Slike stranica





(Read at Meeting of British Association, 1891.)


(Continued from page 485.)

I SHALL say but little about the flora and fauna, as full accounts have already appeared about them. Concerning the former, I should like to refer to the excellent observations and descriptions given by Dr. Schinz in his recently-published book. There are two distinct kinds of vegetation, viz., that of the coast region and that of the Hinterland, a division which is in close relationship with the before-mentioned meteorological variations in these parts of the country. The former is composed of Pelargonia, Zygophyllum, Salsola, Ectadium, Mesembryanthemum, Aristida, and other species, as well as the peculiar Welwitschia and Acanthosicyos; several kinds of Euphorbias forming a transition to the flora of the Interior. With reference to the latter, Pechuel-Loesche makes another distinction, viz., plants dependent chiefly on the rain, and the vegetation which requires a permanent underground water-supply for existence. As regards. area, the former occupy by far the greater part of South-West Africa, most of the land having the character of steppes covered with grass and bushes. After rain has fallen, especially from January to May, many parts of the country are covered with vegetation but during the dry season show hardly any sign of vegetable life. Only where underground water is found do trees grow; and the land is therefore without forests, with the exception of that part near the Cunene where water is more plentiful, and forests consisting of Copaifera, Berchemia, Terminalia, and Gardenia trees are found. Four species of trees, three of which belong to the acacias (A. erioloba, horrida, and albida), are the representatives of the under20


ground-water vegetation throughout the country, whilst the fourth, the Omumborombonga of the Ovaherero (Combretum primigenium) is much rarer and does not grow south of the Tsoachaub. The Adansonia is found only near the Ngami and in Ambo-land. Of smaller trees, tamarisks (Tamarix articulata) and the so-called ebony tree (Euclea pseudoebenus) should be mentioned.

The fauna has changed greatly during the last thirty or forty years, as such enormous numbers of all kinds of animals-especially antelopes, lions, buffaloes, rhinoceroses, giraffes, etc.—which were met with when the country was first explored, are no longer to be found in any part of South-West Africa, on account of their ceaseless slaughter by European hunters as well as by the natives since the latter have possessed breechloading guns. The most important animal, the elephant, has almost disappeared from the countries in question, and is found only in the neighbourhood of Lake Ngami; but even there it has become much less numerous, and the time has gone by when, as Andersson reports, 1200 pounds of ivory could be bought at Lake Ngami for a musket. This is not to be wondered at, if we consider that, according to Livingstone, in three years not less than 900 elephants were killed near the Zouga River alone; and how much their number has diminished is shown by the present very sunall ivory export from Walvish Bay, which amounts to about 1500 lbs. per annum, whilst in 1875 it was as high as 37,000 lbs. Most of this ivory comes from Ambo-land, and elephants are still found occasionally in the northern and north-eastern parts of Damara-land, and even in the Kaoko, but these are only single specimens which have migrated from the more eastern countries. There is no doubt that the number of various kinds of animals would increase again if some protective measures were taken in this respect; and we have already stated that, e.g., near Grootfontein, thousands of antelopes and other animals have been found since this district was deserted on account of the war between the Hottentots and Ovaherero. Reptiles, especially snakes and lizards, are found in a great variety of species; crocodiles live in the Cunene and Okavango, but not in the Orange River. Locusts (Gryllus devastator and other species) are at times a great plague to the country. The tsetse is found only in the most eastern districts, and oxen may therefore he employed almost everywhere in South-West Africa as draught-cattle. Two kinds of termites should be mentioned: the Cape termite, occurring in Great Nama-land, with the exception of the coast region; whilst Termes bellicosus does not live south of Damara-land.

The population of South-West Africa is very sparse considering the vast area of the whole territory. It consists of very different tribes, viz., Hottentots and Bushmen, Bastards and Hill Damara, and various Bantu tribes, of which the Ovaherero and Ovambo are the most important.

The southern parts of South-West Africa are chiefly inhabited by the Nama or Namaqua, who, as is well known, together with the Koranna (living more to the east), have the collective name of Hottentots. Hahn and Olpp have shown that "Namaqua" is not their proper name, and the expression Nama is therefore now generally adopted instead. They must be divided into three groups, viz., the Topnaar,

Orlam, and Nama proper. The Topnaar are of subordinate importance; they live in the neighbourhood of Walvish Bay, Sandwich Harbour, and Cape Cross; are poor, and near Sandwich Harbour subsist chiefly on fish. At Walvish Bay they make themselves useful as labourers, and have improved considerably under European influence. Their entire number hardly amounts to 400. The Orlam are tribes of much greater importance. They have immigrated from Cape Colony into Great Namaland, and have driven the original inhabitants more to the east. But in the course of time they have mixed considerably with them, so that to-day it is difficult in many instances to draw strict ethnographical distinctions between them. These wanderings across the Orange River did not take place only in the last century and at the beginning of the present, for we know from the earliest travellers who visited South Africa that even for a long time previously the restless Hottentot tribes of Cape Colony were accustomed to migrate towards the north. The Orlam form the most active element of the Nama nation, and several of their chiefs, especially Jager and Jonker Africaner, were, as is well known, the terror of South Africa, on account of their waging continuous war with all their neighbours and of the cruelties committed by them. We will not go into details; it is enough to say that Jonker and his tribe at one time subjugated the whole of South-West Africa from the Orange River to the Cunene, and that he had a perfect right to style himself the king of Nama-, Damara-, and Ambo-land. The inhabitants of Bethany, Bersaba, Gobabis, and Gibeon are chiefly Orlam; whilst those of Hoachanas, Haruchas, and Keetmanshoop belong to the original inhabitants of the country, the Nama proper, to whom belong the Veldschoendrager, Bondelzwart, Franzmann, the Red Nation, etc.

Most of these Hottentots, to the total number of about 10,000, lead the restless life of nomads and hunters, cattle-rearing and agriculture being the occupations of only a small proportion of them; but constant quarrels and feuds amongst themselves, or wars against the Ovaherero, have brought this once powerful nation to the brink of ruin. Since the commencement of this century missionaries have done their best to improve the state of the Nama and to induce them to lead a regular life; but, with very few exceptions, they have not succeeded, as the natives almost always returned to their unsettled mode of life after the lapse of some time. They might have become a valuable part of the population, as they are intelligent and not at all disinclined to European civilisation; but it is very questionable whether they will relinquish their bad habits, which become, of course, constantly worse, as long as the incessant wars continue, in which the most atrocious cruelties are committed, although, according to the missionary statistics, more than one-third of the Nama profess to be Christians. Calling themselves the "yellow people," they despise all their black neighbours; and since they have become possessed of modern fire-arms they are a constant danger to the peaceful development of the country. The question of the origin of the Hottentots is, in spite of the many efforts of Bleek, Lepsius, Hahn, Fritsch, Schinz, and others to discover it, still unexplained, and it appears as if it would never be solved conclusively. Bleek has tried to show that the Hottentots in

former times migrated from East Africa southward, and afterwards were driven westward by Kafir tribes; but to assume that they came from the Red Sea, and to identify their name with the Hadendoa, as Olpp has done, is entirely hypothetical. Schinz is inclined to regard them as a bastard race, between the San and an extinct race of light colour, and Fritsch has expressed a similar opinion; but neither can this assumption be supported by any substantial arguments. To add to the difficulty, the Hill Damara speak the same language as the Hottentots, but are of entirely different appearance, viz., black and somewhat similar to the Negro tribes of West Africa; so that it is hardly possible, so long as no fresh proofs are forthcoming, to form any conclusions about the origin of the Hottentots or their relation to the other inhabitants of South Africa. The Ovaherero, who live north of them in the country east of Walvish Bay and in the northern Omaheke, are a totally different race. They are Bantu, and their language differs but little from those of more northern nations. There can be no doubt that the Ovaherero, not many centuries ago, migrated southward into their present country. Their total number amounts to about 100,000 souls, thus forming a much greater proportion of the population than the Nama. Their chief occupation is cattle-rearing, for which their country is well adapted, and their mode of life is similar in this respect to the Kafirs'. They were originally divided into two groups, the Ovaherero and Ovambundjeru, who are, however, now so greatly mixed that it is difficult to discover any distinction between them. "Damaras," as they are often named, is a Hottentot expression which is not used by the Ovaherero themselves. Omaruru, Otjimbingue, and Okahandja are the principal places in their country, Omaruru being the largest town, Otjimbingue the central trading-place, and Okahandja the residence of the most influential Ovaherero chief.

Formerly the Ovaherero were more powerful, and Andersson heard, e.g., at the Ngami, that the Damara frequently visited this lake, making war on the Bechuana living there. But now they are weakened by the different wars with the Hottentots. It seems that these wars commenced as far back as the beginning of our century, even before Jonker Africaner was asked by the "Red Nation" to assist them against the Damara, as Schmelen, already in 1814, was prevented by war from entering the Damara-country, coming from Great Nama-land. Jonker's victories over the Ovaherero as well as over his rivals amongst the Hottentots are well known. Shortly after his death (1861) the war broke out again, and lasted with varying fortune till 1870, when through the influence of Hahn peace was concluded. Some years later Palgrave made treaties with the different Nama and Ovaherero chiefs, and friendly relations seemed to exist everywhere. But a quarrel between some servants of Maharero, the late Ovaherero chief, led to the foul massacre (1880) of most of the Hottentots who had settled in Damara-land, and the war consequently broke out afresh, interrupting Palgrave's peaceful mission. From all sides the Ovaherero were attacked by the Hottentots, but without much success. Hahn, who again tried to make peace, was this time unsuccessful; and when Hendrik Witbooi took the command of the Hottentots, he not only attacked the Ovaherero but also

those of the Hottentot chiefs who would not follow him, committing the most atrocious cruelties. Hendrik entirely disregarded the ultimatum sent to him by Dr. Goering, the German Imperial Commissioner, and his last attack on the Ovaherero was directed against Otjimbingue, the chief German settlement in Damara-land, which he burned down in September last in the presence of the German officials. It is expected that Germany will soon put a stop to this state of affairs, which ruins not only the Ovaherero and Nama, but also makes every effort for the development of German colonial enterprise impossible.

Scattered between Hottentots and Ovaherero, live the so-called Hill Damara or Hankoin, the number of whom is, according to Viehe, about 35,000. It is known that they are entirely without property, and, like the Bushmen, are treated as outlaws by the Damara and Hottentots. Their origin is unknown. The Nama language, as has already been mentioned, is spoken by them, but, as Pechuel-Loesche asserts, with variations and a different accent. They are a good and peaceful element of the population, willing to work, and glad to improve their poor circumstances. They live chiefly in the mountainous parts of Herero-land, especially the Erongo, Etjo, and Omuveroume mountains, as well as in the Kaoko and the source-region of the Black and White Nosop.

The Bushmen, who in the Kalahari lead a similar life to the Hill Damara, are at present but imperfectly known; and Schinz, who has studied them carefully, points out that they are often confounded with degenerate half-breeds of Hottentots, Hill Damara, Ovaherero, Bushmen, etc., whom Brincker calls Hottentot-Bushmen, and who are ethnographically totally different from the real Bushmen. Although of small stature they are somewhat taller than the dwarfs of Equatorial Africa, having an average height of 4 ft. 6 in., and are usually found in bands of from 300 to 400 people. Their total number is about 10,000. The asserted equality of their origin with the Equatorial dwarfs is not yet sufficiently proved; but it is most remarkable to learn that Schulz and Hammar met, on their journey from the Chobe to the Cubango river, a tribe called the Mossaro or Mossakere, who are of Bushman-like appearance and habits; and I consider it not impossible that they form the connecting link between the dwarfs of the north and the inhabitants of the Kalahari.

Bastards is the name given to about 2000 natives who formerly immigrated from Cape Colony, and are descendants of Europeans and Hottentots. They live in Great Nama-land at Rehoboth, Grootfontein, and many other places, but have suffered greatly during the present war. Many of them were obliged to leave their settlements, and we have seen, e.g., that the fertile district of Grootfontein is at present entirely deserted. Nominally Christians, they are an industrious people who make a living by agriculture, cattle-rearing, or as wagon-drivers and hunters. They form decidedly the best and most civilised element of the population of South-West Africa.

Between Damara-land and the Cunene live the Ovambo, who, like the Ovaherero, are Bantu, and are divided into a number of independent tribes, viz., the Ovambo of Ondonga, the Ovakuambi, Ongandjera,

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