This clip was taken in 2019 near  Dâures. The Damara lady is demonstrating how Haiseb dances and sings in relation to the story shown previously of Haiseb picking berries

The Awaras family and Animare Culture group performing a Haiseb song

Johny from the Hai||om community in Outjo shared a story that included an action I saw elsewhere; and  we can see this here.  In the story he acts out Haiseb pulling out his honib, or mucus, and flinging it.

Honib is rubbed on to children if they receive a burn. This may or may not be relevant…

Wilfred Naibob, near Dâures, 2015.

Mariane !Owos oas and I asked Wilfred and his wife if they knew any Haiseb stories or songs. The knew a story – the Lion story. And they wanted to show us this  song and dance shown below:

“I will get the chicken, the big one, the grey one”.

They also knew another song about the rain:

“One cloud must come together. I must now go and dig the !khwa [a root to eat]”

Mariane explained: “After the clouds come together it rains. Then it is a good time to dig this and !nan, they can sell it. Or they must eat the dog”

“Oh that man [Haiseb], he was badly clever. Here there was a lion man and Haiseb, they went together. So the lion man had a plan, then the lion man decided to sleep under the mountain, under the shadow of the big stone. And the Haiseb he is a |xu aob  and he knows what is going on. The |xu aob..that is the one working with the prophet things, the Haiseb was a |xu aob and he already knew that the lion man was sleeping under the shadow of the stone.

Now the lion man he decided to eat the Haiseb and he decided to wait for him there under the shadow of the big stone. He is snoring the lion man, then the Haiseb came and looked around and looked around while the lion man was sleeping and snoring. After he looked and looked he says “you and me we will never be together because your plans and mine are not the same “.  Haiseb moved away from there. And that is the way they go, this one on his own and the other one on his own. The lion man did not eat the Haiseb becuase the Haiseb was already the /xu aob and he knew what was going on.

Cl: So the lion man was going to kill the Haiseb?

A. Yes the lion man was trying to kill, to eat the Haiseb. Then the Haiseb moved on his way and while he was moving he saw they people sitting around and he went there. There was a water borehole where the Haiseb came, they were fetching the water from it in those days. There were two women taking the water out of the borehole when Haiseb came there. They took their water and went back to their houses.

When they arrived home then the Haiseb decide that I am also a person and I have to go with them, so  he went to the house. Then the Haeseb and the other people were talking about the family ” I am a child of who and I come from where I am a child of who” and those stuff. They recognising each other, that was the end where Haiseb found his family and enjoy his life and they stay together as a family.


This brief story reveals a common habit of pulling together narratives that are often presented as separate stories. The first section about the Lion tells us about Haiseb’s magical status as someone from the Old Time who can see in the future. This Old Time status is picked up again in the last section where the world is sorted – Lion goes one way, Haiseb goes the other. Lion and Haiseb are different and the process of separation represents the move from Old Time to New Time. This separation is central to KhoeSan folklore and is sometimes referred to as as great ‘sorting’. It is the time when the world became ordered and people started eating game animals