By the year 1652, when the establishment of the pioneer Dutch settlement at Table Bay laid the foundations for the present political dominance of the white man in the country, Africa south of the Zambesi River was already inhabited by a considerable
number of different native peoples. On the basis of racial, linguistic and cultural distinctions, these native inhabitants are customarily classified into separate four groups known respectively as Bushmen, Bergdama and the Bantu.
The Bushmen at one time
spread over almost the whole of South Africa, are confined principally to the Central and Northern Khalari Desert and adjacent districts. They are short brownish- yellow people, with certain peculiar and distinctive racial characterics. The Bushmen were long
regarded as the earliest human inhabitants of South Africa, and as having occupied the country from times of remote antiquity. Of the peoples in South Africa the Bushmen are the oldest. The Bushmen are divided into many different groups, each with its
own distinctive language or dialect, and with a name. These groups will be spoken of here as a tribe. The Hottentots term them all San, The names Sanqua, Saunqua by which the Bushmen are often referred to in the early records of the Cape. The Bantu
people known the Busmen by variety of names, like AbaTwa , Ba Twa(Zulu-Xhosa) Ba Rwa(Sutho) MaSarwa (Tswana)Ova Twa (Herero). Bosjesman, Bosmanekens, Bossiemans by the Dutch. (1685)
Hottentots formerly occupied most of the western half of
the region, but are now found chiefly in the southern part of South West Africa known today as Namibia. They are closely allied to the Bushmen in race, and their languages are somewhat similar type, although in both respects certain differences are also
observable. They are however a pre dominantly pastoral people, keeping cattle and sheep, and live in larger communities with a more complex system of social organization. While the Bushmen are hunters and collectors only, the Hottentots in addition are pastoral
people, with herds of long-horned straight-backed cattle and flocks of fat tailed hairy sheep. They were also able to smelt metal ores for the manufacture of their implements, weapons and ornaments. Hottentots are basically of the same racial stock as the
Bushmen, and that the languages of both peoples belong to the same language family. According to a theory, the mixture of Hamites and Bushmen which produced the Hottentots would have taken place in South Africa. On the other hand a click language possessing
numerous root and grammatical affinities with the Hottentot languages, and like them apparently owing its origin to a mixture of Bushmen and Hamitic languages, suggest that the blending which gave rise to the Hottentots is more likely to have taken place in
East Africa. The customs and traditions are connected with this mode of life already developed before their ancestors came south. How long they had in possession of the coast regions in the south-west of cape colony before the Portuguese first saw them at
Saldanha Bay and later at Mossel Bay, we had no means of knowing at the end of the fifteen century. People had judge rather due to the eastern frontier, when a tribe known as Gonaqua came into contact with the Bantu peoples in the eighteen century. The Dutch
settlers at the Cape found the Hottentots thinly scattered in small loosely-organized groups along the western and southern coasts of this country.
The Hottentots intermixture with the European settlers and imported slaves has lead to the sprung of half
breeds over the Cape.
The Hottentots were original divided into numerous separate groups with its own distinctive name. They owned to the common name Khoi-Khoin (Khoe-Khoen (men of men). They had seen themselves as a pure race and distinguished themselves
from other people. The origin of the name Hottentots is generally assumed that it derived from Hüttentüt(“stammered” or “stutterer”) applied by the Dutch settlers on account of the peculiar “clicks” which gave
their speech its distinctive character. It is customary therefore to group the people into four main divisions,. These four divisions are known respectively as the Cape Hottentots, Eastern Hottentots, the Korana and the Nama. The old Cape records have preserved
for us the names of several tribal groups.
In the Cape Peninsula were the Goringhaiqua or Gorinhaikona and the Kora or Gorachouqua. At Saldanaha Bay roamed the Kochoqua, at the Olifants river were the little Grigriqua or Chariquriqua.
Wars with the settlers and imported diseases, such as smallpox, led to a rapid decline in the numbers of the people. A few groups, resenting the intrusion of the Europeans, early began to trek away inland from the vicinity of the settlement. One of these
groups, Kora, moved away towards the end of the seventeenth century formed the present Korana division. Another group, the Grigriqua or Chariguriqua, after receiving considerable infiltration of white blood, moved north under the leadership of Adam Kok. He
has called this clan the Bastards; in 1813 the missionary John Campbell and Anderson named it the Griquas. In the years that followed the Griqua, under succession of able leaders, played an important part in the political history of South Africa, but all their
powers has now vanished.
The word Khoisan was used by Schepera in his book “ A preliminary Consideration of the Relationship between the Hottentots and the Bushmen.
In appearance there are many features which readily distinguish the
Busmen (San) from all the other inhabitants of South Africa. The skin colour of the Southern Bushmen varies from light yellow to brownish-yellow. Some people said the skin of the Bushmen are very dry and lean, with little adipose tissue.