- Washing your loincloths -

Hai||om women in the 1920s

The meaning of !Gaekhoo-aib is “the place to wash your !gaes (loincloth)”. It is the name of the river between Fisher’s Pan and the main pan. The people moving between |Namob (Namutoni) and Kevis (Okevi) or other areas further north passed it on their way. There was no road in former times, and during the rainy season the Hai||om got wet when they were passing there.

The front loincloth (!gaes) of both men and women was usually made out of the belly skin of a Damara dik-dik, the smallest of Africa’s antelope. The rear skirt for men (!guus ) and women (!gobas) was made from springbok, steenbok or duiker skin, though the women preferred duiker, since it was attractive and of the correct length. The sandals (|khapun) were made out of zebra, eland or giraffe skin; when sufficiently thick, oryx (Afrikaans: gemsbok) skin could also be used.