15.5 Xhosa.pdf - XHOSA Source...

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XHOSASource: The four major ethnic divisions among Black South Africans are the Nguni, Sotho, Shangaan-Tsonga and Venda. The Nguni represent nearly two thirds of South Africas Black population and can be divided into four distinct groups; the Northern and Central Nguni (the Zulu-speaking peo-ples), the Southern Nguni (the Xhosa-speaking peoples), the Swazi people from Swaziland and adjacent areas and the Ndebele people of the Northern Province and Mpumalanga. Archaeological evidence shows that the Bantu-speaking groups that were the ancestors of the Nguni migrated down from East Africa as early as the eleventh century. Language, Culture and Beliefs The Xhosa are the second largest cultural group in South Africa, after the Zulu-speaking nation. The Xhosa language (Isixhosa), of which there are variations, is part of the Nguni language group. Xhosa is one of the 11 official languages recognized by the South African Constitution, and in 2006 it was determined that just over 7 million South Africans speak Xhosa as a home language. It is a tonal language, governed by the noun - which dominates the sentence. Missionaries introduced the Xhosa to Western choral singing. Among the most successful of the Xhosa hymns is the South African national anthem, Nkosi SikeleiAfrika(God Bless Africa). It was written by a school teacher named Enoch Sontonga in 1897. Xhosa written literature was established in the nineteenth century with the publication of the first Xhosa newspapers, novels, and plays. Early writers included Tiyo Soga, I. Bud-Mbelle, and John Tengo Jabavu. Stories and legends provide accounts of Xhosa ancestral heroes. According to one oral tradi-tion, the first person on Earth was a great leader called Xhosa. Another tradition stresses the es-sential unity of the Xhosa-speaking people by proclaiming that all the Xhosa subgroups are de-scendants of one ancestor, Tshawe. Historians have suggested that Xhosa and Tshawe were prob-ably the first Xhosa kings or paramount (supreme) chiefs. The Supreme Being among the Xhosa is called uThixo or uQamata. As in the religions of many other Bantu peoples, God is only rarely involved in everyday life. God may be approached through ancestral intermediaries who are honoured through ritual sacrifices. Ancestors commonly make

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