16 Things You Didn’t Know About Xhosa

By Keren Mikva AFKI Original Published: June 5, 2014, 10:35am
PBase.com PBase.com

Xhosa is one of the most recognizable Bantu languages, mainly due to the prominence of its click consonants and its intense use of the letter “x,” used to denote some of the clicks. Spoken mostly in South Africa, but also in Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and other areas in Southern Africa, Xhosa is an interesting language with an even more interesting history. Here are 16 things you didn’t know about Xhosa.

Sources: OddityCentral.com, Wikipedia.org, Princeton.edu, sa-venues.com, alsintl.com, everyculture.com, bioculturaldiversity.co.za

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  • josh

    I want to know since the Xhosa clan originated from Nigeria and Cameroon, what two languages did they divide into? and are not all the clans from south Africa originally form the Zulu clan under shaka Zulu ?

    • vuyo

      This is all fiction.

    • Mlungisi Makubalo

      Hayi uShaka ngumntana nakuTshiwo.

    • MissXhosa

      We are as old to South Africa as the English are to England.

      “In reality, my people have more right to the word British than the
      English(they invaded and took over, the Britons were there first, and the
      Anglos had the audacity to re-name them Welsh from old English world
      ‘wealas'(foreigner) in their own homeland)! But am I complaining? No.

      Last time I checked, Ireland is part of the British Isles.

      Subject: Re:
      Why a lack of British identity in America?

      Written By: Full_House_Fan on 03/12/05 at 2:55 am”

      And fyi KhoiSan are in us. They live through us. My ancestors, my KhoiSan, my Xhosa

  • Hessequa

    No. The orignial South African languages were the khoi and san languages. That is also why extensive bushmen rock art will be found all across Southern Africa. No all Southern African languages do not stem from xhosa or zulu. Zulu and Xhosa have the clicks in their language due to interaction, trade, marriage and conquest of various khoi and san groups.

    • vuyo

      How do you know. The other groups did not draw graffiti, so does that make them foreign?

    • MissXhosa

      We are as old to South Africa as the English are to England.

      “In reality, my people have more right to the word British than the
      English(they invaded and took over, the Britons were there first, and the
      Anglos had the audacity to re-name them Welsh from old English world
      ‘wealas'(foreigner) in their own homeland)! But am I complaining? No.

      Last time I checked, Ireland is part of the British Isles.

      Subject: Re:
      Why a lack of British identity in America?

      Written By: Full_House_Fan on 03/12/05 at 2:55 am”

      And fyi KhoiSan are in us. They live through us. My ancestors, my KhoiSan, my Xhosa

  • Hessequa

    The history is freely available. do not be fooled into thinking that South Africa’s pre-colonial history began with the nguni migration. Tswana, Sotho Pedi groups also had similar forms of interaction, as can be noticed by the shared usage of the arab g, kh sounds in the languages.

  • Hessequa

    And by the way in khoekhoegowab a distinction was made between the nguni group as black people (#nu-khoi), themselves as khoi-khoi and white people as !uri-khoi

    • Mark Fredericks

      I would also recommend that this author of this piece read Hosea Jaffe’s – “European, Colonial Despotism” – which dispels much of the new age ‘black African’ nationalism of Southern Africa. I find it amazing that the book is hardly found in historical circles in Africa, specifically South Africa.

      Then I wonder what the author hereof would say to Mrs. Phyllis Jordan, mother to Pallo ‘former doctor’ Jordan – who said that the lingua franca of sub Saharan Africa is Afrikaans!

  • zeeya

    The author of this article should not have cut and pasted information fro wikipedia and distort facts. For staters it is not XHOSA the is no such a thing its IsiXhosa (the language) and AmaXhosa (the people). Please do a proper research and write a proper article.

  • Xhosa&Proud

    Just a few points to add:

    1. IsiXhosa is spoken is main spoken language in the Eastern Cape and predominant language in the Western Cape and Northern Cape and parts of Bloemfontein.

    2. Both Ciskei and Transkei were the two homelands established for Xhosa people to live … while many still lived in locations that were part of the Border Area during apartheid in places like Kwelerha, eRhini, iBhayi, locations outside of iQonce, namely eDimbaza, eZwelitsha, eRhegu, iXesi, eDikeni and Ebhofolo etc. including all the areas between East London, King Williams Town, Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth.

    3. With many Africans coming to South Africa we learn the migration started as far as north as parts of Ethiopia, check Ethiopian dress and you will see great similarities to traditional IsiXhosa dress, with some said to come from the Batetela tribe in Congo and as such dialect between IsiXhosa and the Tetela language is undeniable of this fact. This link has been confirmed by many Congolese visiting South Africa over the years including direct descendants of the Lumumba family.

    4. the C for example icici, igcisa, ichibi, etc. and the Q for example iqaqa, ingqumbo, iqhawe etc. are also part of the clicks unique to the IsiXhosa and Nguni languages. You may work out the phonetics of this as illustrated in the article.

    5. Rharhabe comes to mind as one of the dialects missing from the list.

  • Observer

    The article was a good concept and topic but it was a very lazy an poor research on part of the team that came up with the article. I can tell it was not meant for Africans and misleading. Please take note of Xhosa&proud comments and do not do your research based on written material. Nothing is authentic and true about information on books about african people, never trust anything written about Africans, we may not have the details but we will know when you lying. Besides, no author ever written the truth about Africa and allowed to leave or let alone celebrated. Every writer ever wrote the truth about African were killed and books burned, banned and never published or promoted. I knew at the young age and that is i can safely and without apology say, the so called History is fiction and one sided.

  • MissXhosa

    The Welsh are really more Celtic and “British” than anyone
    else. The Irish originally were Celts from Spain, the Welsh were in
    Britain way before the Nordic English, which are almost Vikings really.

    Subject: Re:
    Why a lack of British identity in America?

    Written By: ElDuderino on 03/12/05 at 2:27 am

    I’m not talking in terms of legal citizenship and modern
    borders/definition. I am talking ethnicity and culture. And in this sense, the
    Irish ARE British. If they are not British in this sense, then the same can
    easily be argued for the Welsh and Scotish. Which would relegate the term
    British to being a synonym for English(which, I sometimes suspect is what the
    English want ;) ).

    Subject: Re:
    Why a lack of British identity in America?

    Written By: Full_House_Fan on 03/12/05 at 2:24 am

    Basically most people aren’t indigenous to the places they’ve lived for more than 1000 years. Bantus came to South Africa just about the time the English displaced the Irish. But no one can call the English recent arrivals to England. They made England more than a thousand years ago just like us Xhosa’s. We made South Africa our home more than a thousand years ago. KhoiSan is in all of us. I have no relation to Congo as the English have no relation to Germany or Spain

  • MissXhosa

    In reality, my people have more right to the word British than the
    English(they invaded and took over, the Britons were there first, and the
    Anglos had the audacity to re-name them Welsh from old English world
    ‘wealas'(foreigner) in their own homeland)! But am I complaining? No.

    Last time I checked, Ireland is part of the British Isles.

    Subject: Re:
    Why a lack of British identity in America?

    Written By: Full_House_Fan on 03/12/05 at 2:55 am

  • MissXhosa

    As someone of Welsh ancestry, this is perplexing. Why are the Irish to
    be set aside from the other nationalities of the British isles? That doesn’t
    make much sense. Look, the Welsh, Scots, and Irish are all CELTIC, and the
    English/Anglos are actually of Germanic origin. So really, if any ethnic should
    be excluded from the rest of them in the British isles, it is the English, not
    the Irish. And what about Northern Irish? Should they be cut off from the rest
    of their people because of some modern borders?

    I’m not talking in terms of legal citizenship and modern borders/definition. I
    am talking ethnicity and culture. And in this sense, the Irish ARE British. If
    they are not British in this sense, then the same can easily be argued for the
    Welsh and Scotish. Which would relegate the term British to being a synonym for
    English(which, I sometimes suspect is what the English want ;) ).

    Subject: Re:
    Why a lack of British identity in America?

    Written By: Full_House_Fan
    on 03/12/05 at 2:24

    In reality, my people have more right to the word British than the
    English(they invaded and took over, the Britons were there first, and the
    Anglos had the audacity to re-name them Welsh from old English world
    ‘wealas'(foreigner) in their own homeland)! But am I complaining? No.

    Last time I checked, Ireland is part of the British Isles.

    Subject: Re:
    Why a lack of British identity in America?

    Written By: Full_House_Fan on 03/12/05 at 2:55 am