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» Economics » German colonial history » Topics begins with N » Nama (people)

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The Nama (called in the historical colonial literature Hottentotten) is a race resident in South Africa and Namibia and ranks, like the Orlam, among the Khoi Khoi. Most that today approx. 100,000 Nama lives in Namibia - there in the southern region Karas, the earlier Namaland - and constitutes about 5% of the entire namibischen population; to a small part in the areas of the Northern Cape province of South Africa - in the Namaqualand, bordering south.

In the sources of literature the people and master designations Nama, red nation (due to their somewhat more reddish skin color) are used, Orlam, Witbooi and African as synonyms, which applies strictly taken after managing however only to the Nama and the red nation.


The Nama is designated of the San as a "brother people", probably with this or from Central Africa zugewandert later and to have both in South Africa and in southwest Africa established themselves later. Traditionally the Nama kept house as nomadische cattle breeders, whereby they differed clearly first from the San living as hunters and collecting tanks.

In South Africa had the Nama in the process 17. and 18. Century various contact with the Buren, other European settlers and mission arene. During this time assumed the Nama became to a large extent the Christianity; they learned vintages and letters and handling horses as house and farm employees of the Europeans. The latter opened completely new hunt possibilities and finally released a new migration wave on the search for better hunt reasons, those the Nama in 18. Century also to southwest Africa led. (From the connection of Dutch Farmern with Nama women new, half-breed trunks summarized under the comprehensive term Orlam originated in, in 19. Century in namibischen history a large role to play should.)

In southwest the Nama found Africa first in Hoachanas a new, common master center; gradually because of restrained pasture conditions, established themselves in the further surrounding field of Hoachanas and formed there new trunks - in such a way those became detached coming hurry the Topnaar, the Fransman Nama, the Veldschoendrager, the Bondelswarte, the Swartboois, the Tseib Nama, those Groote to doden and the Keetmanshooper Nama. There only main trunk the called red nation remained in Hoachanas and placed the upper chieftain - with instruction right in relation to all other Nama trunks with exception of the Bondelswarte in warm bath and the Topnaars in the whale bay. This instruction right contained in particular the right to assign the other trunks of residence areas in order to guarantee in this way that all trunks had sufficient pastureland and sufficient sources. A further associated to the nine already Nama trunks settling in southwest Africa with it around 1800: it had before its head office at the lower Oranje and was there by dealers and alcohol in poverty guessed/advised; although it threatened to become already close in the southern part from southwest Africa to, also by the upper chieftain Games - the first and only female chieftain of the Nama - was assigned to this trunk a pasture area in close proximity to Bethanien; the trunk was called accordingly from now on the trunk by Bethanien. In the following time however the pasture situation became increasingly critically: once by, in terms of figures far superior Herero and on the other hand by the advancing pushing due to large from the north after the south, from the south. Games however understood it to make from the emergency a virtue by clamping the Orlam - in particular the African under its chieftain Jager African - for its goals and animating it against the promise from pastureland to the fight against the Herero. The plan came up to that extent that the Herero could be back-pushed in numerous martial arguments and raids up to the height of Windhuk. Nevertheless however there - in particular under the upper chieftain shank of Oasib - were increasing tensions of the Nama and among themselves, which finally unloaded themselves after initial Zusammengehen against the Herero in changing by military conflicts among themselves (the so-called Orlamkrieg). Only in the decisive battle of 1867 it succeeded to the Orlamstamm of the Witbooi to strike the Nama trunks allied under the guidance of Oasib so lastingly that these were ready for the Orlamfrieden of Gibeon on 19 December 1867. This date marked at the same time the end of the supremacy of the red nation over the other trunks and led a longer time of the relative peace in southwest Africa in after the deprivation of power of the African crowned by the 10 - yearly peace of Okahandja of 1870. With it 1880 still led the Herero closed up Vormacht position and the border question unsettled between Herero and Nama again to violent master wars between Nama, Herero and Orlam, whereby the front line could run quite also between the individual people trunks.

Only the lasting effort of the mission acres and the appearance of the first German colonial officials, who did not have in the start time yet a considerable military coverage, the situation somewhat, particularly the Germans eased particularly in land acquisition and the conclusion of protection contracts also with the Nama (1885) was interested. A further role played the increasing dealer nature: the dealers brought weapons and ammunition beside alcohol above all in the country, whereby the balance of power between the trunks changed incalculably. Above all however the weapons and other merchandise had to be paid also for lack of money with cattle herds. This promoted the mutual cattle robbery, let the trunks become impoverished however appreciably, which weakened its readiness and abilities clearly for warfare.

On the other hand the attempt of the German "protecting power" met to prevent the uncontrolled increase from weapons to and to decrease the combat capability of the trunks, the decided resistance of the concerning; thus developed from the counting and registration project of the colonial administration with the Bondelswarte Nama in warm bath in October 1903 an unplanned, but nevertheless violent military argument, which dragged on to over the year end and only after the employment by reinforcement troops from the north of the country at the 27.Januar 1904 with a victory of the Germans could be terminated. Thus was the center of the country without sufficient military crew, which made it impossible for the colonial administration in Windhuk to react to the beginnings of the Hereroaufstandes from January 1904, outgoing from Okahandja, appropriately. This made possible the Herero fast initial successes, what contributed again to a rapid expansion of the rebellion. It would be missed nevertheless to rate the ad-hoc-rebellion of the Nama (Bondelswarte) with warm bath as planned and co-ordinated beginning of the Herero war. At the 28.Januar 1904 Hoachanas becomes German garrison and loses thereby finally its role as capital of the Nama. The Nama is not involved in the further arguments in the context of the Hereroaufstands, it is than auxiliary workers of the German colonial force. This applies in particular to the Orlam trunk of the Witbooi, which actively fought in the battle to wading hereditary suppl. on German side. Only after the victory over the Herero displeasure arose over the proceeding of the German soldiers with the Witbooi, which led to the Entwaffung of the fleeing Witbooi and their shipment as work slaves to German East Africa.

Because of this procedure Hendrik Witbooi quit the assistance pact with the Germans and avowed them at the 3.Oktober 1904 formally the war. In the following Nama rebellion in the Karasbergen also the Fransman Nama under Simon Koper and Jacob Morenga as well as straggler Herero took part beside the Witbooi. After death Hendrik Witboois capitulated the Witbooi 1905; the rebellion was continued however by Jacob Morenga and Simon Koper up to their death in the years 1907 and 1908. About 2,000 Nama on that the loading cutting bay pre-aged shark fish island were interned. Because of the there dominant catastrophic prison conditions only about 450 survived the internment.

The Nama lost 10,000 master member by this war approx., i.e. they were almost halved in their inventory number.


see Nama language

The Nama language belongs origin according to to the Khoisan languages. By characteristic reading of this language with their Schnalzern and clicking noises they were designated of the Buren as Stotterer, from where the word Hottentotten comes. It is always seen of the Nama themselves as a sign of depreciating and is not no more used therefore in the official linguistic usage, although it is used of indifferent ones also in not-devaluing way as traditional designation of this people.

Admitted Nama personalities

  • Games,
  • Oasib,
  • Manasse,
  • Hendrik Witbooi,
  • Jakob Morenga,
  • Jonker African

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Articles in category "Nama (people)"

We found here 11 articles.


» Nama (people)
» Namakrieg
» Namutoni
» Neuguinea Kompagnie
» Neulauenburg
» Neumecklenburg
» Neupommern
» New Cameroon
» New swabia country
» Nikobaren
» Northern Marianen

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