Who were the Koi-Koi peoples of Southern Africa?
The Khoikhoi (some spells the name khoekhoe) were the first herders to arrive in the Waterberg area. They originated in the hills of Angola and Central Africa but their exact movements are still hotly debated. What we do know is that the Khoikhoi came through South Africa in two distinct waves. The first wave came through the area that we now call Namibia, and the second moved through the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. It was the Khoikhoi that introduced sheep to South Africa, and the now endangered race of fat-tailed sheep were their pride and joy.
These were the same people that the first European settlers encountered at the fairest Cape, calling them the "Hottentotte". These people had a very interesting past. They were used as cheap labour and driven out of their normal ranges. The Hottentotte were also famous, especially one very important lady named Saartjie Baardman. Baardman was paraded around England and France as a curiosity from the ‘new world’ in the late 17th century. More about her history at another time. The modern day Griekwa people living in the Kalahari and Northern parts of the Cape are decedents of these fascinating people.
Their art seems to be crude compared to the much finer paintings of the Bushman, but it is like comparing the great masters Rembrandt and Picasso.
Images above: Jan van Ribeeck meets the Khoikhoi, and a Khoikhoi rock art painting of a fat-tailed sheep.
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