My history hero: Hendrik Witbooi (born c1830)

BBC film-maker and historian David Olusoga on why he admires teacher and soldier Hendrik Witbooi

Portrait of Hendrik Witbooi

This article was first published in the August 2014 issue of BBC History Magazine 

Hendrik Witbooi was born in the Northern Cape, in the tiny village of Pella near South Africa’s modern-day border with Namibia, some time around 1830. He was born into the Witbooi clan of the Nama people, who have mixed ethnic origins derived largely from the Khoisan (formerly known as Bushmen) but also from early Dutch settlers to the Cape. He was a teacher turned soldier who became head of his clan, and then leader of all the Nama, resisting German colonisation in the 1900s.

Want to read more?

Become a BBC History Magazine subscriber today to unlock all premium articles in The Library

Unlock now