Dark Origins – Myths and legends of the Khoikhoi (previously Hottentots)


At the time when European settlement began, the Khoikhoi were settled in modern day Namibia, the north-eastern Cape and the south-western Cape. The name Khoikhoi means “real people” or “men of men”. The Khoikhoi are closely related to the San (Bushmen) and are sometimes referred to together as Khoisan. There is a theory that the Khoikho and the San were once the same race. The Khoikhoi broke away to raise cattle, build huts and lead a pastoral life while the San remained true to the wilderness and the elements.

The Khoikhoi were nomadic, moving around in search of grazing land for their animals which consisted mainly of goats, cattle and sheep. They also manufactured animal skins into clothing, bags and blankets and used reeds to make sleeping mats and mats to cover their round and mobile homes. The Khoikhoi also made pottery which could be tied to their oxen or to hut poles when they moved.

All the male children in Khoikhoi families are named after the material side and all the female children after the paternal side. The eldest daughter is highly respected and the milking of the cows is left entirely to her.

God and the afterlife

The Khoikhoi attach special significance to the moon and new and full moons were historically times for rainmaking rites and dancing.

The Khoikhoi deity is called Tsui-Goab and he is believed to be the founding ancestor of the Khoikhoi. He is the creator of the world, of man and of the elements. He provides for man and gives them full bellies and happy hearts. His opposite is Gaunab, who is primarily an evil being who causes sickness or death.

Tsui-Goab lives in a beautiful heaven of light and sunshine while Gaunab lives separately in a dark hiding place. Tsui-Goab, meaning the Read Dawn, bring the light and life to the world. The Khoikhoi always pray in the early morning with their faces turned towards the east where the first light of day appears.


According to Khoikhoi legend, a man-eating monster called the Aigamuxa/Aigamuchab dwells among the dunes. The creature is mostly human-looking, except that it has eyes on the instep of its feet. In order to see, it has to go down on its hands and knees and lift its one foot in the air. This is a problem when the monster chases prey, because it can’t see when it runs. Some sources claim the creature resembles an ogre.

Another monster legend is Ga-gorib. This creature sits near a deep hole in the ground and dares passers-by to throw rocks at him. The monster’s intention is for the the rocks to bounce back and kill the passer-by, who will then fall into the hole. According to the myth, when the hero Heitsi-eibib encountered Ga-gorib, he declined the monster’s dare. When Ga-gorib was not looking, Heitsi-eibib threw a stone at the monster and hit it below its ear, causing it to fall into its own pit.

Hai-uri is an agile, jumping creature who is partially-invisible and has only one side to its body (one arm and one leg). It is known to eat humans.

Reading of The Night Walker, a Hottentot myth

I recorded an interesting story about the Hottentot myth, The Night Walker, which you can listen to here:

Here is a picture of a Night Walker with a kerrie taken from the book Myths and Legends of Southern Africa by Penny Millar:

About Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.

Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.

Roberta has 11 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.

Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.

Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.

Find Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Roberta-Eaton-Cheadle/e/B08RSNJQZ5


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38 Comments on “Dark Origins – Myths and legends of the Khoikhoi (previously Hottentots)”

  1. This is fascinating. Wonderful reading of the story, Robbie! 💕🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am researching primitive tribes (I use the word denotatively, not connotatively) which the Khoikhoi and the San would certainly qualify. But, my next group of people will be hunter-gatherers, not herders, though you have me wondering…

    Liked by 2 people

    • That would be the San people then (hunter gatherers). We are planning a trip to Namibia next year which is the home of many of the world’s remaining San. We will be visiting their museum and cultural village. I also visited the San cultural museum in South Africa in January and bought a book of San myths and stories. If I can help you with anything, do shout.

      Liked by 2 people

      • When I get further into the research, I may take you up on that. There’s a cave complex called Pinnacle Point on the coast of Southern Africa that paleoanthros think early Homo sapiens escaped to when soot and debris from the Toba eruption covered the planet (about 75,000 years ago). I’ll be digging into that to see how exactly they survived.

        It’s amazing how so much of my research ends up in your neck of the woods.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on and commented:
    My November Dark Origins post features the Khoikhoi (previously Hottentots) who, together with the San (previously Bushmen) are the first people of South Africa. I have also shared a traditional Khoikhoi myth called The Night Walkers. Thanks for hosting Kaye Lynne Booth.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Susan Scott says:

    Fascinating Robbie. Still to listen to your video –

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The depiction of the Night Walker looks like what we’d call a Rake in the States. Off to watch the video!
    (Eyes on the insteps of its feet! Whoa!)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dave Astor says:

    Fascinating stuff, Robbie — including the story you skillfully read. Myths are so interesting, including their similarities and differences across cultures.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Dave, I’m pleased you enjoyed learning a bit about the Khoikhoi. I find the peoples of Southern Africa really interesting. My work colleagues, many of whom come from the different ethnic cultures, are surprised that I know so much more than the do about their history and traditions.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Yikes! Those Night Walkers are truly monstrous. I enjoyed learning about them.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Chel Owens says:

    Funny to think the main thing I got from this was that “Hottentot”s are real! I thought it was an expression.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Scarey ! Interesting to learn myths

    Liked by 2 people

  10. having eyes on the instep seems a bit odd and the picture shows the eyes were they normally are?
    Humans create these monsters to focus their fears. The local Natives have one called “Bookmiss”. Most likely akin to Sasquatch I imagine.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. It is always a great learning experience to read your myth posts. This one is no exception to the rule. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. BERNADETTE says:

    The myths of Africa are unkown to me. But, today I learned a little. Thanks for the great post.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. memadtwo says:

    It’s interesting to find so many common threads between different cultures. Thanks for telling us more about these people’s. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I enjoyed your reading, Robbie, as well as learning about the monsters and myths of the Khoikhoi. Thanks for sharing, and thanks to Kaye Lynne for hosting. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I just listened to your reading of The Nightwalker myth. It’s absolutely terrifying!!

    Liked by 3 people

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