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.

  • 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?

  • 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.