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........