Kin Groups and Descent. The kgoro—a loose collection of kin with an agnatic cluster at its core—was as much a jural as a kinship unit, given that membership was primarily defined by acceptance of the head of the kgoro's authority, rather than by descent. Royal or chiefly dikgoro sometimes underwent rapid subdivision as sons contended for positions of authority.
Kinship Terminology. Pedi use a bifurcate merging system of classificatory terminology. Agnatic kin are distinguished from maternal kin. Within both groups, there is some distinguishing of relatives by age and sex. In the agnatic group, relatives of the parental generation are distinguished thus: father's older and younger brothers are ramogolo (big father) and rangwane (small father), respectively; and father's sisters, who are called rakgadi (female father), are treated with immense respect. In the maternal kin group, relatives of the paternal generation are distinguished thus: mother's older and younger sisters are mmamogolo and mmangwane (big mother and small mother); mother's brother is malome (male mother) and is treated with familiarity. Cousins within the agnatic group are distinguished by sex and given the same term as siblings: mogolle (for boys) and kgaet edi (for girls), whereas cousins outside the agnatic group are referred to as motswala and are undistinguished by sex. The use of this terminology appears to be for the most part unchanged, although terms deriving from Afrikaans are sometimes substituted (e.g., buti [brother]; sisi [sister]).