n Acta Academica - Another look at 'Khoikhoi' and related ethnonyms

Volume 43, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0587-2405


The nomadic pastoralists formerly called "Hottentots" are today known as the , a term also encountered as , often abbreviated as . The name, said to be derived from the words "person" and "people", is variously interpreted as "people of people", "the best people", "people of pure race", "excellent people", "our people", "people of our group", among others. Early forms of the name indicate that the two components of the ethnonym are not identical, and that the first contains a click, thus casting doubt on the given interpretations. This article proposes an interpretation based on definitions of words in Van Riebeeck's Diary. Variant forms , and are discussed, as well as a number of ethnonyms that mean "mountain people".

Die nomadiese herders wat vroeër "Hottentotte" genoem is, staan ook bekend as , 'n term wat dikwels as aangetref word, soms afgekort tot . Volgens sommige is die naam afgelei van "mens" and "mense", vertolk as "mens van mense", "die beste mense", "mense van suiwer afkoms", "uitstekende mense", "ons mense", "mense van ons groep", ensovoorts. Vroeë optekeninge wys dat die twee komponente van die naam nie identies is nie en dat die eerste 'n klapklank bevat, wat twyfel op die gegewe vertolkings werp. 'n Verklaring word voorgestel op grond van definisies van woorde in Van Riebeeck se Dagboek. Afwisselende vorme en word bespreek, sowel as 'n aantal stamname wat "bergmense" beteken.

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