Descendants honour Zara Hendricks

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The mother of the Nama language, Zara Hendricks, has been honoured by her descendants at Kommagas near Springbok in the Northern Cape.

In the early 1800’s a German missionary, Heinrich Schmelen, married a Nama lady, Hendricks. She and her husband played a major role in the translation of the Bible into the Nama language and the establishment of a grammar system for Nama.

The bible and hymns she translated can still be seen in the Cape Town National Library. Her contribution together with that of her husband has never been officially recognised.

This weekend about 100 descendants across the world gathered in Kommagas, basically to pay homage to her and give her the recognition she deserved 200 years later.

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A descendant says: “We’ve brought together family from many countries but from many backgrounds and for South Africa and Namibia, is it important because we have people who thought of their identity as white, people who in the past were classified as coloured, and also people who married into the family where under the apartheid would have been classified as black, but we are all one family.” – Edited by Nicole Naidu

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