The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Programme is today saddened to hear of the death of ||Garuxab Toppies Kruiper. He will be remembered by his many friends and family from around Southern Africa, and by indigenous peoples from all over the world, as a husband, a father, master tracker and a teacher who shared the knowledge of his ancestors with younger generations. As a tribute, we wish to share with you this tribute and remembrance of him by Dr. Nigel Crawhall, Director of Secretariat, Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC).
Author: Dr. Nigel Crawhall
We are shocked and saddened to hear of the untimely death of ||Garuxab Toppies Kruiper, the eldest son of Dawid Kruiper. Toppies was a brilliant tracker and traditional man of the ‡Khomani people. He lost his wife in a tragic car accident in the early 1990s during the land claim. He struggled with depression, alcohol and his own will to live; he survived, got his tracking certification, fell in love with the wonderful Tiena and restarted his life.
We travelled to Tanzania together for him to work with Hadzabe hunter-gatherers in the Yaeda Valley, we later hosted them back in the southern Kalahari Desert. He was fascinated by their hunting techniques and medicinal knowledge. He bought a panga in the market and found a grinding stone for his grandmother and brought both back home in his hand luggage.
Life threw many difficult things at him, but he survived - poverty, dispossession, the brutality of apartheid racism, exile from the Kalahari, the death of his wife and, the violence in the community. But he survived; he was a healing dancer, a medicine maker, an artist, a tracker, a hunter, a conservationist and a good husband - a man with a smile that would light up your heart. A man who knew the secrets of his ancestors and the Kalahari Desert.
Hai hai hai. !aî se !gû, ou Toppies.