The Griqua people have a distinct culture that distinguishes them from other ethnic groups. From time to time they hold ceremonies that revive their culture and traditions. These ceremonies include the !nabasas, which is held to celebrate the virginity of young daughters. What also distinguishes the Khoi and San people is the traditional dress of women and the man when this occasion is held. Men’s traditional clothing is the //gai and bare foot, the different dances.









 The !nabasas were called “Die HokMeisie” “girl in a cage”.  The !nabasasis an activity that promotes the purity among virgin girls and respect for young women. Before the !nabasasstarts the old ladies look for a sign.

When a whirlwind starts or end at a house in the Khoi or San community the old ladies know that at that house is a girl who had her menstruation period for the first time. Now they gather with the parent at that house to discuss which one of the daughters got her period for the first time (//nxorisi).

Now the old ladies ask for help and build a round hut (//ghaisi ngu) with grass and sticks and they lay a floor. After that they cover the hut with plastics and blankets to make it warm. They then put a mattress inside and find a young girl as a partner; this last one is called the bridesmaid. When the girl is between (12) twelve and (15) fifth teen years old, this girl can go twice for //nabasa. When she go in for the second time and it rain, the old ladies take her outside, form a circle around her and she must run in the rain, so that the lighting can know her smell and were not strong or strike her at all

The day when the virgin girl(//nxorisi) goes in the cage, that afternoon the old people slaughter a sheep or a goat. The believes or tradition is that there must be blood before she goes in the cage. The girl goes in at sunset.    

During these days they teach her to dance, how to cook. On the 13th (thirteen) day they slaughter a sheep’s, the blood will be kept in a basket, a big fire will burn the whole night   and they will dance the whole until the next morning at (5)five in the morning. The polar bone of the sheep or goat must not being break, when the meat are prepare for cooking. Food will also prepare during the night for the next day festival. On the 14th day the old ladies take the youngsters to the water, one of the old ladies talks in Nama to the water put some buchu and other ingredients on the water, hit the water with a stick, if the water splits over the //nxorisi(cage girl). Her bridesmaid and the old ladies it is a sign that her purity is being accepted

The old ladies grind a red stone, buchu, burn the horn and bark tree, clear Vaseline or escamel.  The “HokMeisie “or the cage girl will now be put into the hut (//haisingu) with her partner. For 14 (fourteen) days this girl will do nothing but everything she wants like water or anything this bridesmaid must get or do it for her. The old ladies will grind a red stone (maalrooiklip); they put this on the chicks and face of the cage girl(nxorisingu).During these 14(fourteen) days the old ladies works in shifts to lecture (teach) the girl how to look after herself and the dangers in life. No one else must see her except the old ladies, who come and teach her about their own life experience. 

From there the delegation goes back to the community. The faces of the two young ladies were cover by veil, they are dress up in fine cloth, for example a long white skirt, who covers her a ankle, long sleeve blouse, and a long veil. Early the next morning before sunrise the young lady will be taken to the water snake at the fountain river or spring. The old ladies will speak to the snake and introduce his bride to him. If he is satisfied the water will go over her but if he is dissatisfied it will not. If the ceremony goes well there then they procede to the village.


If the community has street taps, the “Cage girl” must drink from every tap water with her hand, after that they are going home. When the delegation arrives everyone must get out of the yard. 

The Khoi and San music will play by the old men, with the Khoi and San instruments. The dancing starts with the old ladies in front the youngsters with Khoi and San clothes, the cage girl and her bridesmaid follow and then the rest. All the teenagers will dance with big clothes. In the middle of the passage the faces will be unveil by two old men, who will dance with them, till the food being served. All the old people sit apart from the youngsters, and they sit in a circle. The polar bone of the sheep will be served to the old people. In tradition there is a way how they eat that.   

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20.05 | 15:46

send an email to :griquacommissariate@gmail.com

17.05 | 03:46

I am researching my Great Great Grandfather Missionary Christoph Andreas Sass who married an Orlam Kaaitjie Engelbrecht in Silver Fountain 1817. Any help please

17.05 | 03:33

I am doing research of my Great Great Grandfather Christoph Andreas Sass who was a missionary in Namaqualand from 1811 and moved to Captain Cornelius Kok's Kraa

15.05 | 14:16

Thanks Joe

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