course of the Oliphant's river. At this time the Bushmen inhabited the country from the Drakenstein mountains to the Quathlamba, while they were met with as far as the Okavanga towards the north.
The Hancumqua and the Chainouqua were either different titles for, or subdivisions of, one great tribe. The former appears the more probable. Their chief claimed to be paramount over all the other Hottentot tribes. His title was 'Choe-baka or 'Khoe-baka, which is described as meaning 'Khoe a mountain, Baka the highest of all or king. The name of this ruler, in the days of Van Riebeek, was Sousa or Sausoa. The name of his son was 'Goe-boe, who married the daughter of Gogosoa. She was carried off by Oedasoa. Her sister's name was Osingkuina. It would appear that previous to the landing of the Dutch, this tribe never migrated from place to place. He and his people dwelt in the national mat huts of their race ; they bred cattle, and also subsisted by the cultivation of the plant dacha, of which all these tribes were very fond. They were said to be far richer both in men and cattle than the Cochoqua. They were divided into a number of dependent hordes, all of which acknowledged Sousa as their paramount. In 1660 they were located some four days' journey from the fort in Table Valley, in 1663 they were found about thirty-one miles from it, behind the mountains of Hottentots Holland.
Sousa was held in such awe by those of other clans that neither Oedasoa nor any of his subjects dared come to trade so long as he remained near the fort. They made way for him, and waited upon him with presents of many cattle, to show the respect they owed to the highest king. That his authority was not merely nominal was shown by the fact of his interference in a quarrel between Choro, the chief of the 'Kora-choqua, and Gonnema, the captain of a branch of the Cochoqua. They had parted in anger, the former having cunningly taken away the wife of the latter. War was imminent between them, until Sousa, the paramount chief, interfered, and threatened to degrade the one who was in the wrong. Such an acknowledgment of his supremacy by the chiefs of the other Hottentot tribes would make it seem highly probable that the one over which he ruled represented the main trunk of the Hottentot race, from which all the others have been offshoots. In that case the Koranas and Griquas of the present day represent the descendants of the Cochoqua group of clans, and the Colonial Hottentots the remains of the other tribes mentioned.
Another powerful tribe was the Hessequa, living farther north, but to the westward of the present division of Swellendam. Their language was so different from that of the Cochoqua that they could only communicate through Chainouqua interpreters. This fact is significant, and would certainly suggest that these Hessequa were not true Hottentots, but rather either a mixed race in which the Bushman element so much predominated that its language had been adopted by them, or else a purely Bushman tribe. The additional fact that these people were frequently threatening to drive the Chainouqua and Goringhaiqua out of the land would seem to indicate that the latter is the most probable.
The tribes living to the eastward were said to be the Chamaqua, the Omaqua, the Attaqua, and the Cauqua. All these, like the Hancumqua or Chainouqua, were rich in cattle, planters of dacha, and lived in mat huts. They extended from the north-east of the Hancumqua to the sea coast. Their cattle were those called the Namaqua, or long-horned breed, together with fat-tailed sheep. They used pack-oxen : men and women frequently rode together on the same ox. The Attaqua lived on both sides the Langeberg, above Mossel Bay, and near the present town of George, hence Attaqua Kloof.
It appears certain that these tribes were not sufficiently numerous to occupy the whole country ; they seem rather to have formed certain centres around which they migrated, with considerable tracts of land between them which were still held by the original owners of the soil. Thus in 1662, when Cruythof, during Commander Wagenaar's time, tried to reach Vigiti Magna and was driven back by the Namaqua, he found the Sonqua living between these tribes, and roving about like banditti, inhabiting mostly the mountains and doing much damage to their neighbours. By the description of their usage of bows and arrows there can be no doubt that they were Bushmen. This tribe of Sonqua was subdued by the Namaqua in 1662.
Besides these there were a number of tribes, such as the Strandloopers, or as they called themselves Goringhaicona, who subsisted only by fishing on the sea-rocks. It seems, however, almost certain that these different hordes were the representatives of tribes living in the country previous to the arrival of the pastoral Hottentots, and were therefore more nearly allied to the Bushmen than to them, even if some of them were not the remnants of old Bushman tribes that had been dispossessed by the intruders.
From the description given of the Goringhaicona by Oedasoa, the chief of the Cochoqua, and quoted in Van Riebeek's journal, these people would seem to have been a tribe of Bushmen still clinging to the rocks of the Cape peninsula. He stated that they never remained long at peace with any one, and could not live without robbing and murdering ; their object was to surprise one tribe or the other when at the weakest. They had so served him when he had been defeated by other tribes from the interior, and when he lay with his few remaining people and cattle in his houses, wounded and helpless, his people scattered in flight and concealed here and there, then it was that they carried off his cattle as well as cruelly murdered all who could not offer any resistance, even women and children.
The habits here described are so at variance with the more indolent mode of life in which the normal Hottentot was so prone to indulge, that one feels almost forced to the conclusion that these marauders must have belonged to the more energetic Bushman race, who harboured a feeling of revenge against the pastoral intruders into their ancient territories.
Assertions have often been made regarding the teeming Hottentot population of the southern angle of the African continent at the time of the arrival of the first Dutch settlers. Such assertions certainly appear very wide of the mark. It has been stated that when Van Riebeek landed Oedasoa's kraal was about half a day's journey from the fort, that its position could be seen across the bay, and that he was encamped there with many thousands of people. The number both of the people and cattle of these tribes seems frequently much exaggerated, a thing not to be wondered at when we know the indefinite expressions used by them to express large numbers. Many thousands of a purely pastoral people, whose sole means of subsistence was their cattle, could not have lived together in one spot in such a country. The immense size of the herds which would be required for their support would destroy the pasturage, by treading it under foot, before it could be grazed off. South Africa has afforded fit and numerous illustrations of this destruction of the herbage in the formation of expeditionary camps or lagers, and the loss of live stock which follows from the cause alluded to almost as a necessary consequence.
There is not in fact the slightest reliable evidence to be discovered that the Hottentots were ever a very numerous race. They were certainly congregated more densely from the Cape to the northward, along the western coast, than to the eastward of that promontory ; but even here there does not appear to have been a single tribe or clan capable of bringing two or three thousand men into the field.
The idea of a powerful nation in the Hottentot mind was exemplified in 1874, when they boasted of their ability to drive the white man from the Diamond Fields. The most powerful of the Korana clans never exceeded a thousand, and they considered themselves invincible when they spoke of their entire tribe being able to marshal nearly three thousand fighting men. A few hundred warrior-herdsmen appears to be the maximum that the majority of the Cape tribes could muster.
The following is an estimate of the probable strength of the various Hottentot tribes near the Cape at the time of the landing of Van Riebeek : —
The Cochoqua, in two divisions, one under Oedasoa, the other under Gonnema, 1,000 men.
The 'Gora ('Kora) chouqua, under 'Choro, 600 or 700 men.
The little Chariguriqua or Grigriqua, 300 men.
The Goringhaiqua, under Gogosoa, 300 men.
The Goringhaikona, under Captain Harry, 18 men.
These estimates are exclusive of women and children.
Of the other tribes mentioned in the early records, the numerical strength is not given, but the Hancumqua are stated to have been the greatest and most powerful of all the race of greasy Hottentots, whom Van Riebeek described as dull, stupid, lazy, stinking people. The above, however, is sufficient to enable us to arrive at some approximate conclusion with regard to their total number. The five Cape tribes mentioned could furnish 2,268 men, who would represent a mixed population of some thirteen or fourteen thousand souls ; and if the remaining tribes averaged as many, the total Hottentot race did not exceed thirty-five or forty thousand people. As it is more than probable that in the confusion of the descriptions given of these people by the early settlers some Bushman tribes are included in the list of names quoted by them, forty thousand may be above, rather than below the real number.
From a review of the foregoing facts, it would seem that the following deductions may be drawn :
1st. That these nomadic tribes were few in number, and were evidently constantly on the move from place to place in search of water and pasturage. These very migrations prove that they could not have been so numerous as some writers have stated, or they would necessarily have come into frequent collision with one another ; but the fact was they wandered about, and still it was found that there was always plenty of room to spare, showing that the country, except in a few favoured localities, was very sparsely populated. As an illustration of this constant habit of migrating, Oedasoa removed from Table Bay to Saldanha Bay, in search of pasture, and on his arrival there found the Grigriqua and Korachoqua had migrated thence to the interior for the same purpose.
2nd. That at the time of their discovery the Hottentot tribes had only comparatively recently arrived at the southern extremity of the continent, which is demonstrated by the fact that the original inhabitants not only still remained a distinct people, but were not yet conquered, even in the Cape district itself. Thus we find that there were continual hostilities between them and the Bushmen, or Sonqua. Van Riebeek, in his Journal, writing of these Bushmen or Sonqua, says they never had any other means of subsistence than plunder, their stock was not their own, but robbed from the Cochoqua and others, who on that account pursued them on every opportunity, and on coming up with them put them to death without mercy. They also plundered many people, not only of their cattle, but of their women, which robbery and abduction were much practised in war by all these tribes.
3rd. That the migration of these Hottentots through such a country, and with such inhabitants, must have been a very slow onward movement, and that no rapid acquisitions of territory could have been made by them, both their own character and the formidable obstacles presented by the natural features of the country forbidding any other conclusion. It is quite certain that all the great mountain passes and fastnesses were in the hands of the aboriginal race at the time of their arrival, and there must have been a long struggle before even the barrier of the Hottentots Holland mountains could have been passed to the eastward. When we reflect upon the great stress which is everywhere laid upon the mildness and amiability of the Hottentot character in the olden time, we shall at once recognise how little fitted these herdsmen must have been, trammelled as they were with the safe-keeping of their flocks and herds, to have broken through such cordons of energetic and intrepid Bushmen as those who held the formidable and almost impregnable mountain barriers. The difficulty they had in overcoming these obstacles will become more and more apparent as we proceed with our investigation.
And now before proceeding to the second head of our inquiry, the fourth conclusion to which we are led is that these Cape tribes were neither all annihilated, nor reduced to serfdom, but that a considerable number fled from the danger which threatened them and migrated to the north and north-east, and that their descendants are now to be found amongst the present Koranas and Griquas.
The Native Races of South Africa
01. Editor's Preface
15. The Koranas
17. The Griquas
24. The Barolong