Haiseb has a profound association with holes, he  lives in them and is linked to people disappearing into them. Sometimes he throws people in and sometimes he is thrown in. 

In a wonderfully entangled manner Haiseb’s relationship with holes seems further linked to night, day and creation. 

In the Richtersveld there is a well known Haiseb hole, called Wondergat.

 ǂKhani Xues

“Two men, one was Haiseb. He wanted to push the other man into a hole. But the other man pushed Haiseb. So Haiseb was caught by his his own trap.

Haiseb would steel things. You point them down and they are gone.”




Benjamin |Howoseb

Haiseb was a well known man. He stayed in nature, not in the house. He was well known during that time as a xoma aob [ a healer]. He put people in a hole.

ǂGa ǂGorib

If you have a big large hole that you cannot get out of you need a ǂga ǂgorib, it is like an old wooden pump.

[imagine a ‘see saw’ and the rocking bar is  a plank of strong wood.] This is a Haiseb stick, a hai gaib. [nb. Hahn’s link to ‘stick’.]

||gam gorib means ‘water lifter’.

When you drop off a cliff you can only be pulled out with a hai gaib. You get the Haiseb graves on the way. To avoid the hole everyone puts a rock on the Haiseb graves. They are called Haiseb ||o obos.

So Haiseb was a well known medicine man. When you go somewhere first you must tche khom.


ǂKhani Xues and her family demonstrating how ǂga gorib  pushes Haiseb into the hole

Joshua Taurob – schoolteacher, Sesfontein. Interviewed with Ms. Thaniseb. 

Who was Haiseb?

A. There were two guys, Haiseb and ǂGâ ǂgorib ( translates as ‘someone who throws someone in the hole) ǂGâ = hole, ǂgorib = throw

ǂGâ ǂgorib was always next to the road where he had a hole where he threw people in. One day Haiseb was a clever man (problem guy) when he visited he heard people were throwing in. First he threw Haiseb in the hole – Haiseb gets out.

Haiseb is thrown in a second time and he gets out. A third time…the last time Haiseb is running round the hole singing

ǂGâ ǂgoriba, ǂGâ ǂgoriba, ǂGâ ǂgoribaq, Haikaiba (Haiseb’s other name) Haikai

They were testing the powers running round singing their names , like ‘witchdoctors do’. Testing like the witchdoctors.

Jakob ||Hoeb, Hoanib River Culture Group

[the story is on the first video in the stories section. The interview below is poorly translated and needs revising but indicates the story for the time being]

Haiseb was a clever man. He wanted to win. Haiseb was always complaining about day and night with God.

Haiseb always tells the people when the morning comes and he says this day will stay [forever] , no darkness will come.

Now God (Elob) says you can’t stop the day and night because I created it.

When the sun rose Haiseb took a stone and put it by one spot [outside his hole] and he stayed there  all the day . And then it grew darker [and he went back in his hole]

Haiseb stays in the hole. He only comes out when it is night [day?] [ John Taniseb: when inside he does not see the light [darkness?] ].

All the years when Haiseb was putting the rock out in the darkness [day;ight?], the pile is big. It looks like a grave. He is a clever man.

Haiseb was a clever man, more clever than the people but he did not know God created him

He cannot compare with God, only God gave that knowledge. He took a man and said there is a nice hole there – let’s go and see it and then he pushes him in. He is a killer no one can stop him.