How Cogmans Kloof got its name
The name of the scenic kloof that links Montagu with towns along the Breede River valley is derived from the name of a former Khoekhoe leader, Cochob, a name that means “narrow cheeks”. The people led by Cochob were known as the Cochoqua. The Cochoqua were one of the most influential Khoekhoe groups, living in two clans under separate chiefs and numbering about 20 000 people. The Cochoqua were settled in the Saldanha Bay region, but after the Dutch arrived in the Cape in 1652, the Cochoqua migrated and settled in the area around present‑day Ashton and Montagu.
The kloof between the two towns was named after the Cochoqua. This name went through several iterations: from Cochonas to Cockomans to Cochmans and, finally, Cogmans.
Around 1760, pressure from Dutch settlement once again caused the Cochoqua to leave their home. They migrated north in search of new hunting grounds and pasture. They eventually settled in the vicinity of the Gariep (Orange) River. Today, only scattered archaeological artefacts and the name of this route through the Langeberg Mountains remain as reminders of the Cochoqua people.
The Khoekhoe people (pronounced kwe‑kwe as in question) had an unmatched knowledge of the veld they lived in – both as a source of food and of medicinal plants used for healing. The Langeberg mountains boast a particularly large variety of indigenous medicinal plants. For more information, visit the medicinal herb garden at the Montagu Museum.