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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Topnaar or Hottentot? The people on the top revisited
Authors:Damme, P. VanISNI
Eynden, V. Van denISNI
Periodical:Afrika Focus
Geographic term:Namibia
ethnic groups
External link:https://doi.org/10.21825/af.v8i3-4.5846
Abstract:The Topnaar people, who live in the Namib desert, belong to the Nama, who for their part belong to the Khoi-Khoin ethnic group. The Khoi-Khoin were called Hottentots by the first European colonizers. The Topnaar live in two areas of Namibia, viz. the Kuiseb valley and Sesfontein. They are among the oldest inhabitants of Namibia. Their history is not completely known. The earliest recorded presence of Topnaar in the Walvisbay area goes back to 1670. According to oral tradition, the Topnaar came from the north prior to occupying the Walvisbay territory. The Topnaar of the lower Kuiseb valley traditionally live by herding cattle, gardening, and gathering the '!nara', a cucurbit which grows in the wild. Although the Khoi-Khoin are traditionally nomadic, the Kuiseb Topnaars' mobility is restricted by the environmental conditions of the area. At the time of research (1991-1992), 400 Topnaar lived along the Kuiseb River. About 100 Topnaar presently live in Sesfontein, where irrigated agriculture is possible. Every male inhabitant owns a part of the irrigated fields. The major crops are wheat, corn and tobacco.