Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/332

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power to satisfy the cravings of nature. If urged to work, they have been heard to say, "Why should we resemble the worms of the ground?" A few may occasionally be seen employing themselves in making neat little camp-stools and in repairing guns, for which they have a certain aptitude. Jonker Afrikaner—be it said to his honor—is by far the most industrious Hottentot that I have yet seen.

They are excessively fond of diversions, more especially music and dancing. They do not, however, distinguish themselves by grace in their movements, nor do they even possess that dexterity and flexibility of limb that the Ovambo ladies—at the expense of our peace of mind—exhibited at King Nangoro's court ball.

They understand and practice the art of distilling spirits. When a certain kind of berry, of a sweet and agreeable taste, is ripe, large quantities are collected and put into a skin bag to ferment. On being sufficiently advanced, they are deposited in a large pot and boiled, and the steam drawn off into another vessel joined to it by an old gun-barrel. The liquor is then allowed to settle for a few days, and becomes so strong and intoxicating that a small glass or two is sufficient to upset any man's reason not previously accustomed to it. I have seen the natives become perfectly maddened by its effect.

They also make a kind of mead (a favorite drink with the ancient Northmen), which is a pleasant and refreshing beverage, and, unless partaken of to excess, is comparatively harmless.

The domestic animals of the country are the cow, the sheep, the goat, and the dog. The sheep is highly prized by them, so much so that at one time (before the introduction of tobacco) it was more thought of than any thing else—even than women! The original breed of Namaqua cattle is nearly extinct. The southern tribes still possess it, though more or less mixed with that of the colony and Damara-land. In