Friday, May 16, 2008

The San, the Khoi and anarchists

While visiting the web forum of some or other translators' organisation in South Africa, I stumbled upon a discussion about the origin of the word "Aitsa". These Afrikaans speakers had an idea of the meaning of the word, but if the had known the actual origin of the word, they would have a much deeper understanding.

Heitsi Eibab is an ancestral spirit of the KhoiKhoi people. He has magical powers and when witnessed by people, they would exclaim "Heitsi Eibab!" or "Heitsi Eibib!". Over time this exclamation has been shortened to "eitsa" or "aitsa". Once you know the origin, the meaning is apparent.

This reminded me of some excerpts I had read from the diaries of early travellers along South Africa's coastline. These so-called civilised, racists bliksems wrote of the Khoi and San people:

Thomas Herbert, 1627: "Their language is rather apishly than articulately sounded, with whom 'tis thought they have unnatural mixtures...During the time I stayed amongst them, I saw no signs of any knowledge of God, the law of Nature being scarce observed: No spark of Devotion, no symptom of Heaven or Hell, no place set apart for Worship, no Sabbath for rest..."

MY comment: You saw no place set apart for Worship because everything around them was worshipped, the animals, the rocks, the sky, the ground upon which they walked and the water they drank. EVERYTHING is sacred to the bushmen, you fuckwit. Everything was worshipped, unlike you who only worships that which is man-made!

John Milford, 1614: "These people are the most miserable, destitute of Religion in any kind, as farre as we can perceive and of all civility: their speech a chattering rather than language; naked save a short cloake of skinnes on their shoulders, ...eate that which dogges would hardly digest.

MY comment: The less said the better, except to add that those who follow organised, misogynist, civilised religions are the ones currently devastating the planet, practicing genocide, ecocide and war, while systematically causing the extinction of every living being. Talk about miserable and destitute!!

Pyrard de Laval, 1610: "the people who live along this coast ... are very brutish and savage ... They eat human flesh and entirely raw animals, with the intestines and guts without washing them, as do dogs... Further, they live without law or religion, like animals.

MY comment: When civilisation collapses, De Laval's descendants, those living in the cluttered cities of modern Europe, are going to resort to natural survival techniques in a crisis. Like the San people he observed, his descendants will scavenge to survive and yes, they too will eat the innards of animal (the most nutritious part) and yes, when things get really desperate they may even eat their fellow human animals!!

When the oil becomes scarce and trucks and power generators can no longer operate, people in London and Paris, where 80% of food is imported, will get very very hungry, very very quickly.

As a matter of interest, here's what the language experts on the translation website had to say about the meaning of aitsa:

I wonder what the Afrikaans term " aitsa " means?
Thank you!

See explanation below

Aitsa does not really mean anything in itself, it is more of a word of exclamation, eg: "Aitsa, look at that" or "Aitsa, he's about to get a hiding!"

It is also used as an exclamation to indicate something nice, e.g. Aitsa, what a nice girl/car/house, etc.

I am not sure of the origins of the word itself, though I guess it comes from one of the other local languages. The original meaning is lost on most Afrikaans speakers, however, and it is used in the sense as given above, whether this is correct in terms of the original meaning or not.