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Combining the insights of archaeology, history and anthropology, this account ranges from the origins of the Khoikhoi to the contemporary politics of the Namaqualand 'reserves'. It explores the stereotype of the 'Hottentot', the conception that the Khoikhoi are a vanished people. "The Cape Herders" provides the first picture of the Khoikhoi people. In doing so, it fills a long-standing gap in the resources of Southern African studies, and at a time when interest in the indigenous populations of South Africa is growing daily. Combining the insights of archaeology, history and anthropology, this account ranges from the origins of the Khoikhoi in Southern Africa to the contemporary politics of the Namaqualand 'reserves'. The Cape Herders explodes a variety of South African myths - not least those surrounding the negative stereotype of the 'Hottentot', and those which contribute to the idea that the Khoikhoi are by now 'a vanished people'.
The story it tells instead is one of enduring interest - the history of a herding people in Southern Africa, its society, economy and culture, its relationship to the indigenous hunters of the Cape, its encounters with European expeditions, and its subsequent exposure to the first effects of colonisation. It is a story of change and adaptation, and it confirms the Khoikhoi's central role in the making of today's South Africa.