Reconstructing the Past - the Khoikhoi
Religion and Nature
The Khoisan pages
An educational information resource
Provided by the Future Perfect Corporation
The Khoikhoi attached special significance to the moon. The new and full moons were important times for rainmaking rites and dancing, and it seems that the moon was viewed as the physical manifestation of a supreme being associated with heaven, earth and especially rain (of key significance to people in drier regions, whose existence was so dependent upon rainfall).
Amongst the Nama two prominent figures stand out in their religious mythology. The first is Tsui-//goab, the deity who was sometimes seen as the founding ancestor of the Khoikhoi. He was 'the creator, the guardian of health, the source of prosperity and abundance, and above al the controller of the rain and its associated phenomena of clouds, thunder and lightening.' By contrast, //Gaunab was 'primarily an evil being, who causes sickness or death.' The other major figure is Haitsi-aibib, a folk hero and magician of great repute who could change his form. Haitsi-aibib died many times in different places, but had the ability to come to life again - often being reborn in a different form. His 'graves' are widely distributed, and it was seen as good luck for passers-by to add to the piles of stones already there, or to leave branches, pieces of their clothing, or skins.
Reconstructing the Past
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What did they do?
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Religion and Nature
The reference books used for the development of this site are recommended reading of the University of Cape Town and may be purchased online at Kalahari.net: Discovering Southern African Rock Art, The Bushmen of Southern Africa, Once We Were Hunters, The Cape Herders.
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