Lisa Gorabes Masura and Handrethe (Gaoxas) Gururas

Kamanjab, 2016

CL: Was Haiseb a god?

Haiseb was a G||aub. There are different sorts of Haiseb, they have different colours depending on where they are found. If we found a Haiseb we would not do anything special, just put him to the side. When it rains Haiseb comes out and drinks and eats. If it is not raining he is not there.

Haiseb and Heitsi Eibeb are the same name. Other people, the !Hu-||aes or |Khomanin Damara from Okahandja and Windhoek called him Heitsi Eibeb

Sure Ganuses

Haiseb is sometimes called ||Gauab, in songs he is ||Gauab or ||Gamab.

A praying mantis is called ||Gauab. I don’t touch it. He is kind of an insect that disagreed with the rules of god so don’t talk to him.

In the beginning Haiseb was the second god. He does everything which is impossible. He was a healer. The first person and the second god.

When Haiseb was alive all the Damara believed in him. The the prophets came , the gebo aob, and they told the people about the real God. It is not Haiseb who has the power, it is another one, Elob. !Khub and G||aub lose and people go to Elob.

Haiseb was then left alone and people did not believe in him anymore.

The old people called Elob, the one who makes the rain fall, or Tutaba. A respect word for god is ǂGamiroba


Samson Awaseb

(Senior Traditional Council, Khorixas), 2015

Who is Haiseb?

His is the same as Haitsi Haibeb and  Tsui-ǁGoab. The praying mantis. Lord of the Nama people. Haiseb is brown like a tree. His name means ‘wounded knee’. When two dry river beds come together they pray for rain until their knees bleed.

Why that insect?

If you meet one and he is dead they put some stones on him. But he is pretending to be dead – maybe they meet him 20 metres away. Because he is a god, you must not touch his body. It is like a monument for him – then you meet him and he is the same one.

What is the relationship to a tree?

You will not see him on a tree or in the grass and he sometimes flies. He breeds just before rain