Vol. 58 No. 1 (2010)
Research Article

The Ethnonyms ?Aunin, Topnaars, and !Naranin

Published 2010-03-01





The ?Aunin, also called Topnaars and !Naranin, are an exceptional people, currently regarded as Nama (Khoikhoi) but thought to be originally San (Bushmen). They inhabit the Walvis Bay area and Kuiseb Valley in Namibia, and live primarily from fishing, and from harvesting the seeds of !nara (Acanthosicyos horrida) plants. Various explanations of the names ?Aunin and Topnaars have been encountered, the most popular linking the former to the Khoikhoi (Nama) word ?aub “peak, top, point, pinnacle,” etc., and the latter to the English, Dutch, and Afrikaans word top and the Dutch and Afrikaans substantive ending -naar. The present paper postulates on linguistic and anthropological grounds that the name ?Aunin reflects the unique means of livelihood of these people by fishing.


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