Group of peoples, speaking closely related Khoisan languages, who were among the first indigenous southern Africans encountered by Europeans. The precontact Khoekhoe were pastoralists who tended large herds of cattle and sheep. By 1800 Khoekhoe societies south of the Orange River in Cape Colony had been largely destroyed by disease and warfare, with the remnants either serving as bonded labourers for white farmers or blending into frontier communities of mixed descent, such as the Griqua. North of the Orange River in Namibia, the Nama are the largest Khoekhoe ethnic group, numbering about 230,000.
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