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Kaffir (Xhosa) Folk-Lore, by George McCall Theal, [1886], at



(a) The word amasi, translated milk, means that kind of fermented milk which is used by the Kaffirs. When taken from the cow, the milk is put into a skin bag, where it ferments and acquires a sharp acid taste. When poured out for use by the master of the household, who is the only one permitted to touch the milk-sack, a portion is always left behind to act as leaven. Amasi is very nutritious; it forms one of the principal articles of food of the Kaffirs, and is relished by most Europeans in Kaffirland. In warm weather, especially, it is a pleasant and wholesome beverage.

(b) Among the Kaffirs the work of cultivating the ground fell entirely upon the women in olden times, The introduction of the plough has caused a change in this respect, but to the present day the planting and weeding is performed by females.

(c) lkùba, a pick or hoe. Before the advent of Europeans, the largest implement that was made was this instrument for breaking up the ground. It was of nearly the same shape as a European hoe; but in place of having an eye, into which a handle could be fastened, it was made with a top like a spike, which was driven into the large knob of a long and heavy club. It was at best a clumsy tool.

(d) Kaffir law recognises the right of individuals to possess landed property. The chief allots a piece of ground to a family, by whom it is retained and held in possession as long as it is cultivated. It is forfeited by abandonment for a long time without assigning sufficient cause. It cannot be sold. Pasture land is held in common.

(e) ltungoa, a basket used to milk the cows in. It is woven so nicely as to be watertight. The Kaffirs are expert in making baskets and mats, but never attempt to dye any of the materials of which they are composed, or otherwise to ornament them. They use mats as we use dishes, to eat from.

(f) The potter's art is now being lost by the Kaffirs. The large jars are being replaced by wooden casks purchased from Europeans, and iron pots have already come into general use.

(g) The Kaffir house has only one opening, which is low and narrow, but which serves for door, window, and chimney.

(h) The fireplace is a circle in the centre of the hut. It is made by raising a ring on the hard and smooth ant-heap floor. Round it the inmates sleep, while the back of the hut, or the side opposite the entrance, is used as a store room. There the jars and other household utensils would usually be placed.

(i) Intambo, a riem, or thong of untanned oxhide.

(j) Equivalent to saying that they journeyed for three days.

(k) There are no crocodiles in the rivers of the present Amaxosa country, but the reptile and its habits are well known to the people by hearsay. According to their traditions, the tribe migrated from the north-east. It is not unlikely that the Xosa belief in a water-spirit which has power to charm people and entice them into rivers to their destruction, may have originated in the fact of their having come from a country where these destructive animals were common, as the spirit and the reptile have the same name. In this story it is seemingly a crocodile that appears, but very shortly we learn that it is really a man who has been bewitched and forced to assume that appearance.

(l) Boys "enter manhood," or acquire the privileges of men, by a ceremony similar to the ntonjane.

(m) Up to this point there is nothing to indicate that the girl knew he was not in reality a crocodile, but here it is evident that she was aware he was a man under the power of a charm, for she uses a proper name when speaking of him, as is indi. cated by the prefix U.

(n) The inference from this is that his enemies had bewitched him and made him assume the appearance of a crocodile, but that the young woman on account of her good qualities and great love for him had power to dispel the charm, and by licking his face had enabled him to resume his proper form as a man.

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