Famous Truths About Xhosa Tribe, Culture and Language


In 11th century, a massive migration of people took place a cross the continent. As a result, many people from southern Zaire moved to different directions and settled in most part of south of Sahara. Among the tribes who took part in this major migration included Xhosa.

Truths About Xhosa Tribe, Culture and Language


Xhosa tribe

It is a descendant of Nguni clan. Xhosa speaking group has various tribes with similar or related but divergent heritages. The major tribes include Bomvana, Mpondomise, Thembu, Xesibe, and Mpondo. Besides, Mfengu and Bhaca have adopted the language of Xhosa. The word Xhosa is from a legendary leader known as uXhosa. Another theory claims that the word Xhosa is derived from san or khoi-khoi language. The word Xhosa means ‘angry’ or ‘fierce’, the Xhosa being the fierce group. The Xhosa refers to their language as isiXhosa and themselves as amaXhosa.

Xhosa language

It is the Bantu family agglutinative tonal language. In English, we refer Xhosa language as Xhosa while the Xhosa refer to their language as isiXhosa. Written Xhosa employs Latin alphabet style. Approximately 18% of South Africa population speaks Xhosa. In addition, it has a number of mutual intelligibility with Zulu, particularly the Zulu spoken in towns. Most of the Xhosa urban dwellers, also speak Afrikaans and/or Zulu and/or English.

The language of Xhosa has 15 click sounds, borrowed from the current extinct Khoi-Khoi and the san languages of South Africa. Xhosa language has three primary click consonants: a palatal click, dental click, and a lateral click, printed with letter q, c and x respectively. A simple five vowels list also exists that is, (a, e, i, o, u). However, some of the vowels may be silent particularly at the word end. These vowels can be there in written Xhosa but barely perceptible in verbal language. In most cases, the Xhosa words tone is always lowest at the end.

Xhosa culture

The Xhosa tribes have an affluent cultural heritage. They have also majorly contributed to the development and growth of South Africa. For an instance, Rolihlahia later known as Nelson Mandela was the leading Icon in the freedom struggle in South Africa. Nelson Mandela became the first African president of the republic of South Africa in 1994. He is from Xhosa.

Major Facts About Xhosa Culture Include:

The Xhosa group has remained famous for the bravura and a wide range of their beadwork. Traditionally, the woman’s life stages were reflected on ornamentations and garments. Newly married women wore a unique headdress, a dissimilar style by the women who had given birth etc. The Xhosa men are polygamous. However, currently only wealthier men have at least two wives. The men traditionally fulfilled the warrior’s role, stockman as well as a hunter while the women tilted the land and grew crops.

A clan consists of many groups. A chief also referred to as Inkosi heads each clan. The land was very important, and a serious emphasis put on awarding as per individual needs. The clan shared everything at all time. The families help one another to complete a certain task such as building of the hut. The Xhosa has diviners in their tribes. Most of the diviners are women.

  • Wynand Bothma

    Completely idiotic article, completely wrong facts… You guys are describing the Orania Afrikaners here, your generalization is completely biased!

  • Alida Viljoen

    I have never seen such a stereotypical load of crap!! Articles like these make me want to distance myself so damn far from this “Afrikaner” group, and I am a white, Afrikaans-speaking girl from French and Dutch descent… Good grief!
    That staff writer seems to have observed some strange, obscure, small clan of “Afrikaners” somewhere in a very remote part of the country and seems to know nothing about the cultural landscape of South Africa.

    There are so many misconceptions in this article… Here’s 3:

    1) Naming the first born after the (grand-)parents? Maybe this was the norm 50 years ago, but it is not that prevalent today.

    2) “[…]allowed to start courting at the age of 16 […] presented as adults at the age of 21.” Where on earth does this come from? Maybe in a few select families, yes. But it’s definitely NOT standard practice or even part of the general Afrikaner culture.

    3) As for the hobbies and the division of labour (with a “u”, as we’re using British English) – that is also a load of crap. Maybe those were the “traditional” hobbies in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but they’re definitely not the general set of “things do to” for a modern Afrikaner.

    Check your facts and many interview, oh, I don’t know, 500 families, THEN you can write an article about a specific “ethnic group”.

  • Riaan Grobler

    How utterly ridiculous. Apart from the many grammatical errors in this cretinous post, the assumption that Afrikaners are this homogeneous and archaic is ignorant and completely uninformed. How insulting to so many people of Afrikaner descent.

  • http://wolfieinu.deviantart.com/ PrtScrSysReq

    Valiant attempt, but about 200 years out of date! As an Afrikaner myself, I can provide you with an update:

    1. Religion
    Afrikaners, like most people, have all kinds of various opinions on religion. They are most likely to have a Protestant background of some description, but their exact opinions on the truth of religion or its role in society could be pretty much anything. The only reason that apartheid got mixed up in all this is because the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) set itself up as a state church and therefore it fell on them to justify government policy to some degree; segregation is not inherent to Afrikaner views on religion.

    2. Right of Passage
    Afrikaners don’t have a universal right of passage, though the Matric dance fulfills that role for some people. Their names are often not family names these days, but rather are from TV shows or are made up by adding up the parents’ names into new and horrifying combinations of syllables that were never meant to be juxtaposed that way.

    3. Cultural Relationships
    I don’t really know what that means, but going by your example … at a braai, usually the men are the ones who braai the meat and the women make salad. At a LAN, usually the men do most of the gaming and the women go to the other room and watch a chick flick or something, because shooting digital people bores them to tears. When you leave an Afrikaner’s house after visiting there, they consider it polite to see you off formally to the point of waving at your departing car as you drive away.

    4. Family Values
    Highly variable, running the gamut of most views common in Western countries. On the amount of children, most Afrikaners consider 2-3 children to be the norm; this number was much higher in the past due to lack of birth control, as well as high infant mortality rates (as in most places in the world in the 19th century and earlier) pressuring people to have more children so that more of them would survive to adulthood.

    5. Hobbies
    Anything and everything under the sun, though some of the more unique hobbies include making biltong and constantly threatening to emigrate but never doing so.

    There you go – now you’re up to date :)

  • Malachus

    Wat a pot KAK!

  • Jaco Jooste

    this is bullshit! im drinking on a NY

  • Carolien

    Hi there, the Aparthied regime started in 1948, not in 1654 when dutch settlers came to the Cape. Are you actually retarded?

  • lurker133

    Too bad they didn’t just replace the original text with this comment. Would have save me a lot of useless reading

  • http://wolfieinu.deviantart.com/ PrtScrSysReq

    Glad to be of service! :)

  • Odette Greyling

    Oops, according to this article, my family is not Afrikaans. This is a very insulting article and full of incorrect statements.

  • Barbara

    Tell me do you work for Fox America????????????????