The Nama, who, according to some ancient sources, were also called Namaqua, are an indigenous African ethnic group from South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
The Nama are the largest group among the different ones forming the ethnicity of the Khoi or Khoikhoi; the majority of these groups has largely disappeared over the centuries except for the Nama.
The Khoi and the San populations were very similar and were identified, without much distinction, as Khoisan, in fact, this term designates collectively the two ethnic groups as a result of the many physical, cultural and linguistic affinities.
Physically, the Nama and the San have a lighter skin than the populations of Bantu origin, of a brown color; moreover, they are often thin, small in stature with small hands and feet, and women are more elongated.
Over the centuries some Khoi groups dropped out the hunter gatherers lifestyle to devote themselves mainly to farming and herding; while the San remained mainly hunters and gatherers, lifestyle also adopted today.
The Khoi, of whom the Nama are the only descendants, were called in a derogatory way by the Dutch settlers "Hottentots", meaning stutterers, this name comes from the fact that the Khoisan language is characterized by clicks and pops.
Most of the Nama now live in Central Namibia, but there are smaller groups living in Namaqualand, located in the area at the border with Namibia and South Africa; in the past, they have been pushed to these areas by populations of Bantu origin, who migrated Southward from tropical Africa.
A part of Namaqualand was elected as the Richtersveld National Park, in these ancestral lands the Nama manage to keep their traditions alive, they can move with the seasons and speak their language.
In the park the Nama are still using their traditional home, a hut made of a dome built with branches and covered with mats; this particular form is perfect to protect them from the scorching sun and it is also easy to move when they migrate in search for new pastures for their cattle.
In these places you can still listen to the many stories and proverbs of the Nama people passed down orally.
Life, tradition and culture of Nama people
- Nama huts and villages
- Nama origins
- Nama wedding ritual
- Nama religion and legends
- Nama history