A Khoisan village on the banks of the Orange River.
THE village that appears in this view is at the Garcep, (Oranje or Orange River), and inhabited a tribe denominated Korah Hottentoten *), settled on the south bank of that river, and who are, perhaps, the best featured of all the different nations or hordes of this extraordinary race of human beings. Their huts are composed of rush mattings spread over bended sticks; they are of an hemispherical form, about six feet high, and eighteen in diameter, with an aperture on the side for an entrance.
The trees on each side of the river, in the vicinity of this village, are tall and spreading: among which a species of Mimosa was the most abundant. Their manner of swimming across the river with their sheep and goats, as introduced in this plate, appeared somewhat singular.
A man lays himself on the trunk or branch of a large tree, about six or seven feet in length, into which at a few inches distance from one of its extremities, a pin is fixed, which the swimmer holds perpendicularly with one hand, while the other is employed in keeping the head of the animal he carries with him above water. By directing the point of the log obliquely against the current, and at the same time striking with his feet, he, in some degree, prevents his float from drifting with the stream.
This place was the first from the boundary of the Cape Colony that presented the traces of human habitation on a journey of upwards of thirty days from Cape Town; and it was the more interesting, from the circumstance of meeting with some members of the Christian mission, who had here commenced their generous labors. They had been lately deputed from that respectable body the Missionary Society in Europe; a society which, though chiefly English, includes the pious and benevolent of different countries, and whose exertions to promulgate the truths of the Gospel in the South of Africa, already promise, by the zealous endeavours of Mr. Keikerer, and Dr. Van Der Kemp, to be rewarded with extraordinary success.
Source: African scenery and animals by Samuel Daniell, William Daniell, Thoma Dowdeswell. London 1804.
*) Hottentot was a collective term first used by the Boers in colonial times for the Khoikhoi family of peoples living in today’s South Africa and Namibia, to which the Nama, the Korana and Griqua (Orlam and Baster) belonged. It is now assumed that the Dutch term Hottentot has been used mainly in a derogatory, racist and discriminatory manner since its introduction. Moreover, the English word Hottentots has been applied to people with a supposedly inferior culture and lack of intellectual ability.