Show Summary

Here I must mention [says Hahn] a peculiar old custom common to all Khoikhoi tribes, and which proves how well the conjugal ties were already established before the Khoikhoi separation. All the daughters are called after the father and all the sons after the mother. Thus, if the father is Xam-|hab and the mother is ‡Arises, the sons are—

1. ‡Ariseb geib—i.e., ‡Arise the big one, or the eldest ‡Arise.

2. ‡Ariseb ‡khami, ‡Arise the younger one.

If there are three sons, then the following appellative or cognominal distinctions are made:

1. ‡Ariseb geib.

2. ‡Ariseb !naga-mab—i.e., ‡Arise the-lower-standing, i.e., the second.

3. ‡Ariseb ‡khami. ‡Ariseb the younger one or the youngest.

If there are four sons, the denomination runs thus:

1. ‡Ariseb geib.

2. ‡Ariseb !naga-mab.

3. ‡Ariseb ‡khami.

4. ‡Ariseb !naga-ma-‡khami.

If there are five sons, the denomination is like the preceding, where there are four; the fifth one is called !gaob, and if it is a daughter !gaos, which means the "cut off." And if there are more than five sons, more cognomina such as ‡nub, the dark one, |haib, the fawn-colored one, |awab, the red one, !nubub, the short one, gaxub, the tall one, etc., are used.

In exactly the same way the daughters are called after the father; for instance, Xam-|hab being the father, the suffix s of the feminine gender is simply put in place of the masculine b and we thus receive:—1. Xam-|has geis. 2. Xam-|has !naga-mas. 3. Xam-|has ‡khams, etc. This custom will guide us, when in the sequel we have to explain the relationship of mythological persons. There is, for instance, !Urisib, the son of Heitsieibib. Our old storyteller did not give us the name of the wife of !Urisib. But from knowing her son’s name to be !Urisib, we quite correctly infer that her name certainly was !Urisi-s.1

Mundugumor social organization [says Mead] is based upon a theory of a natural hostility that exists between all members of the same sex, and the assumption that the only possible ties between members of the same sex are through members of the opposite sex. Instead therefore of organizing people into patrilineal groups or matrilineal groups, in either one of which brothers are bound together in the same group as either their father or their mother’s brother, the Mundugumor have a form of organization that they call a rope. A rope is composed of a man, his daughters, his daughter’s sons, his daughters’ sons’ daughters; or if the count is begun from a woman, of a woman, her sons, her sons’ daughters, her sons’ daughters’ sons, and so on. All property, with the exception of land, which is plentiful and not highly valued, passes down the rope: even weapons descend from father to daughter. A man and his son do not belong to the same rope, or respect the same totemic bird or animal. A man leaves no property to his son, except a share in the patrilineally descended land; every other valuable goes to his daughter. Brothers and sisters do not belong to the same rope; one is bound in allegiance to the mother, the other to the father.1

Among the Bushmen, regarded as the lowest in culture among African tribes, Lebzelter reports that boys belong to the sib of the mother and girls to the sib of the father in two groups examined, and in a third the opposite pattern is found, the boys belonging to the sib of the father and the girls to that of the mother.2

1Hahn, T.n/an/an/an/an/a, , 19–20 (K. Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co. By permission).

1 Mead, Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies, 176–177 (William Morrow & Company, Inc. By permission).

2 Lebzelter, V., "Die Buschmänner Südwestafrikas," Africa, 7: 6–7.

Related Resources

None available for this document.

Download Options

Title: Tsuni-||Goab

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options

Title: Tsuni-||Goab

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: K. Paul, ed., Tsuni-||Goab in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed September 22, 2023, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=F8B1S7P8WPB2SFT.

MLA: . Tsuni-||Goab, edited by K. Paul, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 22 Sep. 2023. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=F8B1S7P8WPB2SFT.

Harvard: (ed.), Tsuni-||Goab. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 22 September 2023, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=F8B1S7P8WPB2SFT.