[READ] WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT SOUTH AFRICAN LANGUAGES?

If there is anything South Africa is famous for it has to be our diversity. The title Rainbow nation is from the diversity we harbour in this colourful country. We have eleven official languages, which means there are different eleven cultures in South Africa. This heritage day, we celebrate and embrace all those different languages and cultures.

Here are some important and fun facts we acquired from articles written by Joe Kennedy, Keren Mikva and Thato Tinte about the different indigenous South African languages and cultures we could get our hands on! Know more about your language and other people’s languages.

IsiZulu

For Zulu people dancing is an important part in one’s life. The Zulu Reed Dance is the famous dance where virgin girls go to the King’s place to be initiated and celebrate their virginity.

Zulu people are known for their fun and vibrant nature, you would definitely see and feel this in their weddings which lasts for approximately three days.

They traditional homes are complex and details because they are in a way that tells a story and has a deep meaning for them.

Zulu people are also famous for facing one of the iconic battles in history. This refers to the Isandlwana camp that was a force of 20 000 Zulu warriors that wiped out a British camp.

Zulu people treasure their heritage, even in these modern days Zulu people still observe the cultural activities and live by them.

Xhosa

Xhosa is the most widely distributed African Language in South Africa. It is common to hear the Xhosa language in almost every province in South Africa.

Xhosa was introduced to pop culture through the iconic singer Miriam Makeba’s famous single Pata Pata.

Xhosa has since never been shy to talk about the political struggles of South Africa. A.C Jordan’s book Ingqumbo yeminyanya which means the wrath of the ancestors, which talks about the impact of colonialism is an example.

The first Xhosa Bible translation was made in 1859.

Sotho

Sotho people are dived into three groups which are:

  1. Northern Sothp (Pedi)
  2. Southern Sotho
  3. Tshwana

The Sotho people are sometimes referred to as the cow boys of South Africa because of their good reputation in horse riding

Sotho was one of the first languages to be written down.

Sotho people are considered to have heritage in ironwork. Their ritual dances tell the story of the Sotho heritage of ironwork.

The Venda language is originally from Bantu language. It is related to the Shona language from Zimbabwe, Yoruba and Igbo from Nigeria and Swahili from Tanzania.

Venda moved from Central and North Africa and were one of the last black people to cross the Limpopo River and settle in the Southpansberg Mountains in the Limpopo Vhembe district.

All Venda people have a royal family line and stick to strict traditions to keep this connection

Venda applied to become a part of South Africa on 1991 and the homeland policy was abandoned in 1994.

There are a lot more different cultures and languages in South Africa, take some time this heritage month and learn about them. From Radio-DUT and the fam, HAPPY HERITAGE DAY!

Nonhlanhla Hlatshwayo

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