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The Nama People

an overview of Namibia's population

The Nama originally lived around the Orange River in southern Namibia and northern South Africa in the mid nineteenth century their leader Jan Jonker Afrikaner led them to the are of present day Windhoek. Even before this the Nama lived in Namaqualand and were called Hottentots but were pushed northwards by the European farmers. There are about 60 000 Nama people who live in Namibia and they are thought to be the true descendants of the Khoikhoi.

Unfortunately they came into conflict with the Herero, who were already in this area, and the groups fought many wars. Eventually the German government relocated the warring groups to several reserves.

The Nama have much in common with the San (Bushmen) sharing the same linguistic roots and features, as with the San people the Nama have light skin, and a small delicate frame. The Nama language share a common language with the Damara people. The Nama consist of thirteen groups (listed with Nama name and European name in parenthesis) the !Kharkoen (Simon Cooper), /Hoaaran//Aixallaes (Afrikaner), =Aonin (Topnaar), Kai//Khaun, Khauben (Rooi Nasie), /Hai/Khau-an (Berseba tribe), Orlams, //Habobe/Kharloan (Veldskoendraers), //Khau/goan (Swartbooi), !Gami=nun (Bondelswarts), /Koenesen (Witbooi), //Okain (Groot Doders) and Kai/Khau-an (Lamberts). The imaginative spelling of the Nama names is due to the fact they have five clicks in the language, and these are their denotations.

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

One of the greatest Namibian leaders Hendrik Witbooi was a Nama leader who heroically harassed the German occupiers from his base in the Naukluft mountains and played a large part in the history of Namibia's first liberation struggle. Today he is fondly remembered by all sections of the Namibian Population and was chosen as the head which appears on all Namibian banknotes.

The people and population of Namibia

  • Nama People: Nama Lady
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The Cababnas | Camp Provenance

Cabana's and permanently erected tents on the banks of the Orange River. This camp also serves as the starting base for several river rafting & canoeing adventures

Goibib Mountain Lodge

An owner run lodge, set in a scenic and mountainous area, just off the main road between Keetmanshoop & Grunau. Comfortable well equipped rooms are complimented by game drives (including night drives) on the large farm

Norotshama Lodge

Nestled in the great valley of the Karas region and situated on the banks of the Orange River, about 50km from the South African / Namibia border post

Orange River Lodge

The Orange River Lodge is situated near Noordoewer on the border between South Africa and Namibia

Sandfontein Lodge

A small lodge set on the third biggest game reserve in Namibia. Expect tranquility and a very personalised service in a remote environment

The White House

Not quite Washington DC! This remote accommodation is basic but extremely popular with those looking for good honest accommodation.

Accommodation in Swakopmund

Accommodation in Namibia