This story is about a Khoikhoi chief called Dorha who lived a long time ago.
KHOIKHOI. NOT HOTTENTOT
Have you heard about the Khoikhoi people? Perhaps you have heard of the Hottentots. Other people gave the name Hottentot to the Khoikhoi. But the Khoikhoi did not like the name Hottentot. They called them selves Khoikhoi.
THEY LIVED FOR OVER 2000 YEARS
The Khoikhoi have lived in Southern Africa for over 2000 years. Some Khoikhoi people are still living in Namibia today. And some people in the Cape say that their forefathers were Khoikhoi.
THEY MOVED FROM PLACE TO PLACE
Long ago, the Khoikhoi people had many cattle and sheep. The cattle and sheep needed a lot of grass. When the grass in one place became dry, the Khoikhoi packed up all their things and moved to another place where the grass was green. The Khoikhoi moved from place to place with their cattle.
WHITE PEOPLE CAME TO THE CAPE
When the white people from Europe first came to live in the Cape, they found the Khoikhoi already living there.
WHITE MEN TRADED WITH KHOIKHOI
The Europeans came to live in the Cape because they wanted vegetables and meat. They needed food for men on the ships. So the white men began to trade with the Khoikhoi.
WHITES GAVE TOBACCO, KHOIKHOI GAVE CATTLE
The whites gave glass beads, metal, tobacco, mirrors, blankets and other things from Europe and the Khoikhoi gave cattle to the whites.
BUT EUROPEANS HAD A PROBLEM
But the Europeans had a problem when they tried to get a lot of cattle. They did not know where all the different groups of Khoikhoi lived and they did not speak the Khoikhoi language. And the Khoikhoi people liked to have many cattle, so they traded only a few of their cattle.
KHOIKHOI CHIEF CALLED DORHA
There were many different groups of Khoikhoi people. One Khoikhoi chief was a man called· Dorha. Dorha was often fighting with another group of Khoikhoi people who tried to steal his cattle. They were enemies.
DORHA WORKED WITH WHITES AGAINST KHOIKHOI
One day in 1669 Dorha joined some white men in a fight against his Khoikhoi enemies. Dorha was happy to see the European guns kill so many of his enemies so quickly.
After that fight Dorha decided to work with the Europeans.
DORHA WAS CALLED KLAAS
In 1672, three years after the fight, Dorha went to visit the white people in Cape Town. He spoke to the leader, a man called Simon van der Stel. The Europeans gave Dorha a new name. They called him Klaas.
KLAAS TRADED WITH KHOIKHOI GROUPS
Simon van der Stel gave Klaas many blankets, beads, bangles and other things from Europe. Then Klaas travelled all over the land and traded with groups of Khoikhoi people. Klaas gave the things from Europe to the Khoikhoi, and the Khoikhoi gave cattle to Klaas.
KLAAS GAVE CATTLE AND SHEEP TO WHITES
Klaas knew how to trade with Khoikhoi people and so he got a lot of cattle. In the six years between 1684 and 1690, Klaas traded more than 1200 cattle and 820 sheep. Klaas gave all these animals to the Europeans in Cape Town. The Europeans let Klaas keep a few cows and calves for himself.
TRADE MADE KLAAS RICH AND POWERFUL
As years passed, Klaas and his people got more and more cows for themselves. Klaas traded with the whites, and he traded with Khoikhoi. This trade made Klaas rich and powerful.
OTHER KHOIKHOI PEOPLE BECAME POORER
As the years passed, other Khoikhoi chiefs and their people became poorer. When they traded, the Khoikhoi got pretty beads and mirrors, but they did not have enough cattle for milk any more.
KLAAS LEARNED TO SPEAK DUTCH
Klaas helped the Europeans in Cape Town a lot. He learned how to speak the Dutch language. Then Klaas told Simon van der Stel where different groups of Khoikhoi lived and moved.
KLAAS HELPED EUROPEAN SAILORS
Klaas sent men to be guides for the Europeans and show the white men where to travel. Klaas helped European sailors when their ships crashed and they had to walk to Cape Town.
KLAAS CAUGHT SLAVES
Sometimes slaves tried to run away from Cape Town and live with the Khoikhoi. Klaas caught these slaves and sent them back to work in Cape Town. If Khoikhoi people were the enemy of the Europeans, then Klaas attacked them like his own enemies.
KHOIKHOI CHIEF KOOPMAN DIDN’T LIKE KLAAS
Many groups of Khoikhoi did not like Klaas and his people, and tried to steal their cattle. The strongest enemy of Klaas was a Khoikhoi chief called Koopman.
KLAAS ASKED EUROPEANS FOR HELP
When the enemies were too strong for Klaas, then Klaas asked the European for help. And Simon van der Stel sent a few men with guns to help Klaas win the fight against his Khoikhoi enemies.
KOOPMAN DIDN’T GIVE UP FIGHT
But Koopman did not give up the fight. In the year 1693 he sent two elders to Simon van der Stel in Cape Town. The elders told Simon van der Stel that Klaas and his people were planning to attack Koopman and his people.
KOOPMAN ALSO ASKED EUROPEANS FOR HELP
The Koopman elders said that Klaas was attacking because the Koopman people also wanted to trade with the Europeans. The elders asked for help from Simon van der Stel.
COUNCIL THOUGHT ABOUT THE PROBLEM
Sirnon van der Stel called his council. The council thought about the problem. For many years, Klaas had helped them a lot. Klaas had traded many cheap cattle for them.
COUNCIL DECIDED TO HELP KOOPMAN
But now the council thought that Klaas was stopping other Khoikhoi who wanted to trade. The council wanted to trade with Koopman. So Simon van der Stel and the council decided to help Koopman and his people.
KLAAS WAS ATTACKED AND CAUGHT
Together, the European men and Koopman men attacked the village where Klaas and his people lived. The Europeans attacked the village from one side and shot many people with their guns. Koopman’s men waited on the other side of the village and caught all the people who tried to run away.
KLAAS WAS SENT TO ROBBEN ISLAND
The Europeans took Klaas to Cape Town. Klaas’ people became the servants of Koopman’s people. Simon van der Stel and Koopman got all Klaas’ cattle and sheep.
Simon van der Stel decided that Klaas was guilty because Klaas did not trade properly with the Europeans. Simon van der Stel sent Klaas to live on Robben Island.
PEOPLE DIDN’T THINK KLAAS WAS GUlLTY
Many people did not agree with Simon van der Stel. They did not think that Klaas was guilty. So some people complained.
KLAAS CAME BACK AFTER A YEAR
After about a year, Simon van der Stel thought that maybe he was not fair to Klaas. He let Klaas come back to Cape Town and look after the white people’s cattle.
KLAAS BECAME RICH AGAIN
After a few years, Klaas became a little rich again. He left the white people’s land and went back to his people.
KLAAS STILL HELPED EUROPEANS
Klaas still helped the Europeans to trade. He went with the European traders as a guide to show the way to the Khoikhoi people’s villages. But Klaas always told the Khoikhoi chiefs to trade only a few cattle.
KLAAS WAS NOT PROUD, GOT DRUNK
Klaas was not a proud Khoikhoi chief any more. He got drunk very often. One day in 1700, he was sitting in a tent and drinking with a European trader. Suddenly he stood up and shouted: “I am boss here”.
KLAAS TRIED TO KILL WHITE MAN
Klaas tried to kill the white man with a mug and an axe. Then he came out of the tent shouting: “I am the boss” and he hit one of his own men. When the other whites carne running with their guns, Klaas became quiet again.
KOOPMAN CAUGHT AND KILLED KLAAS
Klaas and Koopman were still enemies. In the year 1701, Koopman caught Klaas and killed him. Now Koopman had no more strong Khoikhoi enemies. He carried on trading with the Europeans.
BUT EUROPEANS BECAME POWERFUL
For a few years, Koopman was a powerful chief. But the Europeans became more and more powerful. Seventy years after the death of Klaas, there were nearly no Khoikhoi people left in Cape Town.
Adapted from Kraal and Castle