i-con2 Ethnic Groups in Namibia : Nama

The entire south of Namibia is traditionally inhabited by the people of the Nama. During apartheid their homeland was around Gibeon, a dusty, desolate hamlet south of Mariental.

The Nama are divided in different tribes, but they speak a common language, a Khoisan dialect with various click sounds resembling the language of the San.

The Nama are related to the Khoikhoi and have arrived probably in the 1800's from the Cape, when the white settlers occupied more and more land.


Ethnic groups in Namibia Nama Rehoboth Baster Herero San (Bushmen) Damara Caprivians Kavango Ovambo Himba
The Nama migrated up to the area of today's Windhoek, where they became embroiled in ongoing skirmishes and battles with the Herero. Under their legendary chief Hendrik Witbooi they also fought against the German occupants, at first successfully, but they were defeated in the end, because they failed to ally timely with the Herero.

The approximately 100.000 Nama mainly farm with sheep and goats, a meagre existence considering the fact that their settlement area is badly overgrazed. Many Nama work as farmworkers and herdsmen on the surrounding farms.

Photo: Young Nama man near Gibeon