16 Things You Didn’t Know About Xhosa

By Keren Mikva AFKI Original Published: June 5, 2014, 10:35 am
AF.Wikipedia.org AF.Wikipedia.org

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 areย 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

    • EDDY

      The research is false.Xhosa ,Zulu,Swati,Ndebele,Are not feom Nigeria,People should stop writing false stories about South Africans,because they want to belong,They all fall under the Nguni Group of wich all of us descend from .We stayed a long time in East Africa but are originally from southeren nubia,If U go to East africa today alot of language and physcical attributes and customs are similar and physical structure,just like alot of Vend and tsonga those that did not mix with the Nguni have west african attributes and alot of West african say and lot Venda and tsonga speak and look like them and their customs.The perosn who wrote this article and should have found out .I hate wrong information broadcasted out about south africans

    • EDDY

      The Nguni people who trace their Lineage to Nguni,descendant from Southern Egypt,Nubia stayed Migrated to East africa travelling in one group and finally settled around 2000 years ago it what today know as the Eastcoast of South A

    • EDDY

      The Nguni people who trace their Lineage to Nguni,descendant from Southern Egypt,Nubia stayed Migrated to East africa travelling in one group and finally settled around 2000 years ago it what today know as the Eastcoast of South Africa .We found the Khoisan and intermarried.We stayed for a long time as a group before other groups migrated down south in to the NOw Eastern cape and then fffurther down south to the western cape.The Khoisan where never many in number hence their Nguni language has a stronger presence.The Sotho seperated while we where all staying in the now KZNcause the oldest pottery wich is similar to sotho pottery was found in the KZN ,HENC ETHE FROM THE SOTH CAME THE tSWANA AND some pedi.Hence Sotho also has some clicks very few but someAnd from the the splinter group of theSoth the Tswana migrated further west finding other groups of the khoi,but not treating the as equals ,but the tswana used to enslave the KHOI SAN and make the slaves and the child of a tswana and a khoisan was called a mosarwa some taking a lighter complexion,until the europeans came and the enslavement of the Khoi san by the Tswana to the Khoi san got reduced hence maybe the a fewer traits of Khoi languages in the Sotho groups because they did not see the khoi san as equal human being and the other splinter group from the soth and tswana was some pedi ,who also inter married with a lot of tribes from the North.I hope this will enlighten a lot of africans about south africans.Not Everybody is Nguni,But the Nguni are part of the larger Bantu group but origante from a king In Nubia and us today here in South Africa descend from him.But Nguni today are of Nilitic origin.The africans found in East africa who migrated from Egypt.Linguistically and customary and feature wise it can be proven even today.But during difecane a larger number that wer still staying in the now KZN,migrated further south some to the north and alot to Countries like kenya and tanzania.In Zimbabwe u find the Ndebele who descended from the Zulu,the the swati in SWAZI LAND.tHE SHANGAAN WAS A FEW THUSAND ZULU WARRIORS WHO WENT TO COMQUER THE TSONGA IN MOZAMBIQUE AND OTHER BANTU CLANS THE CHPOI,TONGA AND RODZWI AND MOZAMBIQUE WHILE UNDER SOSHANGAAN WAS CALLE GAZA AFTER HIS CALN NAME OR SURNAME.They did try to teach those people in mozambique the nguni language or zulu but it would take along time and did not work out hence Tsonga or other Mozambiquan language over shadow the nguni language in shangaan but the are some nguni traits.Alot of Nguni groups coming most from the kzn and who wwhere ounce under shaka’s command did conquer other parts of africa in the north hence alot of confusion with people having Nguni surnames in other parts of africa but them not being quite sure of the originn to South AFRICA.i HOPE THIS WILL ENLIGHTEN A LOT OF AFRICAN AND HOPE THEY SHOULD STOP CREATING FALSE STORIE ABOUT THE NGUNI.ALL Nguni afew thousand years ago settled in the now KZN AND STAYED AS ONE GROUP FOR A LONG TIME AND THEY SATRTED SEPERATING.hENCE TODAY THEY PRACTICE THE SAME CUSTOMS ,SPEAK SIMILAR TO EACH OTHER AND HAVE THE SAME CLAN NAMES.wETHER YOU ARE Zulu,xhosa,swati,ndebele.Those are the groups today who speak a pure Nguni language and who did not sawy alot from their ancient roots,ccustoms and beliefs..I hope the international media to stop spreading lies and confusions about South africans.The Nguni are descendant from a great and powerful warrior Nation,hence the domination.We might fight amongst each other but it does not change the fact that we are one and descent from one seed

  • 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

    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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

    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

  • Tozama

    Most Xhosa’s are from the Eastern Cape and Western Cape and that is where the language is most prominent than in Gauteng….check your facts please

  • mateklongse

    I just want to make you aware that you’re making unlawful use of one of my images. The least you could do is to state the author’s name. Besides, there is an image copy protection mechanism implemented on pBase for all my images. Bypassing it and getting hold of the image anyway, implies a conscious action to willingly steal the image. That needs to stop.

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  • Pete Gibson

    Interesting to read through the posts. I as a British Celt was privileged to spend my early years among the AmaXhosa whose society greatly assisted my adult perception of Ubuntu and the value of, ” I see you”. Which can be so much more than visual, extending to an appreciation of the whole inner being of the person you greet.
    I would point out that the People of Kernow (called Cornwall by the English) are as Celtic as their cousins in Cymry (miss named Wales by the English) Saleni kakuhle, Tata P.