Hottentot beliefs about Water.

Like the Bushmen / San people of Namibia, the Hottentot has great faith in the protective and curative powers of water.

Things or persons with potential to harm members of their society are rendered harmless by complete immersion in cold water, or by throwing water over them (this could be beneficial if the patient is feverish).

After revisiting an old habitation (generally frequented by spirits on being deserted) or returning from a burial site, it was common practice to ward off harm by applying wet clay or cold water to themselves.

Suspected sorcerers or "nag-lopers" (night walkers) were rendered powerless by being dunked in a water pool.

Though this practice is comparable to the dunking of witches in medieval European society, those unfortunate creatures usually succumbed to their ordeal, whereas the Hottentot witch was allowed to go free as soon as she had been dunked, and seldom suffered any ill effects.

The Hottentots believe that the flowers that grow in water are really the spirits of girls who have angered the rain.

Daughters must therefore speak gently and politely about the rain, or it will send lightning to kill them. Should this happen, they reappear as beautiful white flowers growing in the water.

Hottentots do not pick these flowers as they regard them as the embodiment of their dead daughters whom the rain has stolen forever (a belief adopted from the Bushmen).


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