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Who are the Nama people of South Africa and Namibia?

3 Answers

  • 9 years ago
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    Nama (in older sources also called Namaqua) are an African ethnic group of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. They traditionally speak the Nama language of the Khoe-Kwadi (Central Khoisan) language family, although many Nama now speak Afrikaans. The Nama are the largest group of the Khoikhoi people, most of whom have largely disappeared as a group, except for the Namas. Many of the Nama clans live in Central Namibia and the other smaller groups lives Namaqualand, which today straddles the Namibian border with South Africa.

    For thousands of years, the Khoisan peoples of South Africa and southern Namibia maintained a nomadic way of life.

    From 1904 to 1907, the Nama, along with the Herero took up arms against the Germans, who had colonized present-day Namibia. This war led to the Herero and Namaqua Genocide in which 10,000 Nama, 50% of the total Nama population, perished.[citation needed]

    Following the discovery of diamonds at the mouth of the Orange River in the 1920s, however, prospectors began moving into the region, establishing towns at Alexander Bay and Port Nolloth, a process that accelerated the appropriation of traditional lands that had begun early in the colonial period. Under apartheid, remaining pastoralists were encouraged to abandon their traditional lifestyle in favor of village life.

    The Nama people originally lived around the Orange River in southern Namibia and northern South Africa. The early colonialists referred to them as Hottentots. Their alternative historical name, "Namaqua", simply stems from the addition of the Khoekhoe language suffix "-qua/khwa", meaning "people" (found in the names of other Southern African nations like the Griqua)

    In 1991, a portion of Namaqualand (home of the Nama and one of the last true wilderness areas of South Africa) became the Richtersveld National Park. In December 2002, ancestral lands, including the park, were returned to community ownership and the governments of South Africa and Namibia embarked on the development of a transfrontier park from the west coast of southern Africa to the desert interior, absorbing the Richtersveld National Park. Today, the Richtersveld National Park is one of the few places where the original Nama traditions survive. Here, the Nama still move with the seasons and speak their language. The traditional Nama dwelling - the |haru oms, or portable rush-mat covered domed hut - is a reflection of a nomadic way of life, offering a cool haven against the blistering heat of the sun, yet easy to pack and move if grazing lands become scarce.

    At the dawn of the 19th century, Oorlam people encroached Namaqualand and Damaraland. They likewise descended from indigenous Khoikhoi but are a group who mixed with slaves from Madagascar, India, and Indonesia.[1] After two centuries of assimilation into the Nama culture, many Oorlams today regard Khoikhoigowab (Damara/Nama) as their mother tongue. The distinction between Namas and Oorlams has gradually disappeared over time to an extent where they are today regarded as one ethnic group, despite their different backgrounds.

    In general the Nama practice a policy of communal land ownership. Music, poetry and story telling are very important in Nama culture and many stories have been passed down orally through the generations.

    The Nama have a culture that is rich in the musical and literary abilities of its people. Traditional music, folk tales, proverbs, and praise poetry have been handed down for generations and form the base for much of their culture. They are known for crafts which include leatherwork, skin karosses and mats, musical instruments (such as reed flutes), jewelery, clay pots, and tortoiseshell powder containers.

    The traditional dress of Nama women consists of long, formal dresses that resemble Victorian traditional fashion. The long, flowing dresses were developed from the style of the missionaries in the 1800s, and this traditional clothing is today an integral part of the Nama nation's culture.

    They have largely abandoned their traditional religion through the sustained efforts of Christian (and now Muslim) proselytizers. The majority of the Nama people in Namibia today are therefore Christian with a small Muslim minority.

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  • 4 years ago

    Nama People

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  • Sarah
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    The most commonly spoken language in South Africa is Afrikaans; the second most commonly spoken language in South Africa is Dutch. Charlize Theron would know for sure. She's from South Africa.

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