Featured : Owambo, Bergdama, Nama, !Ko, !Kung, Herero



H. v. François noted that “[d]er Verkehr der Geschlechter ist vom Eintritt der Rife an völlig ungehindert […]” (cited by Ploß / Renz, 1912:p544). No secret is made of early childhood masturbation, which takes place with “considerable” frequency (Ford, 1945 [1964:p20]; Ford and Beach, 1951)[1]. Mantegazza[2] stated that it was so frequent, one might call it a “natural vice”. There is mention of childhood elongation of the labia majora (Schapera, 1930:p243)[3]. Hottentot mothers would tell their daughters, before their first menstruation, to “Go and make yourself a mfuli [artificially extended labia] […]” (De Rachewiltz, 1963[1964:p152]). Schultze (1907:p298, 309)[4] noted the precocity of the Hottentots. “Bei der sinnlichen Frühreife des Volkes haben Knaben oft schon Geschlechtsverkehr, ehe sie den Kinderspielen entwachsen sind” (Karsch-Haack, 1911:p132). The tribadie of Hottentot girls was discussed by Karsch-Haack (1901 [1983:p241-2])[5] quoting Gustav Fritsch on the matter. The Nama were said to “encourage sexual relationships between adults and children” (Eskapa, 1987:p154), but this remains unconfirmed.

Indicative of the “love-play”, or “sex-play” hinted at by Nama dances as encountered among the Korana people by Kirby[6] was the suggestion that “[…] no boy was even taught how to play until he had been through the doro or puberty ceremony. The significance of this limitation”, the author argues, “is obvious”.


[Additional refs.: Hoff, A. (1995) Puberty rite of a Khoekhoe girl], South Afr J Ethnol 18,1:29-41]










Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] Op.cit.

[2] Dutch transl., 2nd ed., p106

[3] Schapera, I. (1930) The Khoisan Peoples of South Africa, Bushmen and Hottentots. London: Routledge

[4] Schultze, L. (1907) Aus Namaland und Kalahari. Jena: Fischer

[5] Karsch-Haack, F. (1901) Uranismus oder Päderastie und Tribadie bei den Naturvölkern, Jb Sex Zwischenst 3:72ff. Reprinted in 1983 (Schmidt, W. J. (Ed.), Vol.1:p229-96

[6] Kirby, P. R. (1933) The Reed-Flute Ensembles of South Africa: A Study in South African Native Music, J Royal Anthropol Instit Great Britain & Ireland 63:313-88