Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/97

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89
ONANIS—TOBACCO AND HEMP.

riodical stream hard by, it was close on midnight before we could think of refreshment or sleep.

Onanis is the permanent residence of a kraal of very poor Hill-Damaras,[1] who subsist chiefly upon the few wild roots which their sterile neighborhood produces. Most of them, however, manage to raise a little tobacco, for which they have a perfect mania, and which, moreover, they value nearly as much as the necessaries of life.

They also cultivate "dacka," or hemp, not, as with us, for its fibre, but for the sake of the young leaves and seeds, which they use as a substitute for tobacco, and which is of the most intoxicating and injurious character. It not unfrequently happens, indeed, that those who indulge too freely in the use of this plant are affected by disease of the brain.

The manner in which the Hill-Damaras smoke is widely different either from Hindu, Mussulman, or Christian. Instead of simply inhaling the smoke, and then immediately letting it escape, either by the mouth or nostril, they swallow it deliberately. The process is too singular to be passed over without notice.

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HILL-DAMARA PIPE.

A small quantity of water is put into a large horn—usually of a koodoo—three or four feet long. A short clay pipe, filled either with tobacco or "dacka," is then introduced, and fixed vertically into the side near the extremity of the

  1. The proper name of these people is Haukoin, which literally means "real men." By the Namaquas they are styled Ghou-Damop or Daman—a term not sufficiently decorous for translation. The name Hill-Damaras is that by which they are best known, and, being really very appropriate to their habits and mode of living, I shall retain it throughout the course of this narrative.