EDITED BY THE WORKING COMMITrEE OF THE SOUTH
AFR IC ~N FOLK-LORE -OCIETY.
Sempler ,f,'i qJu;d er y1f;' 2.
VOL. 1.-PART V.
SE PTEM BER,
Tlie Flering oGill and the
Rock, A EHere-r Legend
ProLvelb of the Ov.iherci ...
Some Religious Ideas and
C'uAtornis of the OI'aherer6 ;
Part I.-I.:e.s about God,
Creation, &c ... ...
Contributed by the Rev. H. Beider-
becke ... ... 76
DARTER BROTHERS AND WALTON.
EDITED BY THE WORKING COMMITTEE OF THE SOUTH
AFRICAN FOLK-LORE SOCIETY.
Semper novi quid ex Africa.
VOL. II.-PART V.
The Fleeing Girls and the
Rock, A Herero Legend
Proverbs of the Ovaherer6 ...
Some Religious Ideas and
Customs of the Ovaherer6 ;
Part I.-Ideas about God,
Creation, &. ...
Contributed by the Rev. 11. Beider-
becke ... ... 76
DARTER BROTHERS AND WALTON.
SAUL BOLOMON AND 00., PRINTERS,
NOTICE TO CONTRIBUTORS.-
Papers intended for publication in the Journal published by the
South African Folk-lore Society should be addressed to the Sepre!arqy
of the Society, as follows:
Miss L. C. LLOYD,
care of Mrs. BLEEK,
near Cape Town.
A HERERO LEGEND.
(Contributed by the Rev. H. Beiderbecke.)
Ape hara otyimbaharero. Ovanatye ovakazona ave tung'
ozondyuo mondondu. Nu tyi va tung' ozondyuo, ozonganda
aze tyindi. Na tyi va kara mondyira moratyindo, ovanatye
va hungirire, ave tya: "Nga nomutuaro, a pe ina! Ngu
nomutuaro, a pe ina !" Nu va hungire kooina: Kambureye
omituaro, ozondyuo zeta maze hihama."
Nu tyi va kotokere ketundu ave ongasana mondyuo imue
mondondu. Ovatua tyi va ende moutuku * uire
momuvero uondyao ave hiti.
Nguina omuingona omukazona omunene, aa horekua i
ovanatye ovakuao. Ena re: Onihova. Ndino ovatua otyi
va varekere ovanatye avehe, ave tya: "Ingai ouandye!
Ingui ouandye." Ndino tyi va mana, pe nomutua otyiku-
rarume tyinene; ae tyi tya munu omuatye ingui, ngua horekua,
omuingona. Ae tyi tya tya: Ouandye ingui!" Ndino
omutua ingui omuhona ae tya tya: "Ouandye!" ngu mbi ri
omuhona, omuini uondyira. Na tyi ma kakupua i ove, ngua
kuurpa, ua tyiti vi ?" A rire tyi va rara.
Muhuka a rire tyi va kaeva. Ae tyi pa seua ingui omtitua
omukurarume. Ae tya tya: "Me tiakana omuvero, me
tyevere ene." Ae tya tya kovanatye: "Tyi mbi hia rdrd
THE FLEEING GIRLS AND THE ROCK.*
Thereis a tale [which runs thus (1)]: Girls were build-
ing houses in the river (e). And when-they had built the
houses, the werfts removed to new pastui es. And \ hen they
were on the way marching (3), the children spoke, they
said: "He who has a burden [!et him] give [it] to his
mother He who has a burden [let him] give [it] to his
mother !" And they spoke to their mothers: Take the
burdens, the houses cause us pain [i.e., our heart is
attached to them]."
And when they had returned to the forsaken werft,
they assembled in a house in the river. Bergdamaras
when they went in the night * fell upon the door of the
house, they entered.
The "favorite one," the "big" girl, (4) was hidden
away by the other children. Her name [was] Onihova.
Now the Beigdamaras wanted to have all the children for
wives, saying, This one is mine! his one is mine!"
When they had finished, there remained [still] a very old
Bergdamara; it so happened that he saw this chi'd, who
was hidden away, the "favorite one." So he said: Mline
this one is!" Then said the Bergdamara, the Chief:
" Mine I who am Chief, the owner of the way. (5) How
then could she marry thee, thou who art old ?" Thereupon
On the following day, they went hunting. That old
Beigdamara was left behind. He said': "I lay myself cross-
wise before the door, I take care of you." Thereupon he
0 [Rendered into English from the Rev. H. Beiderbecke's German
translation by Miss L. ehunke.]
me tya: Graa! Graa! hia rara. Ndino tyi mba rara,
orondu tyi mba tya: Fau! Fuu mba rara." Ovanatye va
puratena kutya ua rara tyiri. Ndino eye ua tyere : Graa!
Graa!" ouo ka va pitire. Indino eye tya tyere: "Fuu!
Fuu!" bvanatye avehe, ngu novitenda a kutu, ngu novitenda
a kutu. Ndino a rire tyi va katuka kombanda yotyikururume
okupita. Ae tyi va katoora omutue nave huasana povipara
viao. Ndino a rire tyi va katoora eoe enene orondongero, a
rire tyi va emene potyiuru tyomutua otyikururume, ouruvi ua
A rire tyi va kaenda, ave teza otatyindo tuao. A rire tyi
ve keya moruua orunene, ndua hapa oty'ondyuo onene. A
rire tya kurama omukazona, ingui omuingona, a ma tya:
" Mbemburukire yena urumbu! Mbemburukire yena urumbu!"
Oruua aru pamburuka. Omuatye ingui omukazona omu-
ingdna a rire tya tenge okuhita nomuangu ue. A rire tyi va
Pe na omukazona umue okasiona ; ena re : Okahavandye.
Navehe tyi-va hitire, oruua kombunda yano aru pata. Ndino
moukoto uoruua Onihova ua raere kovakaao, kutya: "Oruua
tyi maru ningota, o tukana !" Ouo va tya: i!" Nu indino
Kahavandye ua tyere kovakuao: Oruvi, oruvivivi tyi mara
ningota ovandu, nakuzui aru tukanua, rua tyiti vi ?" Opuo,
tyi va muina.
Ovatua tyi va kara mokuti, tyi va kaevere, va zepere
ovipukd. Ndino omutua omuhona ua hindire onyama
kovanatye, kutya mave ta ondyara. Ndino omutua, ngua
said to the children: When I do not yet sleep, 1 say
Graa ? Graa (6) [then] sleep I not yet. After that
when I sleep, I say : Fuu! Fuu! (7) [then] I sleep.'
The children listened [to hear if he really slept. Then he
said : *' Graa! Graa!" [Then] they did not'go out (of
the house). Thereupon, when he said: Fuu Fuu!" all
the children, those [among them] who were wearing iron
[ornaments] fastened [them], those who were wearing
iron [ornaments] fastened them. (8) Then they stepped
over the old man, in order to get outside. Thereupon, they
went to take ashes, and painted one another upon their fore-
heads. (9) Then they went, lifted up a large stone, the
seat of the Chief, (10) and threw [it] on the head of the old
Bergdamara. Ihe brain came out. (1)
Thereupon, they arose and went. They followed the
track of hlieir ti ikkiiig parties [i.e., of tho-l:s who eie
inarching]. As they were going along, they came to a
large flat rock [called Platklip "], which was like a laige
house. There the girl, the favorite, stood still, while she
said: Mbemburukire yena urumbu Mbemburukire yena
urumbu !" (12) The rock opened itself. Then the child,
the favorite girl, entered first with her younger sister.
Then all entered.
There is a little, poor girl, her name is Okahatihadye.
And when all were inside, the rock closed [itself] upon
them. Thereupon, in the interior of the rock, Onihoia spol:i~k
to the others thus: h hien the rock pinches, do not call
nimes!" They said [conisenting]: "Yes." tBut ina-
/louani'tir '. i. to the othebi: l he is bad, y8s bad bad!
bad i if he pinches pedpl'e; aiid why is it now said, on mhtiust
not call him iiames ?" [Then it was] enbugh ; thby e~ve sil~et.
Wi-eh the B dgiaitia'is were in the fildti, wh'et they
were li uing, thi y killed game. Then the B rgdann iA Chitf
seibt hat to the fchildreid; b caute tihy aei' -Iikngfy [,he
etere onyama kovanatye, ue ere okuvaza ovanatye a va hene,
a va zepa ingui otyikururume n'a aruka okukaraera omuhona
ue. Ndino ovatua onyama ve yesa. Va sekamene nave ya
okuteza ovanatye. Nave teza ovanatye nga tyi va vazere
oruua. Nu poruua ondambo ya zengire na rire tyi va kurama
a mave ripura : Ondambo ya i pi ?
Ondio yomuatye a rire tyi ya posa moukoto uoruua.
Ndino ovatua a rire tyi va tya: "Ih! okazera? Ongerenge?"
Mbena avetya: Okazera!" Mbena ave tya: Ongerenge!"
tyi mave ripura. Ndino a rire tyi va ongo amanga nomauta
nominguma viao nave tua kombanda yoruua nouo a rire tyi
va tya: Mamu tya: Ovizeze! nu ngatu yaruke, ovina vietu
tu sie mba, kutya 'ndu matu ya okuvivaza po ? ovanatye
mave tuara? A rire tyi va aruka imb' ovatua.
Ndino a rire tya sekama ingui omukazona omuingona,
Nihova, a tya: Mbemburukire yena urumbu!" Arire tyi
rua paturuka, oruua. Ndino a rire tya piti nomuangu ue.
A rire tyi va piti avehe. Kahavandye a hara okupita mokati
kauo avehe; oruua a rire tyi rua pata. Ovakuao ave tya :
Kahavandye, kurama, ete tu tenge okupita nove kombunda
yetu u pite." Ndino imb' ovakuao a rire tyi va piti. Ndino
.oruua rua pata. Nu Kahavandye a rire tya seua moruua.
Novanatye ovakuao va toorere omanga nomauta nominguma
viovatua narire tyi va kaondya; ave har' okutya ve riheke
koruua: Mbemburukire ena urumbu! Arikana! ing' omuatye
ua hungire otyangu. Oraua aru ha paturuka.
thought]. Then the Bergdamara, who had brought the
meat for the children, found that the children had run away,
a'nd that they had killed the old man; and he went back
in order to tell [it] to his master. Ihen the Bergdamaras
left the meat. They stood up, and went to follow the track
of the children. And they followed the children until
they reached the rock. At the rock, however, the track
was lost, and so they remained standing, asking themselves;
"Whither has the track gone ?"
It then happened that the bell of the child. [the favorite
one "] gave a sound in the interior of the rock. (13) Then
said the Bergdamaras: Ish [What was that ?J A little
bird? An iron wire ?" While they were [thus] asking
themselves [every one in his own heart] some said: "[It was]
a little bird!" others said : [It was] an iron wire."
Thereupon they put together their assegais, bows, and
quivers, and laid [these] on the top of the rock ; and they
[who asserted that it was the sound of iron] said: You say
[' These are] lies.' Well then, let us go back, let us leave
our things here, that [we may see whether] we find them when
we return, or [whether] the children will have taken them
with them." Then they went back, the Bergdamaras.
Then the favorite girl, Nihova, arose, she said: Mbe-
-mburukire yena urumbu Thereupon he, the rock, opened
himself. Now she went out with her younger sister.
Thereupon all went out ; Kahavandye was on the point of
going out among them all, when the rock closed. The
others said: Kahavandye, wait, that we may first go out,
and thou goest out after us." (14) Now the others went out.
Thereupon the rock closed [itself and Kahavandye was left
in the rock. And the other children picked up the assegais,
bows, and quivers of the Bergdamaras, and proceeded on
their way; they tried [indeed] to implore the r9ck : "Mbe-
mburukire ena urumbu! Have mercy! The child has
spoken in her folly." (15) [But] the rock did not open itself,
Ndino ovanatye a rire tyi va i okateza ondambo yorutyindo
ruauo, ngd tyi va kavaza ozonganda zauo. Ndino omuingona
Nihova ovandu avehe va ririre omuatye tyinene, ngua hara
okuta. Ndino ihe ue mu zeperere omukandi omunene. Ndino
ovanatye a rire tyi va kara mozonganda zao.
Kahavandye indino ua sena moruua a me riyarikana
koruua a ma tya: "Mbemburukire yena urumbu! mba
hungire otyangu." Oruua karu zuvire ko. Ongeama a rire
tyi ya ende nga tyi ya vazere oruua. Ndino ongeama ya
hungirire koruua: "Mbemburukire yena urumbu!" Ndino
oruua a rire tyi rua paturuka. Ndino Kahavandye tya har '
okupita ongeama a rire tyi ya ramba omuatye, ngua tezere
ovakuao. Nu mondyira omuatye tyi ma rambua ongeama,
ua tya: me ka tira pekuma rondyno ya mama. Ongeama,
omuatye tya har okuhita mondyuo ya ina, a rire tyi ya
Ndino ovatua otyi va kotokere poruua. Tyi va munu ovina
viauo ovanatye kutya va.tuara, ouo a rire tyi va hara okuteza
katiti nave kotoka poruua. A rire tyi va ru okutonasana,
na rire tyi va yaruka.
Oputyo, otyimbaharere tya anda.
NOTES TO THE FOREGOING LEGEND, BY THE CONTRIBUTOR.
(1.) The translation is asliteral as possible, but here and there words
have been put in parenthesis to make the sense more intelligible.
(2.) The children are fond of playing in the sand, or under the trees
of the periodical rivers, which, during the greater part of the year, are
dry; and there they build huts for themselves, similar to those which
they see their mothers build in the werft.
(3.) Orutyindo means a party of families which is removing to an-
other place. The Hereros, a pastoral nation, are nomads. When, on
Now tlh children went to follow the track of their trek-
king parties, until they reached their werfts. Then all
the people cried over the favorite child, Nihova, who had
so nearly perished. Thereupon her father arranged a large
festivity for her sake.-Henceforth the children remained
ia their wverfts.
During this, Kahavandye had remained behind in the rock,
imploring the rock: Mbemburuhire yena urumbu! I
have spoken in my folly." The rock [however] did not
listen to that. Then it happened that a lion went [along] until
he reached the rock. The lion then said to the rock:
" Mbemburukire yena urumbu !" Thereupon. the rock
opened itself. Now, when Kahavandye desired to go out,
the lion hunted after the child, who was following the track
of the others. And on the way, while it was being pursued
by the lion, the child said: I go to die at the side of my
mother's house! Now the lion, when the child was on
the point of entering its mother's house, took hold [and killed
it]. Now the Bergdamaras had come back to the rock.
When they saw that the children had taken their things
with them, they began to follow the track for a little distance,
and [then] returned to the rock. It happened that they
fought, striking one another, (16) and then they went home.
This is enough, the tale is finished.
one place, the water and grass for the cattle fail, they remove to another.
Hence they have only temporary dwelling-places, ozonganda (werfts
(4.) The eldest unmarried daughter of a Chief is called "The big girl,"
and "Favorite," occupying also a "privileged" position. She is the
guardian and carrier of the sacred fire.
(5.) i.e., the undertaker of the hunting expedition, to whom his fol-
lowers have to deliver all the proceeds of the hunt.
(6.) The guttural snoring sound called in German Der SAger."
(7.) The snoring sound called in German Der Puster."
(8.) That they could not make a noise.
(9.) When the Hereros set out on dangerous expeditions, they are
first painted on the forehead, with the ashes of the sacred fire, by the
"big woman," or by the big girl."
(10.) This stone lies near the sacred fire, the place of sacrifice. Only
the chief orpriest sits down upon it.
(11.) Here it must be remarked, that the Ovaherer6 and Bergdamaras
are born enemies to each other, and that the Omuherer6 considers the
Bergdamaras as not better than the baboons. Before the Ovaherer6 had
firearms, the Bergdamaras may have often avenged themselves on their
oppressors. At present, horrible bloodshed is being comlritted bythe
Ovaherer6 (Damaras) among the Bergdamaras and the Bushmen;
besides making slaves of children and adults. Unfortunately the Berg-
damaras (themselves) sometimes sell some of their own people to the
OMIANO VI OVAHERERO.
(Contributed by the Rev. II. Beiderbecke.')
1. Tyi ri meyo tya kend' eraka.
2. Tya rondo ombaze maatyi rondo omupindi.
3. Ongue i tenisa eoe.
4. Ngue ku tarere kongotue, mu tarera kongotuc ngue
ku tarere kekoro, mu tarera kekoro.
5. Otyingundi tyi enda ku matyi orerua.
6. Tyipo Undya okukura.
7. Tyikutu! Koata ozondendu ze yandyunuke.
o The omiano or proverbs and adages of the Ovaherer6 are stereotype,
but intentionally obscure sayings ; and they are, on this account, often
difficult to translate. I give the following twelve as a specimen, just
as they have been written down by Cornelius Zeraua, the native
schoolmaster at Otyimbingue. I also give a few explanations, together
(12.) This magic sentence cannot be -translated. Perhaps it is
very old Otyiherer6. The people themselves at least say so. Only
the word yena (or ena) is still clear, and means: Name. The word
mbemburukire is not now met with in Otyiherer6, but it may
possibly be a contraction of Ndyi (mbi) zemburukira, which means
Remember me [who I am] or of Ndyi (Inbi) pamburuaira, which
means: Open to me! With respect to the third word in the sentence,
which is also not met with in Otyiherer6, I will only say that Ourumbu
means drought, famine. The root of this word means something yellow.
(13.) The Ovaherer6 girl have sometimes a small iron bell fastened
to their clothes.
(14.) It is the custom of the Ovaherer6, when walking in a line, to
keep the order of their respective ages ana rank.
(15.) Literally : "She has spoken the language of the youngest,"
which has no weight.
(16.) Being without their arms.
PROVERBS OF THE OVAHERERO.
1. It is in the tooth, it troubles the tongue (1).
2. It climbed up the foot, it will climb up the shin-
3. The panther causes the stone to threaten (3).
4.. He who looked at you from behind, look at him
from behind; he who looked at you in front, look
at him in front (4).
5. A weak person goes where he is smiled at (i).
6. Misfortune! Wait for growing older (6).
7. Family Give birth to females (that) they multiply-
with the translation.
[In the Manuscript original, sent down by the Rev. I. Beiderbecke,
the Otyiherer6 text was accompanied by a German translation only.
For an English translation of the latter, we are indebted to the kind
assistance of the Revs; J. Rath and F. Kolbei
8. Ngondi! Peua u huhane.
9. Otyitona tyaa noratu.
10. Tyi ua rire ouyenda a rire tyi ua tyindire.
11. Ouye otyirunduruka onya yohorongo.
12. Otyikondambunda tyi nehaamo nombaze i neputuko.
1. Said to one who has met with some misfortune or other, and who
gives himself the appearance that he does not care about it.
2. The meaning is, for instance : A little war on the borders may
spread over the whole country.
3. Mountainous and rocky parts of the country are in -disrepute on
account of the beasts of prey housing there; hence people fear the
rocks, but they ought rather to fear and blame the animals.-Parents,
or elder brothers and sisters (the stone or rocks of the proverb), are
held responsible for the faults and misdeeds of the younger members
of the family, and should they complain of it as being unfair, this
proverb is given them as an answer.
4. Meaning: Measure for measure ; Tit for tat.
5. Where a poor person has met with kindness, there he likes to go
6. Misfortune waits for the becoming older. Children are happy,
because they know nothing of the troubles and misery of life.
7. The meaning is: Through the females, the family or tribe will
8. When a bargain is offered to a poor man, he becomes frightened
8. Poor One Be given (or receive an offer), that you
may be frightened (or shrink back) (8).
9. (Literally intranslatable). See the explanations (9).
10. Because thou hast eaten, when thou wert travelling,
therefore thou dost want to go again (10).
11. The world is something turning (or changeable), like
the horn of the koodoo (11).
12. The hinder part wishes to sit down, but the foot will
run or wander about. (Difficult to translate lit-
and shrinks back. This proverb is chiefly used when a wife is offered
to some one, and he shrinks at the thought of the expenses and duties
9. In common Otyiherer6 it would perhaps be: Otyitoneno tya
kaondya (tye rizengisa) m'orutu The stroke is hidden in the body to
appear again later. The natives are much inclined to ascribe illness
and pain to blows and knocks, formerly received, or to a fall which
may have.occurred years previously.
10. Some one pays a visit, he is kindly received and well treated.
Coming home to his daily toil, he longs to be abroad again; where,
however, he has seen people only in their Sunday dress, as he is
reminded in this proverb by way of warning.
11. This is firstly smooth and straight, but, further on, twisted and
12. Difficult to translate literally. A traveller comes to a werft, and
begs for something. The owner of the werft refuses ; and the traveller
says to him by means of this proverb : Just at this moment perhaps
thou thinkest that thou dost not need to go round bogging ; but one
day thou also mayst be in my position.
SOME RELIGIOUS IDEAS AND CUSTOMS OF
(Contributed by the Rev. H. Beiderbecke, Missionary at
(IDEAS ABOUT GOD, CREATION, &C.) t
When seven years ago I was on a visit to Kamureti,
a Chief of considerable influence, who lived formerly in the
Kaoko, near the Ovambo, he was vexed when I asserted in
the course of conversation that the Ovaherer6 had no God
(Mukuru), and he said: No, we are not so bad as that, we
also have a God, whom we call Karunga. That was the
first time that I heard the name Karunga for God. I thought,
however, that these Ovaherer6 from the Kaoko had taken
over this appellation from the Ovambo ; and though I found
afterwards that the name Karunga was generally known
by the Ovaherer6, and that they consider it to be a Herero
-name, I still am inclined to think that they derived it from
the Ovambo to whom they are so nearly related, while they
sojourned amongst them, or were their neighbours.
When five years ago the heathen party had so far
prevailed, that the Ovaherer6 left Otyozondyupa and some
of them expressed to their Chief, Kambazembi, their desire
to remain with me andthe Wordof God (Omambo oa
Muhuru), they were answered: What can Mukuru do? We
4 This Mission Station, where I, some years ago, obtained and wrote
what I give here, was established in 1873, in a part of Hereroland
which had not yet been under the influence of civilization and
t [The notes in brackets have here been added by one who is person.
ally acquainted with the Ovaherer6 nation].
believe in Karunga. Look at our oxen and sheep; is
it not Karunga who made us so rich ?
A standing form of speech for an Omuherer6, whenhe has
been preserved from danger (for instance from a snake in
the pdth) is : "Hi tu, mba kamburua, mba takamisiua i
Musisi na Karunga (I do not die, 1 am taken care of and
held by Musisi and Karunga). On being asked: Who is
Musisi? who is Karunga ? they answer: Ndgambi; and
upon being further asked: But who is then Ndyambi ?
they say : The same that you call Mukuru,* we Ovaherer6
call Karunga, who has also the names Musisi and Ndyumbi.-
Upon inquiry: Where does Iarunga live ? they have no
answer, at least not the common people.
' The etymology, if applicable at all to these proper names,
suggests but little. There can be no relation between the
words Karunga God and Erunga thief, as the former is con-
sidered a good being ; we therefore rather look to the word
Omurunga, the fanpalm'-tree, which is considered a 'holy
(sacred) tree amongst the Ovambo, from this palm-tree the
[There can be no doubt that M~lkuru is in Otyiherer6 .the name
for God. When the Herero nation immigrated, about a hundred and
fifty years ago, from the North, it had had for a long time intercourse
with the Western nations who call God by the name Karunga. Such
tribes of the Herero nation, who remained in the neighbourhood of the
Ovambo, adopted, with many other Ovambo words, also that of Karunga.
To these tribes that of Kamureti and the Ozonguatyindu (Kambazembi's)
-belong. The Ovambanderu and other Herero tribes strongly object to
the name Karunga being applied to God instead of IlUkur'u, and main-
tain that the latter is the true Herero name. Quite analogous is the
case with the Kafirs, who lived in proximity to the Hottentot tribes,
from whom they took the name Tixo, for God, and dropped the original
appellation Uniculunkulu; which, however, other Kafir tribes, living,
distant from the Hottentots, retained.]
t Therefore we often also say: Mba hupa- K'Ondyambi na Karunga
"I am saved (because) Nd2yambi and Katrnga (is) with me."
Otunyare or the holy sacrificial dishes of the Ovaherer6
In his Comparative Grammar of South African Lan-
guages,* Dr. Bleek shows the identity of some of the words
for God met with among the Eastern and Western Bantu
nations. Beginning from the Utikulumikulu of the Zulu,
he comes to the Muluniglu in Inhambane, the Mul.igqu
in Ki-hidu, Ki-khmba, and Ki-nika, the Murungu of
Sofala and the Muru7;go or Morufigo of Tette. Had he
been acquainted with it, he might have added, the Kalunga
of the Ovambo, and the Karunga of the Ovaherer6.
*owas regards the etymology of Musisi, I only know
here the two different verbs okusisiz = to produce something
similar (which word is for instance used if a child takes after
his father or mother), and okusisa = to winnow in the wind
(hIluga in Kafir). A northwestern branch language has
or God the word Obasi, which is probably plural, and the
singular, therefore, possibly Musi or Mosi. (In Otyiherer6
otyimbosi also means ghost.) In Sesuto, the word liriti
exists for shadows of the dead," which, with a different
prefix, and changing the letters r and t into s, becomes
Musisi in Otyiherer6. As to Ndyanzbi, it naturally suggests
a connection with ondyambi, reward, payment.
Some of the Bantu languages to the north of the
Ovaherer6 and the Ovambo, viz., Benga, Kongo, and
Angola, respectively have for God or "the, spirit above"
the words Anyambi, Nzambi-a-npungu, aid oNzambi (o-u-
nzambi, divinity), which.appellations are obviously identical
By Karunga, the Cvaherer6 understand a good being.
It is not he who kills or brings people into trouble.
The death of those Ovaherer6 who do not die from old
0 Part 1. Phonology. Care Town, -1862. See pp. 88-92.
age, or by poison, is believed to be brought on by
deceased parents or relatives. If the parents die, the children
do not inherit their riches, but are afterwards often in need,
and among strange people. Now, if such a child (who may
already be grown up) dies, the Ovaherer6 say: Its father or
its mother has said: My child is badly treated, it shall
come here, so that we may be together (Omuatye uandye u
talumisiua u n'ondyara, nge ye ngunn, tu hare pamue, lit.,
Child-mine-it-badly treated it-with hunger-that it-come-
here-[that] we-stay together).
As however the ancestors [are also supposed to] have
power to punish the people for offences, e.g., the non-
observance of traditionary customs, the Ovaherer6 live in
coifstant dread of being brought into misfortune by them
(okuhuhua i tate = being ruined-by-father, ancestor).
Hence the many sacrifices, in order to appease the ancestors
and to disenchant themselves. If an Omuherer6 becomes
ill, he must be disenchanted; and if after that the patient
recovers,:it is said, Uapendurua i Musisi na Karunga iheke
n'omasa, i.e., He has been raised up or made well by Musisi
and Karunga ; his father has no power. From these words
it might be inferred that the ceremonies of the okkuhuura
(= disenchantment), with which a sacrifice is connected, not
only take place in order to ward off the power of enchant-
ment possessed by the departed, but also in order to make
Karunga propitious to [the persons] themselves ; although,
otherwise, it would seem that, as a rule, the offerings are
not presented to Karunga, but to the ancestors; for, it is
only against the latter that one can sin and be ;guilty.
That the people can also transgress against Karunga,and that,
on this account, they should require [to make] atonement,
I have not heard.
Of those people who die in old age and [when] weary
of life, they say, Karunga has bid them come. The
old rich Chief, Kavingava, was mentioned to me by way
of illustration. Should any one visit him now, and, in
astonishment at his great age, ask, How is it that you have
attained to such a great age? he would answer, Tyi ndyi
ha tu, mba kamburua i Mlusisi na Karunga, i.e., I do not die
because Musisi and Karunga are taking care of me; and
were he to die in a few years, he would say, Now I am
called by Karunga.
Karunga is the preserver of life, but, is he also regarded
as its creator ? To this question very unsatisfactory answers
are received, and indeed the whole Ovaherer6 tradition of
creation is far from clear. It would seem that Karunga
has some influence on the powers of nature. Now and then,
it is said that the rain comes from him, that his way is'in
the rolling thunder, and that it is he who hurls the flashes of
lightning. In a violent thunderstorm, the chief person in a
house or village may be heard to pray, Karunga, Musisi, o
ya nguno, katyene m'ovipukaviokutina m'omiti, i.e., Karunga,
Musisi, do not come here, go flash into the animals of the
field and into the trees. They also pray to Karunqa in
other danger; when, for example, among, lions, they pray,
See my distress and anguish ; and help me ; show that thou
art mighty and strong.*
.Now let me make a few remarks on the Herero
tradition of creation, and the notions of the Ovaherer6
about the world and its history. As to the first-
mentioned, the Omumborombonga tree which stands on this
side of Ondonga, plays a great part. There is nothing
particular in the tree, unless it may be its looking old and
antediluvian. The Ovaherer6, in passing it, bow themselves
[The prayers mentioned here might perhaps be traced to the in-
fluence of Christianity, which was introduced into Hereroland thirty-
seven years ago.]
reverently, holding in the hand a bunch of green twigs or
grass, which they stick into it, or otherwise throw down at
its foot. They also enter into a conversation with the tree,
giving the answers themselves in a somewhat altered voice.*
The Ovambo too are said to throw grass and twigs on it,
but only because they believe that a great woman is buried
there, which reminds one of the Nama legend of Heitsi Eibip.
Now, out of this Omumborombonya,-so the Ovaherer6
relate,-came forth in the beginning, a man and a woman.
The latter was called ~Kamangundu. From this Kamangundu
sprung the Ovaherer6, the Ovambo, the -Ovatyaona
(= Betshuina and kindred tribes), and the Nama. I may
just mention here, in passing, that one of the clanships
(eanda) among the Ovaherer6 ascribes its origin to her,
calling her the omukuru ancestresss) of their eanda. The
Bergdamaras and the baboons [are said to have] originated
in the following manner. A discontented Herero girl ran
away into the field, and there fell on a flat rock, upon which
the Bergdamaras and the baboons who live inthe mountains
on ozoseu (edible bulbs) were born. The oxen also came
out of the Omumborombonga; whereas the sheep and goats
sprung from the flat rock in the Kaoko (a northern district
The different colours of men (restricted of course to the
neighboring tribes), and their dispersion. have the following
[The Ovaherer6 generally have this form of salutation when they
come in sight of the identical Omumborombonga or other sacred trees
of the same species : Tate lMuklur or Muakiuruzme ; u zera! which
means.: Father or Grandfather Muluru, thou art holy! (Zera means to
be forbidden, similar to the tabu of the South Seas.) Formerly,
the Ovahererb had such a reverence for the tree that they even would
not sit down in its shade ; in fact every Omaunborombonga tree was
" tabooed" to them.]
When the children of Kamangundu were born, or, as the
other version has it, tyi tua piti m'omuti (when we came out
of the tree), the people killed an ox. Then came a woman
and fetched the liver (black) for her children; from these
come the black people. Another woman took the lungs
and the blood for herself and her children; from these come
the red people.
Here, by the slaughtered ox, the people began to quarrel
as to who should have the skin, which the Ovaherer6, con-
sidering themselves to be first among the nations, naturally
seized upon. Now began the enmity and separation of the
First of all, the Ovaherer6 beat and drove away the
Ovambo who went to the north; afterwards they returned
and made peace with them.
The Ovatyaona (Betshuana) went to the east; where they
remained quiet for a long time. Subsequently they returned,
and robbed the Ovaherer6 ; but were finally repulsed by
Of the Ovakuena (Namas)* they relate the following story.
In olden times, it happened that the Ovakuena wished to
drive their oxen into a kraal, but as these were refractory,
they (the Namas) were foolish enough to shoot at them
with arrows. The oxen, terrified, ran into the field, and as
the people could not bring them back again, the cattle
became wild in the field; they became -the Koodoos,
Gemsboks, Zebras, &c. The former possessors of the oxen
now became Bushmen, who followed the spoor of the wild
beasts, and lived on onmahuet and other wild plants. Later
SThe Namaqua are called by the Ovaherer6 Ovaiuena, and also
Ovaserandu; the Bushmen Oukuruha (sing. Olcalcurulha).
t [A wild root, containing much water.]
they came into contact with the yellow (i. e., white) people,*
whose servants they became. From the white people they
received firearms with which they robbed the Ovaherer6 of
their oxen. In this way the Namas have again come into
possession of oxen and cows.
Also about the flood, there are allusions in their tales to
a time when the heavens fell upon the earth ; and to this
day, the expression "the heavens fall down" means with
the Ovaherer6 an unusually heavy rain.t
I shall now mention something which was related to me
by an Omuambo who was at Otyozondyupa. According
to him, Karunga, Musisi, and Ndyambi is not with the
Ovambo one and the same, but Kalunga has a wife who is
called Musisi. They have two children, a girl, Tyinondyambi
(Shinondyambi), and a boy, Tyarura (Shalula). The plural
of omusisi: aasisi, also means, in general, Spirits of the
With the Ovambo too, Kalunga is a good being, and they
say, like the Ovaherer6, We are kept by Kalunga and
[The Ovaherer6 call "white man," "yellow man," Ovirumbu. The
root of this word is tumba, which means : to be indistinct or unde-
finable. The color of white men being neither black (as the Ovaherer6
or their kindred are), nor brown or red (as that of the Hottentots and
Bushmen is), nor white, they call us white people people of an
[Their story-runs thus: For ages past there came such
an'immense rain, (the heavens fell down) that nearly all the people were
killed. The few remaining, sacrificed upon that a -black sheep, upon
which the Ovakuru meyuru "Old ones in heaven drew the heaven back-
and placed it in its former position. But, round about, there, where
heaven and earth meet, they placed peculiar beings as guards, to pre-
vent people from climbing into the heavens. These guards the Hereros
describe as having each but one eye, one ear, one leg, one arm, and no
joints either in leg or arm, for which reason they also must feed each
Musisi; Kalunga only kills very bad people. On the other
hand, he gives fertility to the fields, and makes the oviria,
omahangu (two kinds of Kafir corn), and omakunde (beans)
Kalunga, who lives in the ground near the chief village,
appears at times with his wife Musisi to the people. They
have clothes on them, which resemble the clothes of
white people, Kalunga wearing black and Musisi white stuff.
Now, it often happens that a person is accosted in the field,
without being able to see the one who speaks to him. The
voice finally says to him, If thou wishest to see me, go
and fetch a black ox. The person who heard the voice, now
goes into the village and relates to the chiefs what has
happened to him. These say, It was Kalunga who spoke
to thee. Go and take the black ox to the spot (where he
spoke to thee). The man now kills the ox at the place
where he heard the voice ; Kalunga appears to him, strokes
him with his hand over the eyes, exhorts him to follow
after that which is good, and also gives him good admoni-
tions for the king.
As to the Omuambo's tale about creation [which
follows here], it was as little clear as that. told by the
Kalunga, coming out of the earth, created from ouna
(little things), which he set up, three couples: from the first
man and woman came the Ovambo, from the second couple
the Bushmen, and.from the third, the Ovaheerer6. He also
called the wife of the third couple Kamangundu.
Of the dispersion, and various means of support, of the
tribes, he related as follows: In the beginning, Kalunga
[The Ovaherer6 chiefly attribute rain, fertility, etc., to their
ancestors, at the grave of whom they pray: "Tu pa o ombura,
nomahozu nomayere," &c. (Give unto us rain, grass, milk).]
instituted a kind of race, the prizes offered being an etemo
(Oambo field-pickaxe), an epingqo (pointed stick for digging
up the products of the earth), and an ongombe (bullock).
The Ovambo seized the etemo, the Bushmen the epingo, and
the Ovaherer6 the bullock.
As the Ovaherer6, if they want to kill a ghost, kill a black
sheep at the place where the ghost appeared, in-order that
they may not be bewitched and killed, I asked my Omuambo
informant whether Kalunga was not perhaps a ghost, to
which he answered in the negative. They also had ghosts,
he said, but Kalunga was quite a distinct and unique being
Part II.-Sacrifices, to follow.
SATTL SOLOmON AND CO., STEAM FRINTING OFFICE, ST, GEORGL'S 5TBEET