Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/204

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head a broad and flat look. The persons of the women are also profusely besmeared with grease and red ochre.

Besides ear-rings of beads or shells, the men display but few ornaments. With regard to clothing, both sexes are far more scantily attired than the Damaras. When grown up, they chip the middle tooth in the under jaw.

The Ovambo, so far as came under my own observation, were strictly honest. Indeed, they appeared to entertain great horror of theft, and said that a man detected in pilfering would be brought to the king's residence and there speared to death. In various parts of the country a kind of magistrate is appointed, whose duty is to report all misdemeanors. Without permission, the natives would not even touch any thing, and we could leave our camp free from the least apprehension of being plundered. As a proof of their honesty, I may mention that, when we left the Ovambo country, the servants forgot some trifles, and such was the integrity of the people that messengers actually came after us a very considerable distance to restore the articles left behind. In Damara and Namaqua-land, on the contrary, a traveler is in constant danger of being robbed, and, when stopping at a place, it is always necessary to keep the strictest watch on the movements of the inhabitants.

But honesty was not the only good quality of this fine race of men. There was no pauperism in the country. Crippled and aged people, moreover, seemed to be carefully tended and nursed. What a contrast to their neighbors, the Damaras, who, when a man becomes old, and no longer able to shift for himself, carry him into the desert or the forest, where he soon falls a prey to wild beasts, or is left to perish on his own hearth! Nay, he is often knocked on the head, or otherwise put to death.

The Ovambo are very national, and exceedingly proud of their native soil. They are offended when questioned as to the number of chiefs by whom they are ruled. "We ac-