Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/144

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


1 1 8 Reviews.

least superfluous in the story of the colonies. The result has been to give an admirable general view of the peoples whom the European intruders found in possession of the country, and with whom they had to contend.

The Bushmen are the aboriginal inhabitants. They are among the most primitive races in the world, having affinities with peoples in Southern Asia and the Eastern Archipelago. The intrusion of the Hottentots and the Bantu into South Africa has been quite recent in historic time. Dr. Theal presents in con- vincing fashion the conclusions of anthropologists on this subject. The Hottentots are the descendants of a band, or bands, belong- ing to a race we call, for want of a better name, Hamites, who, entering Africa from the north-east, mingled their blood with the previous occupants, and gradually pushed their way, or were driven by later invaders, to the south. They were, unlike the Bushmen, a pastoral people. The prevalence of the tsetse fly probably compelled them to take a route far to the west, and ultimately brought them down the western side of the continent to the extreme south. They could not have arrived there earlier than the thirteenth or fourteenth century of our era; and they never got further along the south-eastern shore than the mouth of the Umtamvuna river, the boundary between Cape Colony and Natal. Their migrations were confined to the slopes of the hills between the sea and the great central table-land, where the best sustenance for their herds was to be found. Their progress east- ward round the coast was stopped by the advancing Bantu. The ancestors of the Bantu were, it seems, another Asiatic family, who had entered Africa like the Hottentots from the north-east, and had mingled their blood with the Hamitic peoples there, and also with Negroes. From causes to us unknown they had found their way down through the centre and along the eastern shore of the continent to the south. If we may trust the Arab writers, and if the term IVakwak, which they apply to the inhabitants of the more southerly shores of the Indian Ocean, may be taken to represent the Bushmen, the Bantu in the tenth century had not spread beyond the Sabi river, sixty miles or so south of the present port of Beira. Their migration, therefore, on the one side of the continent, synchronized to a great degree with that of the