GEORGE NEWS - This is another delivery in a series by Sydney Opperman in which he sheds light on the origins and names of the country's indigenous (first) nation.
In the chapter "Migrations and ethnic and linguistic differentiations" from the research document Methodology and African prehistory (edited by Zerbo and published in 1981 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), D Olderogge writes the following: "The history of the Khoi-Khoi is, generally speaking, one of the most puzzling problems in the ethnic evolution of Africa" (own emphasis).
Olderogge explains in the same chapter that the word "Khoi" means "man". He therefore refers to the history of "man-man" or "human-human" or "person-person", which must certainly register in the mind of "thinking-man" (Homo sapiens) as nonsensical.
One must however appreciate Olderogge's honesty re his "lack of understanding" of the ethnic evolution of his "Khoi-Khoi".
Ethnicity implies shared cultural traits, a shared group history, shared linguistics, shared religion, etc.
A study on the influence of Goa (India) in this part of the world can begin to give answers to the "puzzling problems" of Olderogge.
A very important river in Goa is called the Chenab, the largest river in the Punjab area. Punj means "five" and ab means "river" - Chenab is therefore in the area of five rivers.
Ab was one of the words used for river in the language of the indigenous people of our country and Namibia. In the names Ugab, Huab, Keinab, Haichab, Huerab (the names of rivers or streams in Namibia), and !Hauxaab (today called Sakriver) south of Kenhardt, or !Onab (Koonap), a branch of the Great Fish river in the Eastern Cape, ab or aab means river. The largest river in this country is the Gariab (pronounced Gari-ab) and not Ga-riep (which is a corruption). So in Gariab, ab means river, therefore meaning the (ab) river of Gari or Kari. Gari is a well-known deity in Goa, the deity of the rising morning sun.
Ab for river clearly comes from the ab in Goa for "river", as in Punjab.
Other words for "river" in the language of the indigenous people in South Africa are kamma, as in Keiskamma, and ka, as in Gamka and Dwyka. Likewise Ka, Kam and Kama (Kamma) come from Dravida - kam for "water". The name of the Great River in Borneo, the Mahakama, confirms this.
To speak of "Gamka river" or "Dwyka river", where ka already means "river", is just a repetition of words with the same meaning.
To be continued.
Sydney Opperman, 14 Lynx Street, Pacaltsdorp, 083 378 4237