aga szydlik, south africa

South Africa | Most Famous Tribes and Their Language: Part 2

South Africa, Aga Szydlik, On & Beyond Wildlife

Part of South Africa’s magic is the rich cultural heritage that can be discovered while travelling around the region. We’re not dubbed the “rainbow nation” for nothing. While travelling through South Africa, you are bound to hear a vibrant array of languages that each have a fascinating
culture and rich history behind them.

Whether you’re here for a Big Five safari or for catching the surf on our world-famous beaches, South Africa’s vibrant people are definitely going to leave a lasting impression on you.

While travelling in and around the country, you’re bound to hear a vibrant array of languages. Although most of these tribes have adapted to the modern world, each of them has a rich history.

We know that it can be a bit overwhelming at first. So, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to South Africa’s most famous tribes and the languages that they speak.

If you have missed Part 1 of this series, then you can check it out here.

Now let’s dive right in, shall we?

(Ba)Tswana

South Africa, Aga Szydlik, On & Beyond Wildlife

About 4 million South African residents are Tswana and while many Tswana people can be found in South Africa’s urban areas, their heritage is mostly found in Botswana.

The Tswana (or Batswana) tribe are one of four major sub-groups of the Sotho tribe, and like many other neighbouring Nguni people, their livelihood was most reliant on a combination of livestock raising and crop cultivation.

Although Christianity was adopted into the culture with the arrival of the missionaries in the early 19th-century, traditionally speaking, the Batswana people believe in a distant supreme being called Modimo, who is seen as the creator.

Similar to other Nguni belief systems, their god is distant and does not interfere with the lives of people and so their ancestors (known as Badimo) are called to for support in daily life.

The dingaka (doctors) are highly regarded in the community and are seen as the specialists in healing and magic. These doctors preside over many rituals which include anything from rainmaking to protection over the land and even assistance with producing children.

Language basics:

‘Hello’ : Dumela
‘How are you?’ : O tsogile jang
‘Please’ : Tswêê-tswêê
‘Thank you’: Ke a leboga

Pedi

South Africa, Aga Szydlik, On & Beyond Wildlife

The Pedi people are another sub-group of the greater Sotho tribe and have its origins in the Limpopo province. Although they are closely linked to other tribes, there are a few differences between the Pedi and other Sotho people, one of the biggest being their cross-marriage with other tribes.

When it comes to marriage, the elders of a family would choose an appropriate partner for their child. After a formal meeting between the families, they plan how the couple would meet and the girl's parents decide how many cows or how much money will be paid as Bogadi.

Before marriage, there are initiation ceremonies that mark the coming of age for both boys and girls. Boys would spend most of their younger days herding cattle at remote outposts with older men as leaders and teachers. Every five years, an initiation ceremony would be held, which included circumcision for the boys. This is still practised today and provides a substantial income to the chiefs.

Language basics:

‘Hello’: Dumêlang
‘How are you? : O kae
‘Please’: hle
‘Thank you’: ke a leboga

Venda

South Africa, Aga Szydlik, On & Beyond Wildlife

The Venda culture is perhaps one of the most fascinating tribal cultures of South Africa. It is the smallest tribe of the country that dates back to the 9th century with their first king, Shiriyadenga.

Like many other African tribes, the Venda culture is steeped in mythical dogmas and water is an essential theme in their belief system. Lakes and rivers are sacred places, and rains are believed to be controlled by the Python God. Although there are many sacred water sites in their culture, it is Lake Fundudzi that is the most highly regarded.

There are many supernatural stories that surround this massive lake found in Limpopo in the foothills of the Soutspansberg Mountains. Although it was originally formed by a landslide, locals believe that there are three rivers that flow into the lake, but it never overflows and there is no obvious outlet. The forest surrounding the lake is also a very sacred place as it is believed to be filled with spirits, with two mythical creatures, the white lion and the lighting bird called Ndadzi, keeping guard.

Language basics:

‘Hello’: Ndaa
‘How are you? : Vhu vowa hani
‘Please’: Ndi khou tou humbela
‘Thank you’: Ndo livhuwa Ro livhuwa

Ndebele

South Africa, Aga Szydlik, On & Beyond Wildlife

During the time of King Shaka Zulu’s rule, a group of people split from the Zulu culture under the leadership of Mzilikazi to form a tribe of their own. However, due to internal conflict, the tribe split again into the Northern and Southern Ndebele.

Although the Southern African Ndebele culture is shrouded in mystery (due to cultural assimilation and relocation), there are approximately 800,000 people from this tribe spread across the rural areas of Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

While the Ndebele share many similarities to the Zulus, there are a few distinct traits in their language and culture. Ndebele women traditionally wear a variety of ornaments, each symbolizing her status in society. Married women would traditionally wear copper rings around their necks, arms and legs as a symbol of faithfulness and would only remove them after the death of her husband.

Language basics:

‘Hello’: Sawubona
‘How are you? : Kunjani
‘Please’: Ngicela
‘Thank you’: Ngiyabonga

There is so much more to South Africa than seeing the Big Five. So, get out there an immerse yourself in this vibrant country’s history and culture. Who knows, you might just pick up a new language!

Immersing yourself in a new culture is a great way to explore the world. So, check out these cultural safaris in South Africa.

Author Bio:

Jodi is a Travel Writer for Bookallsafaris.com and an adventure enthusiast. She lives in South Africa and has a passion for surfing, ocean conservation and exploring Africa's diverse landscapes through various sports.

South Africa, Aga Szydlik, On & Beyond Wildlife

Links | Publications

https://www.bookallsafaris.com/new

Sources | Credits

Photography

If by any chance the author omitted your website/photography as the source of reference, please accept my apologies and please contact me and the author at the Bookallsafaris.com, via email, so we are able to make necessary corrections, after all, we are all just humans……..


aga szydlik, south africa

South Africa | Most Famous Tribes and Their Language: Part 1

South Africa, Aga Szydlik, On & Beyond Wildlife

One of the greatest pleasures of travelling is being exposed to new cultures, traditions and ways of living. It is a chance to expand and challenge your current beliefs, and to become grateful for the life that you currently live. 

South Africa is one of the best places to truly immerse in a cultural safari as
it is one of the cradles of human evolution and home to a spectacular number of tribes that work together to make the region a true rainbow nation. 

When you’re on a safari here, it is about more than just seeing the Big Five in the flesh. To help you navigate your way through the country’s various cultures, we’ve put together a guide to the South African tribes you might come across and how to speak a bit of their language.

Zulu

If your travels take you to the lush region of Kwazulu-Natal, then you’re likely to come across people from this epic nation. The Zulu’s are the most famous and the largest South African tribe, with approximately10–12 million people spread across KZN, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

The name AmaZulu literally means the people of heaven. They believe in a creator god known as Nkulunkulu, who does not have any interest in everyday human life. To bridge the gap between the human and the spirit world (unKulunkulu), their ancestors are regarded as intermediaries as they work hand in hand with god.

They believe that all misfortune is a result of an evil sorcery or offended spirits and that nothing just happens because of natural causes. This is where Sangomas (spiritual healers) come into the picture. It is their role to communicate with the ancestors on behalf of the people and to bring good luck and protection.

Language basics:

‘Hello’: Sawubona
‘How are you?’: Unjani?
‘Please’: Ngiyacela
‘Thank you’: Ngiyabonga

South Africa, Aga Szydlik, On & Beyond Wildlife

Xhosa

This tribe is the second largest culture after the Zulu, and is divided into various sub-groups, each with their own distinct but related heritages. Before the arrival of the Europeans, the Xhosa people were spread across the fish river and their region extended all the way to some parts of southern KZN that were inhabited by the Zulus.

The Xhosa culture is rich in verbal expression and many of their stories are of legendary warriors and ancestral heroes. One of their most popular lores is of a great leader called Xhosa (which means fierce), who is believed to have been the first person on Earth.

If you’re thinking that this sounds a little like the story of Adam, then you aren’t too far off. During the time of colonization, Christianity was brought to the region and soon became intertwined with traditional beliefs and practices.

When it comes to communication, it is crucial to show respect. Younger people are expected to keep quiet when elders are speaking, and to lower their eyes when being addressed.

Language basics:

‘Hello’: Mholo, or Mholweni
‘How are you?’: Unjani?
‘Please’: Ndiyacela
‘Thank you’: Enkosi

South Africa, Aga Szydlik, On & Beyond Wildlife

Sotho

When travelling through Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, you’re likely to meet many people from this vibrant culture. Although the origins of the Sotho culture are mostly a mystery, it is widely believed that the first people were ironworkers and that the founding people had rituals and dances associated with smelting.

Like many other African cultures, the Sotho culture is divided into sub-groups in which people live in villages with a single chief. These villages are separated by age and each one has specific responsibilities. As the men and women age, they move onto the next village and celebrate this change with a series of rituals in which girls and boys are taken separately to the bush in the winter.

Their livelihood was primarily based on hunting, farming and smelting, and polygamy was common among the most elite. The more wives a man had, the higher his social status was. This form of relationship was less common among the “working class,” where marriages were arranged by transfer of bohadi (bride wealth) from the family of the groom to the family of the bride.

Language basics:

‘Hello’: Dumela
‘How are you?’: u phela joang?
‘Please’: Hle
‘Thank you’: Ke a leboga

South Africa, Aga Szydlik, On & Beyond Wildlife

Swati

The Swati (also known as Swazi) people are among the few African tribes who have managed to keep their identity to date. Despite colonial invasions and having accepting Christianity, the Swazi have kept their traditions and beliefs alive.

Although the culture has no class of ordained priests, Swazi people are very superstitious and there is a wide belief in witchcraft and sorcery. Traditionally speaking, the oldest man in every family communicates with the ancestors, while the Diviners lead rituals such as the incwala.

When it comes to children, things are a little different with the Swazi people. Infants are not seen as people up until three months old, and remain unnamed or touched by men until this time. After “achieving personhood,” the infants are kept close to their mothers and only begin to socialize with other children from around three years old. At about six years of age, the boys and girls are separated for training; boys are taught to take care of livestock and girls are taught how to prepare and maintain the household.

Although many of the traditions have adapted to modern times, respect is still a major part of the community, and greetings are important.

Language basics:

‘Hello’: Sawubona (the literal translation is ‘do you see me?’)
‘How are you?’: Unjani?
‘Please’: Ngiyacela
‘Thank you’: Ngiyabonga

South Africa has over 11 official languages and major tribes! That is a little too many to include in one go, so keep your eyes out for Part 2 to discover more fascinating South African cultures.

Author Bio:

Jodi is a Travel Writer for Bookallsafaris.com and an adventure enthusiast. She lives in South Africa and has a passion for surfing, ocean conservation and exploring Africa's diverse landscapes through various sports.

Jodi,  On & Beyond Wildlife

Get to know more about South Africa’s famous Zulu Tribe and their infamous King while on an epic safari in KwaZulu-Natal, and don’t forget to give a friendly Sawubona to the locals!

Links | Publications

https://www.bookallsafaris.com/new

Sources | Credits

https://www.everyculture.com/wc/Japan-to-Mali/Sotho.html
http://www.thekingdomofeswatini.com/
http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/nguni
http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/african-mythology.php?deity=BADIMO
https://sacredsites.com/africa/south_africa/lake_fundudzi.html

Photography

https://unsplash.com/
https://www.pexels.com/search/meditating/
https://burst.shopify.com/
https://www.freepik.com/

   

If by any chance the author omitted your website/photography as the source of reference, please accept my apologies and please contact me and the author at the Bookallsafaris.com, via email, so we are able to make necessary corrections, after all, we are all just humans……..


aga szydlik, thailand

Phuket Vegetarian Festival | Adventures in Thailand

Phuket Vegetarian Festival is one of the most important festivals celebrated in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. The annual festival promotes the abstinence from meat in order to aid in preserving good health and peace of mind for all the participants.

aga szydlik, Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Although the origins of the festival are unknown, the celebration is famous for various forms of self-mutilation.

Participants who perform ritualized mutilation during vegetarian believe that the Chinese gods will protect them from harm, and little blood or scarring will occur.

aga szydlik, Phuket Vegetarian Festival

The festival ceremonies are meant to invoke the gods through the participants, who are acting as mediums of the god performing daring acts of fire-walking, body piercings through cheeks, arms, face, legs or back, partial skinning; limb slashing with swords, axes and knives or standing near firecrackers as they are lit.

aga szydlik, Phuket Vegetarian Festival

The Phuket vegetarian festival takes place near the six Chinese temples scattered throughout the town. Members of Chinese-Thai community bring their household gods to the temple, along with offerings of food and drink to benefit from spiritual energy that fills the temple.

Publications and Links

https://www.dodho.com/the-celebrations-of-nine-emperor-gods-by-aga-szydlik/

Sources | Links

http://www.phuket.com/festival/vegetarian.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Emperor_Gods_Festival

If by any chance I have omitted your website as the source of reference, please accept my apologies and please email me, so I'm able to make necessary corrections, after all, I'm just a human........ 

    


aga szydlik, Borobudur

Borobudur Temple | Sacred travel destinations in Indonesia

 aga szydlik, Borobudur Temple

Indonesia: Borobudur Temple|Sacred destinations

aga szydlik, Borobudur
Borobudur Temple at the sunrise

The Borobudur temple is one of the world’s most complex buildings and its creation is shrouded in a secret without any written records or its purpose bound forever to remain a mystery. From the distance the temple resembles a big lotus flower bud ready to bloom, effortlessly floating on a lake, a single stupa build from volcanic rock, in the form of a giant Buddhist mandala when viewed from above, simultaneously representing the Buddhist cosmology and complex nature of human mind.

 aga szydlik, Borobudur Temple

The Borobudur temple was built around 750 AD by the kings of the Sailendra Dynasty about 400 years before Cambodia's Angkor Wat or European Cathedrals, possibly to enhance the image of Buddhism as Hinduism was growing in strength across the Indonesian archipelago.

aga szydlik, Borobudur

The Borobudur temple structure consists of a series of open-air passageways that radiate around a cosmic axis, and ten mounting terraces corresponding to successive stages and forms Siddhartha assumed, before achieving Buddha-hood.

aga szydlik, Borobudur

Surreal in its existence, seamlessly blending Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sufi-influenced mystical Islam, Borobudur is bound to cast a spell on the visitors and pilgrims. The Buddha statue in an open stupa is oriented to gaze toward the sacred volcanos.

aga szydlik, Borobudur

Over 500 Buddha statues grace the temple with their presence distributed over nine stacked platforms (the number nine is mystic in Buddhism), six square, and three circulars, the top is crowned by a central dome signifying the Nirvana. 

aga szydlik, Borobudur

Around 16th century A.D., the Borobudur temple was left slowly to decay on its own for the reasons unknown. Volcanic eruptions deposited ash in the fertile soil, supporting the rapid growth of lush jungle, slowly engulfing temple in the tight grip of canopies. A poetic cycle of never-ending creation (Brahma), destruction (Shiva), and preservation (Vishnu).

aga szydlik, Borobudur

Moving past the base of the Borobudur Temple through the four galleries, the devotee emerges onto the three upper terraces, encountering 72 stupas, each containing a three-dimensional sculpture of a Buddha enclosed within a stone latticework.

The Borobudur temple represents the ten levels of a Bodhisattva's life which one must develop to become a Buddha or an awakened one.  Devotees start their journey at the base, traversing clockwise along walkways, which gradually ascend to its uppermost level, physical movement symbolizing the non-physical—or spiritual— the path of enlightenment.

aga szydlik, Borobudur

The temple was re-discovered in the 19th century by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the British governor of Java. Who, after hearing tales about the mystical sanctuary, hidden deep within the island, organized excavation to uncover the temple, bringing Borobudur back into the light and damaging it in the process, as the temple began to deteriorate when exposed to the elements.

aga szydlik, Borobudur

Furthermore, stones were removed and used as building materials by nearby villages and Buddha heads sold to art collections around the world.

Links | Information|Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borobudur
http://factsanddetails.com/indonesia/History_and_Religion/sub6_1a/entry-3941.html
http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-asia/one-greatest-monuments-world-who-built-it-strange-origins-borobudur-and-lost-021609

If by any chance I have omitted your website as the source of reference, please accept my apologies and please email me, so I'm able to make necessary corrections, after all, I'm just a human........ 

    


aga szydlik, bagan

Bagan Travels | 10,000 Pagodas and Jumping Monks

aga szydlik, bagan

Bagan | The Empire of 10,000 pagodas

Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Pagan Kingdom, the first kingdom that unified the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar.

aga szydlik, bagan

Over the course of 250 years, Bagan's rulers constructed over 10,000 religious monuments (approximately 1000 stupas, 10,000 small temples and 3000 monasteries) in an area of 104 square kilometres in the Bagan plains.

aga szydlik, bagan

The prosperous city grew in size and became a cosmopolitan centre for religious and secular studies, specializing in philosophical-psychological studies as well as works in a variety of languages, astrology, alchemy, medicine, and legal studies. The city attracted monks and students from as far as India, Ceylon as well as the Khmer Empire.

Stupas, Pagodas and Hollow Temples 

stupa is also called a pagoda, Bagan stupas evolved from earlier Pyu designs, which, in turn, were based on the stupa designs of the Andhra region. By the 11th century, the stupa had developed into a more bell-shaped form in which the parasols morphed into a series of increasingly smaller rings placed on one top of the other, rising to a point.

aga szydlik, bagan

In contrast to the stupas, the hollow gu-style temple is a structure used for meditation, devotional worship of the Buddha and other Buddhist rituals.

aga szydlik, bagan

The gu temples come in two basic styles: "one-face" design and "four-face" design—essentially one main entrance and four main entrances.  The temples, whose main features were the pointed arches and the vaulted chamber, became larger and grander in the Bagan period.

aga szydlik, bagan

Theravada Buddhism

The culture of Bagan was dominated by religion, which was fluid, syncretic and by later standards, unorthodox. It was largely a continuation of religious trends in the Pyu era where Theravada Buddhism co-existed with Mahayana Buddhism, Tantric Buddhism, various Hindu (Saivite, and Vaishana) schools as well as native animist (nat) traditions.

aga szydlik, bagan

About 90% of the Burmese people follow Buddhism. Central to their religious beliefs is karma, the ultimate aim in life according to Buddhist belief is to escape the cycle of rebirth and reach Nirvana, it is through the good deeds that a person will attain Nirvana.

aga szydlik, bagan

It's customary for a male in Myanmar to enter a monastery twice in his life. Once as a novice monk, between the age of 2 and 10, and again as a fully ordained monk, around the age of 20. Some might remain a monk for just a few months, while others stay for life.

aga szydlik,  burma

Life of a monk

Monks hold the highest status in Burmese society.  Very often the young novices start their monastic life in a small village at the age of nine or ten.  When they grow older they get the opportunity to go to a bigger city or religious centres.

aga szydlik, bagan

Early in the morning the monks and novices go out carrying a bowl to get food offerings and spend the rest of their days on religious studies and chores at the monastery.

aga szydlik, bagan

Sources | Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagan
http://baganrazagyohotel.com/index.php/history-of-bagan
http://factsanddetails.com/southeast-asia/Myanmar/sub5_5a/entry-3001.html
https://dietmartemps.com/travel-blog/monks-and-novices-in-myanmar-the-buddhism-way-of-life_512/
http://tfgtraveling.com/monks-daily-life-in-myanmar/


aga szydlik, mentawai tribe

Mentawai Tribe | Siberut Island: Journey and Adventures in the Rain Forest

mentawai tribe aga szydlik
Misty Rainforest

Mentawai tribe inhabit the small island of Siberut, located off the Sumatran coast. Mentawai culture is considered to be one of the oldest among indigenous Indonesian societies.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik
Salomon- Mentawai tribe elder and a Shaman

After getting necessary provisions in Muara Siberut, we started crossing the jungles and rivers to get into the heart of Mentawai settlements. The Mentawai tribe consists of around 64,000 members and is known for their distinctive body art and practice of sharpening their teeth, which they believe makes them more attractive.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik
River crossing

December is a wet season in Indonesia and our trek was accompanied by heavy monsoon rain, in between villages we took breaks from a torrential downpour to secure camera gear before walking back into a rain.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik
Wrapping the gear before walking into the storm
mentawai tribe aga szydlik
On the path of Adventure

Rain-swollen river got too deep for the comfort of our shaman and he got a bit of help during the crossing.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik
When the river is too deep for a Shaman

 The main subsistence of the Mentawai is farming, together the members of the tribe raise pigs and harvest fruit, sago palm, yam, taro, rice, banana, papaya, sugar cane, vegetable, and various medicaments.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik

 Kelelawar goreng, a fried bat, is a true local delicacy.... an honest attempt was given.

Mentawai mostly live in small settlements along the river banks, commuting back and forth using a dugout canoe.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik

After gaining independence, the Indonesian government launched a campaign to modernize the Mentawaians. Traditional cultural practices such as shamanism, tattooing, tooth filing, and the wearing of loincloths were forbidden.  Several Mentawai clans retreated into the remote interior of Siberut to escape the modernization in an attempt to retain their original culture.

mentawai tribe aga szydlik

Behind the scenes

mentawai tribe aga szydlik