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Khoi-Bushman....building a Nation

Updated on December 8, 2012
Bushman in Botswana
Bushman in Botswana

My search for identity

!Gai Tses (greetings),

During the years of Colonisation and apartheid, in South Africa, there existed a group of people who were neither Black nor White. This group consisted of people of mixed race as well as people from the Indigenous People. The Indigenous People i refer to is of course the Khoi and the Boesman(Bushman).

The Government of the day therefor decided to put these Indigenous People into a group with other "undefined people" and call that group "Coloured".

Please note:

  • that in my search i have discovered that the "San" People prefer to be known as "Boesman"
  • in South Africa the Khoi and Boesman are Indigenous People and all Black tribes are Traditional

Identity Crisis

Approximately 16 years into the existence of the new democratic South Africa and the Indigenous People are still fighting for their identity.There is no official recognition given to their language, their culture or identity as Indigenous People. It is as if they do not exist. The Government of the day has established a FUNDED body known as CONTRLESA or The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa which looks after the needs of the TRADITIONAL tribes but no structure for the INDIGENOUS tribes.

Here below is an extract of the draft bill......:


(English text signed by the President)

[Assented to: 11 December 2003]

[Commencement date: 24 September 2004]

[Proc. R46 / GG 26839 / 20040923]


To provide for the recognition of traditional communities; to provide for the establishment and recognition of traditional councils; to provide a statutory framework for leadership positions within the institution of traditional leadership, the recognition of traditional leaders and the removal from office of traditional leaders; to provide for houses of traditional leaders; to provide for the functions and roles of traditional leaders; to provide for dispute resolution and the establishment of the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims; to provide for a code of conduct; to provide for amendments to the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Act, 1998; and to provide for matters connected therewith."

If one looks at the introduction of the above bill then one sees that there is no provision made for Indigenous People.

For further important insights on the problems regarding the draft bill, please click here.

Some Coloured people seem to be hanging on to that "identity label" because they have not found their roots or are embarrassed to embrace their past. As I see it, if they continue to do this they stand to lose a lot.

To begin to understand what i mean by "a lot" i would like to point to:

United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous People

In this document is enshrined issues such as the right to self determination, the protection of intellectual property, issues of indigenous land etc.

whats happening now!

Very recently i saw a document which is called the National Traditional Affairs Bill which is being introduced by Government. I was absolutely shocked.

In this document the minister of Traditional Affairs, guided by a committee called the National Khoisan Council (est. May 1999), proposes the amendment to the "National House of Traditional Leaders Act" to make provision for the "Khoisan" INDIGENOUS" People.

In that Act there is also the promise, of course, of remuneration for leaders and those who are active on municipal level.

My questions are as follows:

  • How can a traditional council decide on Indigenous affairs?
  • Is this bill not in contravention of the United Nations Bill on the rights of Indigenous People?
  • What about the right to self determination?
  • How can a committee decide whether you are Khoi or not?
  • Why are the Khoi languages such as Nama, the most widely spoken of the KhoiBoesman languages, not recognised?
  • Why did the administration stop the teaching of KhoiBoesman languages at schools in Pella and !Khwa Ttu.?

The FATE of Coloured People....

It seems that with the above developments the fate of "Coloured people hangs in the balance. In other words, if you are found not to be according to the criteria of the proposed bill, then this also disqualifies you from your rights according to the UN declaration. Once again it would leave Coloured People without an identity and once again a non-people.

A huge majority of South Africans will tell you that the KhoiBushman people do not exist and yet we do. I am a member of one of the local tribes in Cape Town called the !Xoraxou//ais

This is a list of the Tribes that are active today in and around the Cape Town area and the rest of the Western Province:

1. !Koraxou||ais ( Gorachouqua)
2. !Kore|nae||ais (Goringhaincona)
3. !Kore|nae||ais (Goringhaiqua)
4. |Oxo||ais (Cochoqua)
5. |Nusen||ais of Kora (Hessequa)
6. Outeniqua
7. !Kore||ais of Kora (Gouriqua)
8. Inqua
9. Attaqua (Atta||ais - !Kora)
10. Chainouqua

Royal Families:
January Royal House
Johannes Royal Family

Toa tama !kham ge (the struggle continues)

Hoodia Plant
Hoodia Plant


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    • jeanihess profile image


      6 years ago from Cape Town South Africa

      It is about land hey... about diluting the existence, the legitimacy and the roots of a people and their descendents - and some say about creating a new system of Bantustans...

    • profile image

      !Gorab Desmond 

      6 years ago

      I fully agree


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