Guest author: Roberta Eaton ~ Beliefs and myths of southern Africa II – The Khoikhoi (Hottentots)

Roberta Eaton, aka Robbie Cheadle, shares the second of her posts on the beliefs and myths of her home. The first post in the series can be found by clicking HERE.

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.

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.

God and the afterlife

The Khoikhoi attach special significance to the moon and new and full moons were historically important 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.


The Khoikhoi were aware of the existence of witchcraft and sorcery, but they did not practice it. Any dabbling in witchcraft had to take place in secret and, as a result, it was shunned and despised. They did, however, believe in good and bad omens.


Hamerkop bird

The Khoikhoi had some interesting beliefs about death:

  1. If a locust made its way onto the roof of one hut and proceeded to chirp there, it meant that a relation had died;
  2. If a bird flew into a hut it would bring misfortune unless it was quickly killed;
  3. The hooting of an owl at night was an omen of death;
  4. The hamerkop bird was also believed to be an omen of death; the Khoikhoi believed that the bird could see reflections of the future and knew who would shortly die.


The Khoikhoi needed good rain for grazing for their livestock and had several feasting and dancing rituals to summons rain. They also sent parties into the veld (fields) to search for a chameleon as this creature was supposed to bring rain. The chameleon was buried alive, stomach facing upwards in the earth. Other than this, it was not injured. The Khoikhoi believed it would rain on the same day as the chameleon was buried. After it had rained, the chameleon was dug up and set free. A Cape Cobra was also sometimes used for this purpose, but the snakes were half killed before they were buried and killed when no further rain was required.

South African History Online
Myths and Legends of southern Africa by Penny Miller
Stories of the Khoikhoi in South Africa – Alan Tours
Khoikho – New World Encyclopedia
Pictures courtesy of Google

About the author

Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton).

All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differentiate her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

Find and follow Roberta Eaton

Roberta Writes Blog     Twitter    Facebook

While the Bombs Fell

TSL Publications     Lulu

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.

Robbie also writes as Robbie  Cheadle

Robbie’s Inspiration Blog      Goodreads    Facebook    YouTube

Amazon author page   Twitter: @bakeandwrite

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

The Sir Chocolate books are a delightful marriage of story, verse and cookery

… a perfect recipe for sharing with children.  Silly Willy goes to Cape Town tells the adventures of two very different brothers…and includes five party cake ideas.

You can purchase the Sir Chocolate books from:

Amazon    TSL Books

or you can buy them in South Africa directly from the authors by emailing Robbie Cheadle at

Tell me a story…

If you are a writer, artist or photographer…If you have a poem, story or memoirs to share… If you have a book to promote, a character to introduce, an exhibition or event to publicise… If you have advice for writers, artists or bloggers…

If you would like to be my guest, please read the guidelines and get in touch!

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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39 Responses to Guest author: Roberta Eaton ~ Beliefs and myths of southern Africa II – The Khoikhoi (Hottentots)

  1. Thank you for hosting this series, Sue. I have always been fascinating by the Khoisan. Their music and artwork is lovely.


  2. Their huts are interesting, great workmanship. Thanks for sharing, Robbie 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Interesting stuff, Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ritu says:

    Such interesting superstitions!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Fabulous post Robbie and thanks Sue for hosting.. I have shared on FB and pressed for tomorrow.. fascinating.. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. LOve, love, love these stories. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Mary Smith says:

    Another fascinating post from Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This is so interesting, Robbie, and it’s information that I wouldn’t get elsewhere. Thanks so much for sharing. And thanks, Sue, for hosting the series. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Patty says:

    Reblogged this on Campbells World and commented:
    Not only is this a fascinating post but there’s another promotional opportunity hidden inside.
    Read, and enjoy.
    Please do share.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. memadtwo says:

    I can understand the association of death with things that fly. Thanks for sharing this, Robbie. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Reblogged this on Roberta Writes and commented:
    I am over at Sue Vincent’s fascinating blog with a post about the beliefs and myths of the Khoikhoi people of southern Africa. Thank you for hosting me, Sue.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on DSM Publications and commented:
    Meet Guest author: Roberta Eaton in this post from Sue Vincent’s Blog

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Guest author: Roberta Eaton ~ Beliefs and myths of southern Africa II – The Khoikhoi (Hottentots) | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  14. Super post, Robbie. Thanks to Sue for hosting.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Pingback: Guest author: Roberta Eaton ~ Beliefs and myths of southern Africa V: The Venda | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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