LOCATION: South Africa (eastern, urban areas)

POPULATION: 6 million

LANGUAGE: Xhosa (Bantu)

RELIGION: Traditional beliefs (supreme being uThixo or uQamata ); Christianity


The word Xhosa refers to a people and a language of South Africa. The Xhosa-speaking people are divided into a number of subgroups with their own distinct but related heritages. One of these subgroups is called Xhosa as well. The other main subgroups are the Bhaca, Bomvana, Mfengu, Mpondo, Mpondomise, Xesibe, and Thembu. Unless otherwise stated, this article refers to all the Xhosa-speaking people.

Well before the arrival of Dutch in the 1650s, the Xhosa had settled the southeastern area of South Africa. They interacted with the foraging (food-gathering) and pastoral (nomadic herding) people who were in South Africa first, the Khoi and the San. Europeans who came to stay in South Africa first settled in and around Cape Town. As the years passed, they sought to expand their territory. This expansion was first at the expense of the Khoi and San, but later Xhosa land was taken as well. A series of wars between trekboers (Afrikaner colonists) and Xhosa began in the 1770s. Later, in the nineteenth century, the British became the new colonizing force (foreigners in control) in the Cape. They directed the armies that were to vanquish the Xhosa.

Christian missionaries established their first outposts among the Xhosa in the 1820s, but met with little success. Only after the Xhosa population had been traumatized by European invasion, drought, and disease did Xhosa convert to Christianity in substantial numbers. In addition to land lost to white annexation, legislation reduced Xhosa political autonomy. Over time, Xhosa people became increasingly impoverished. They had no option but to become migrant laborers. In the late 1990s, Xhosa make up a large percentage of the workers in South Africa's gold mines.

Under apartheid (a government policy requiring the separation of races), the South African government created separate regions that were described as Bantustans (homelands) for black people of African descent. Two regions—Transkei and Ciskei—were set aside for Xhosa people.

These regions were proclaimed independent countries by the apartheid government. Apartheid policy denied South African citizenship to many Xhosa. Thousands of people were forcibly relocated to remote areas in Transkei and Ciskei. The homelands were abolished with the change to democracy in 1994.


Before the arrival of the Europeans in the late 1600s, Xhosa-speaking people occupied much of eastern South Africa. The region extended from the Fish River to land inhabited by Zulu-speakers south of the modern city of Durban. This territory includes well-watered rolling hills near scenic coastal areas as well as harsh and dry regions further inland. Many Xhosa live in Cape Town (iKapa), East London (iMonti), and Port Elizabeth (iBhayi). They can be found in lesser numbers in most of South Africa's major metropolitan areas. As of 1995, there were about 6 million Xhosa, making up approximately 17.5 percent of South Africa's population.


The Xhosa language is properly referred to as isiXhosa . It is a Bantu language closely related to Zulu, Swazi, and Ndebele. As with other South African languages, Xhosa is characterized by respectful forms of address for elders and in-laws. The language is also rich in idioms. To have isandla esishushu (a warm hand), for example, is to be generous.

Xhosa contains many words with click consonants that have been borrowed from Khoi or San words. The "X" in Xhosa represents a type of click made by the tongue on the side of the mouth. This consonant sounds something like the clicking sound English-speaking horseback riders make to encourage their horses. English speakers who have not mastered clicks often pronounce Xhosa as "Ko-Sa."

Names in Xhosa often express the values or opinions of the community. Common personal names include Thamsanqa (good fortune) and Nomsa (mother of kindness). Adults are often referred to by their isiduko (clan or lineage) names. In the case of women, clan names are preceded by a prefix meaning "mother of." A woman of the Thembu clan might be called MamThembu . Women are also named by reference to their children, real or intended; NoLindiwe is a polite name for Lindiwe's mother.


Stories and legends provide accounts of Xhosa ancestral heroes. According to one oral tradition, the first person on Earth was a great leader called Xhosa. Another tradition stresses the essential unity of the Xhosa-speaking people by proclaiming that all the Xhosa subgroups are descendants of one ancestor, Tshawe. Historians have suggested that Xhosa and Tshawe were probably the first Xhosa kings or paramount (supreme) chiefs.

Xhosa tradition is rich in creative verbal expression. Intsomi (folktales), proverbs, and isibongo (praise poems) are told in dramatic and creative ways. Folktales relate the adventures of both animal protagonists and human characters. Praise poems traditionally relate the heroic adventures of ancestors or political leaders.


The supreme being among the Xhosa is called uThixo or uQamata . As in the religions of many other Bantu peoples, God is only rarely involved in everyday life. God may be approached through ancestral intermediaries who are honored through ritual sacrifices. Ancestors commonly make their wishes known to the living in dreams.

Christianity in one form or another is accepted by most Xhosa-speaking people today. Cultural traditionalists are likely to belong to independent denominations that combine Christianity with traditional beliefs and practices. Xhosa religious practice is distinguished by elaborate and lengthy rituals, initiations, and feasts. Modern rituals typically pertain to matters of illness and psychological well-being.


Xhosa observe the same holidays as other groups of South Africa. These include the Christian holidays, Workers's Day (or May Day, May 1), the Day of Reconciliation (December 16), and Heritage Day (September 24). During the apartheid era, two unofficial holidays were observed to honor black people killed in the fight for equality and political representation. June 16 was a national day of remembrance for students killed by police in Soweto on that day in 1976. March 21 honored protestors killed by authorities during a demonstration in Sharpeville in 1960. Both of these anniversaries continue to be recognized with a day of rest, meetings, and prayer. Another important holiday is April 27, the date of the first national election in which black South Africans could vote.


After giving birth, a mother is expected to remain secluded in her house for at least ten days. In Xhosa tradition, the afterbirth and umbilical cord were buried or burned to protect the baby from sorcery. At the end of the period of seclusion, a goat was sacrificed. Those who no longer practice the traditional rituals may still invite friends and relatives to a special dinner to mark the end of the mother's seclusion.

Male initiation in the form of circumcision is practiced among most Xhosa groups. The abakweta (initiates-in-training) live in special huts isolated from villages or towns for several weeks. Like soldiers inducted into the army, they have their heads shaved. They wear a loincloth and a blanket for warmth. White clay is smeared on their bodies from head to toe. They are expected to observe numerous taboos (prohibitions) and to act deferentially to their adult male leaders. Different stages in the initiation process were marked by the sacrifice of a goat.

The ritual of female circumcision is considerably shorter. The intonjane (girl to be initiated) is secluded for about a week. During this period, there are dances, and ritual sacrifices of animals. The initiate must hide herself from view and observe food restrictions. There is no actual surgical operation.


Xhosa have traditionally used greetings to show respect and good intentions to others. In interacting with others, it is crucial to show respect (ukuhlonipha) . Youths are expected to keep quiet when elders are speaking, and to lower their eyes when being addressed. Hospitality is highly valued, and people are expected to share with visitors what they can. Socializing over tea and snacks is common.

In Xhosa tradition, one often found a girlfriend or boyfriend by attending dances. One popular type of dance, called umtshotsho or intlombe , could last all night. On some occasions, unmarried lovers were allowed to sleep together provided they observed certain restraints. A form of external intercourse called ukumetsha was permitted, but full intercourse was taboo. For Westernized Xhosa, romances often begin at school, church, or through mutual acquaintances. Dating activities include attending the cinema as well as going to school dances, sporting events, concerts, and so forth.


During the early period of white rule in South Africa, Xhosa communities were severely neglected in terms of social services. In fact, rural areas were deliberately impoverished so as to encourage Xhosa to seek wage labor employment. In the later years of apartheid, some attempts were made to address major health concerns in these areas. However, most government money continued to be set aside for social services that benefited whites. As the Xhosa population in rural areas expanded through natural increase and forced removals, rural lands became increasingly overcrowded and eroded. In the twentieth-century, many men and women migrated to urban shantytowns (towns comprised of crudely built huts). Poverty and ill health are still widespread in both rural and urban communities. Since 1994, however, the post-apartheid government has expanded health and nutritional aid to the black population.

Housing, standards of living, and creature comforts vary considerably among Xhosa. Xhosa people make up some of the poorest and some of the wealthiest of black South Africans. Poor people live in round thatched-roof huts, labor compounds, or single-room shacks without running water or electricity. Other Xhosa are among an elite who live in large comfortable houses in quiet suburban neighborhoods.


The traditional Xhosa family was patriarchal; men were considered the heads of their households. Women and children were expected to defer to men's authority. Polygynous marriages (multiple wives) were permitted where the husband had the means to pay the lobolo (bride wealth) for each, and to maintain them properly. Women were expected to leave their families to live with their husband's family.

The migrant labor system has put great strains on the traditional family. Some men have established two distinct families, one at the place of work and the other at the rural home. With the end of apartheid, some of the families previously separated by the labor laws are beginning new lives in urban areas. Some of these families live under crowded and difficult conditions in shanty-towns and migrant labor compounds.


Many Xhosa men and women dress similarly to people in Europe and the United States. Pants for women have only recently become acceptable. As a result of missionary influence, it has become customary for a woman to cover her hair with a scarf or hat. Many rural woman fold scarves or other clothes into elaborate turban shapes. They continue to apply white or ochre-colored mixtures to their bodies and faces. Other unique Xhosa dress includes intricately sewn designs on blankets that are worn by both men and women as shawls or capes.

12 • FOOD

Xhosa people share many food traditions with the other peoples of South Africa. Staple foods are corn (maize) and bread. Beef, mutton (sheep meat), and goat meat are popular. Milk is often drunk in its sour form. Sorghum beer, also sour in taste, continues to be popular.

One particular food popularly identified with the Xhosa is umngqusho . This dish combines hominy corn with beans and spices. Xhosa also regularly eat the soft porridge made of corn meal flour that is widespread in Africa. Eggs were traditionally taboo for women, and a just-married wife was not allowed to eat certain types of meat. Men were not supposed to drink milk in any village where they might later take a wife.

The major mealtimes are breakfast and dinner. Children may go without lunch, although school lunch programs have been established by the government.


The first Western-style schools for Xhosa-speakers were begun by missionaries. One of the most famous of the missionary institutions, the University of Fort Hare, boasts Nelson Mandela and a number of other famous African leaders as former students.

Under apartheid, African access to education was restricted and many of the best mission schools were shutdown. As a result, adult literacy rates (percentage able to read and write) dropped, in some areas to as low as 30 percent. Today, the goal is free education for all those aged seven to seventeen. Literacy and education are now seen as keys to success and are highly valued by most people.


Xhosa traditional music places a strong emphasis on group singing and handclapping as accompaniment to dance. Drums, while used occasionally, were not as fundamental a part of musical expression as they were for many other African peoples. Other instruments used included rattles, whistles, flutes, mouth harps, and stringed-instruments constructed with a bow and resonator.

Missionaries introduced the Xhosa to Western choral singing. Among the most successful of the Xhosa hymns is the South African national anthem, Nkosi Sikele' iAfrika (God Bless Africa). It was written by a school teacher named Enoch Sontonga in 1897.

Xhosa written literature was established in the nineteenth century with the publication of the first Xhosa newspapers, novels, and plays. Early writers included Tiyo Soga, I. Bud-Mbelle, and John Tengo Jabavu.


Many rural Xhosa have left home to find employment in the city. Under white rule, Xhosa men were most frequently hired as miners and farm laborers. Women also worked as farm laborers, but work in domestic service was more valued. For those with high school and college educations, the greatest opportunities were in health care, education, and government administration. In the 1990s, Xhosa sought degrees in all fields. South Africa's migrant labor system has dramatically altered Xhosa social life and put strain on the family.


Xhosa children enjoy skipping rope, racing, swimming, and playing hopscotch. Boys enjoy wrestling and stick fighting.

The most popular sport in South Africa is soccer. There are many professional, school, and company teams. There are also organized competitions between schools in athletics (track and field).


Popular entertainment includes attending movies, plays, and musical performances. Televisions and videocassette recorders are also popular. Most movies are imported from other countries, but a South African film industry is developing. Plays are often broadcast over TV and radio. Television broadcasts also include programs in Xhosa. Xhosa "soap operas" are a regular feature.

South Africa has a well-established music industry. The most popular musicians are typically those that perform dance tunes. Religious choirs are also popular.


Folk craft traditions include beadwork, sewing, pottery making, house decoration, and weaving. Hand-woven materials were generally functional items such as sleeping mats, baskets, and strainers. Xhosa ceremonial clothing is often elaborately decorated with fine embroidery work and intricate geometric designs.


Most of the social problems found among Xhosa people today stem directly or indirectly from the apartheid past. These include high rates of poverty, fractured families, malnutrition, and crime. Competition for scarce resources has also led to conflict with other African ethnic groups. There are also divisions within the Xhosa community—between men and women, young and old, rural and urban, and highly educated and illiterate. These divisions may lead to tensions if not resolved in the post-apartheid era. One of the biggest challenges for South Africa as a whole is to meet rising expectations for education, employment, and improved standards of living.


Ramphela, Mamphela. A Bed Called Home: Life in the Migrant Labour Hostels of Cape Town. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1993.

Switzer, Les. Power and Resistance in an African Society: The Ciskei Xhosa and the Making of South Africa. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993.

Zenani, Nongenile. The World and the Word: Tales and Observations from the Xhosa Oral Tradition. Collected and edited by Harold Scheub. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992.


Embassy of South Africa, Washington, D.C. [Online] Available http://www.southafrica.net/ , 1998.

Government of South Africa. [Online] http://www.polity.org.za/gnu.html , 1998.

Interknowledge Corp. South Africa. [Online] Available http://www.geographia.com/south-africa/ , 1998.

Southern African Development Community. South Africa. [Online] Available http://www.sadcusa.net/members/safrica/ , 1998.

Also read article about Xhosa from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Jack Ernest
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Feb 18, 2009 @ 6:06 am
This is outstanding! Well it make me more equipped about Amaxhosa culture and norms. In terms of Religion I am not so sure about it the question is do they believe in God or in Ancestors or both? Do they pray for the ancestors to ask help to God or what? The real thing is in oldest time they were commemorating the ancestors ( iminyanya) but since the British people arrived things changed ultimately.
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Jun 17, 2009 @ 8:08 am
A very nice article

Please double check the following Under the title ....Language Lindiwes' mother is not Nolindiwe it is Makalindiwe.

Second one is Bride's wealth is Lobola not lobolo.

Third one is Un-married young man or woman normally find their partners at a Dance called Umtshotsho and another one called Ipotsoyi its more like an after party where a recently initiated man (ikrwala) is going to be given his new clothes and it last for a night and happens the first night after he came back from the bush (ebakhwetheni).

Intlombe is a Sacred gathering of the Sangomas where they drumm and sing the whole night for communication with the ones who are resting and giving guidances to the living ones( Ancestors).

Thank you very much.
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Jul 9, 2009 @ 12:00 am
What are the rules according to Xhosa traditions when it comes to shaving the baby's hair for the first time(Radebe).

Asandiswa Tsengiwe
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Aug 7, 2009 @ 5:05 am
this information was ver helpful but there are some things that it needs in order to be outstanding.the uniform, these dancers use is not included in this article.
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Oct 1, 2009 @ 6:18 pm
this is beautifully written.thank you very much for keeping us in touch with our traditions. I am a Xhosa from the Hlubi in Zimbabwe.This is a helpful read as i am planning on having a traditional xhosa wedding.please keep us informed..
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Feb 15, 2010 @ 6:06 am
@Jack Ernest,

I'll try to answer you by how I was told by my elders back home, African people pray to God whom we used to call Qamata before the white invasion. The ancestors are a medium of communication between us and Qamata because we believe that they live in the spiritual world & therefore are close to Qamata. So we dont pray to them we pray to Qamata through them.Before the missionaries came with the Jesus story & told us that using our ancestors to talk to God (Qamata) was unGodly our ppl did communicate with God (Qamata). Just as much as the Christians believe in Virgin Mary, John the prophet, etc etc whom I regard as the ancestors of christianity we also do believe in calling our ancestors names when praying to our Qamata.

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Jun 17, 2010 @ 2:02 am
Interesting indeed.. Will you please give me more information about the Xhosa wedding. I am going to have a xhosa traditional wedding in September 2010. I'm interested in the clothing as umakoti and umkwenyana wear and how everything else goes.

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Sep 16, 2010 @ 2:02 am
Very interesting article. I urgently require some well wishes to the groom and bride. Although I understand a little bit of Xhosa, I am by no means able to compile a good poem or well wish for my Xhosa friend. To my dismay I can not trace any Xhosa website with such verses/wishes. I would like to pay respect to him by adding a Xhosa message with my English message to him and his bride. Both him and his wife are traditional to a large extent and also Christians. Could you please assist me.

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Oct 4, 2010 @ 8:08 am
Thank u very much for the article, it helped me very much =]
you see, had a school task to do oveasly about the xosa's and i couldend vind what i was lookin for untill i vound your article and it helped me very much ;]

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Oct 21, 2010 @ 1:13 pm
I cant seem to find on the internet any Xhosa (woman) names that means One who Searches, or Isolation...

Very good article by the way. I just wna know if anyone knows any articles...if so, email me at DACAR6@morgan.edu :-)
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Jan 24, 2011 @ 6:06 am
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Feb 21, 2011 @ 6:06 am
This is a great article. I got married in 2008 and I was dressed in my African attire (umbaco) and beads (intsimbi), a lot of ppl were amazed and asked why I wasn't wearing a traditional white dress as they put it (western white dress). I have never been so proud to be Xhosa like I was on that day. If I could I would post a pic on the site but I am technologically challenged. (MamCube)
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Mar 5, 2011 @ 7:19 pm
Where did the Xhosa people come from, as they were not the first in humankind South Africa?
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Mar 10, 2011 @ 9:09 am
Very interesting article. I am visiting a Xhoza mother and daughter and I would like to take gifts for them. Is there a Xhoza tradition regarding gifts for the women?

Much appreciated
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May 8, 2011 @ 7:07 am
I must congratulate the author for his curiosity about amaXhosa albeit the very poor research. AmaXhosa are a misunderstood are very secretive people, unfortunately that has led to a lot of misinterpretations and at times false and deliberate representation.
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Jun 15, 2011 @ 3:15 pm
I hope the information will be helpful to you, so that you could do excellent with your assignment.
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Aug 21, 2011 @ 4:16 pm
One special holidays especially for Amamfengu in Peddie and Butterworth was every 20th May and was known as a day of the vow (iSIFUNGO). It apparently was a result of the British colonialists forcing Amamfengu (emigrant tribes from what is now KwaZulu - Natal) to vow that they would educate their children, convert to Chritianity and would pay respect to the queen of England. This was a way of ensuring minimum collaboration with the main Xhosa tribes who were often at loggerheads with the settlers.
Also as a way of preventing illicit sexual intercourse some groups (In Peddie but possibly other areas as well)practiced ukuhewula which was a punishment metered by girls exposing themselves to a boy/man who had penetrated a girl. The embarrassment was accompanied by explicit songs about the sexual act. The culprit would be forced to slaughter a beast (inkomo) as a show of remorse and wish for forgiveness.
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Aug 25, 2011 @ 11:11 am
My Gratitude to the author of this amazing pierce of work. Xhosa people are very dignified, loving and caring people. Being a Xhosa is a blessing to a real Xhosa person who knows his/her background and have pride about being a Xhosa. We are so diverse and consist of a variety subgroups within one Xhosa tribe.

If one has all the love and warmth in Xhosa home, what else can one ask for? All the best and please keep our Xhosa candle burning all the time...
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Oct 11, 2011 @ 2:02 am
Yah i'd like to comment that our African people as a whole not only the Xhosa but as a whole African community are lost, after all we know how our Religion, Language, culture and everything that had been taken from us we accept western religion as our own when there are people who relatively own the religion and are practising their worship to their God Jesus, and us to live our Great God Qamata and change to the western religion God just because the scripture says you'll be judged for not accepting Jesus as God that's rubbish cause everybody knows even them from the west know that we worship our great God and Savior Qamata not jesus of Nazareth. It's stupid even to tell a person to live his/her religion to a foreign one cause if you don't believe in it you'll get judged. Crazy Blasphemy that kept our people lost and poor until they realise who their true God is, to answer the question weather we believe in God or not? Our God and saviour who keeps us alive is Qamata who though all the suffering that has been brought on us still gave us power and knoledge and great wisdom about his Greatness, we the Xhosa communicate with God through our prayers to our God Qamata and our Ancestors we never worshipped Ancestors we give great respect and aknowledgement that they too connect us to our Great God Qamata, who saved us from apartheid and all the bad things that had been done to our forefathers and Current brothers and sisters. Therefore African connect through Ancestors and the western religion or christians claim Jesus as their way to their God Jahovia. Becarefull we do believe just that I don't believe in your God does'nt mean I don't have a My Creator Qamata just Find who you are?
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Nov 5, 2011 @ 6:18 pm
Could you please elaborate on what actually happens in a xhosa wedding. im getting married and don't know where to begin.
thank you
thandeka ndlazulwana
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Nov 21, 2011 @ 11:11 am
i would like to ask why there has not been any acknowledgement of xhosa people that were forced out of their homeland and relocated to zimbabwe at a location called mbembesi 40 km outside of bulawayo city . these people were relocated by a british man called cicil john rhodes . i am passionate about this subject because i was born in that village of mbembesi , grew up there under the xhosa culture . my father Zwelinzima is equally passionate as such is involved in negotiations with the xhosa leaders and chiefs in south africa inorder for my beloved peolpe to known especially the fact that they were seperated from their loved ones. my father's cousins remained in transkei , we are in touch but i hate the fact that we are like strangers to them as a result of this mess . another worry i have is that most south africans i have met do not believe my story about the xhosa people in zimbabwe. i am proud of being a xhosa and i have no regrets being brought up in mbembesi zimbabwe.all south african xhosas who don't know yet , well visit mbembesi ,who knows you might meet your lost relation there.
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Jan 17, 2012 @ 4:04 am
Thank you for the article. My daughter is doing research on the dictionary in Xhosa. Where can I go to for information?
vuyisani kala
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Jan 18, 2012 @ 4:04 am
This iz the good infor about xhosa people thanx for keeping us up to-date.I would like to ask what is the plant called Intlungunyemba used for?/and UMBHEZO?
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Jan 18, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
Mhm well done! I am in a mixed race marriage and was searching for background info on Qamata and am proud to say that you have enlightened me indeed. Great to keep base with my roots and share with the children!
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May 30, 2012 @ 12:12 pm
To acually think I knew my culture!!! Wow...I like the kind of information you have to offer!!:)
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Aug 1, 2012 @ 5:05 am
Well written article indeed!

I was doing a search on the internet and came across this article. I will definitely share the link with all my friends . W
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Oct 7, 2012 @ 7:07 am
Hi im married with one child,my husband is a third born he has two elderly umarried sisters ,the second born sister has two kids out of wedlock and shes stil leaves at home. my problem is she demanding money from me and my husband she says it is for making "umsebenzi womtshato wakhe". now im very confused because im not accustomed this culture and i never heard anything llike it.for starters my husband payed lobola for me single-handedly ,we are paying for our house and car on top of that we have a child to support. they tell me that he has to support his family at all times and i dont have a problem in assiting with anything they need but demanding a cow?,is this support or exploitation? is this culture or "umkhuba"? please help me this is putting a strain on my marriege.
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Oct 18, 2012 @ 2:02 am
Thankyou so much for this information , i love my culture but i dont know much about it and i blame our fathers for not teaching us about it, i hope this will help me to know ukuba ndingubani as a Xhosa woman.
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Nov 1, 2012 @ 7:07 am
This website really hellp with my project. this website got me an a and i never get a's
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Dec 31, 2012 @ 12:00 am
@Thandeka, there are Sotho, Tswana, Venda etc people in Zimbabwe but they have largely been silenced by the two major groups i.e Shona and Ndebele. These two seem to absorb everyone. In South Africa the people generally do not know/understand History outside of their family circles. For them National history only started when Mandela came out of prison. Majority of Zulus do not know about Mzilikazi Khumalo, Zwangendaba etc. They barely know about Moshoeshoe or the Mfecane. Their lack of this information or failure to acknowledge similar groups from ourtside their borders stems from their own history which was manipulated by the Boers to suit them.

The Xhosa king did go to Mbembeswana by the way and they brought Xhosa texts. Guess your dad's efforts paid after all!!
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Feb 11, 2013 @ 6:06 am
is it tradition to buy gifts for a couple who are being wedded traditionally?
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May 18, 2013 @ 6:06 am
What is the rituals of the Xhosa's on marriage and death?
Phellisa Sibongile
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Sep 26, 2013 @ 9:21 pm
Thank you this is very informative to know where we come from. I am so proud to be a Xhosa.
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Feb 18, 2014 @ 4:04 am
Hi, I would like you to assist me about my root culture I am a xhosa, so when I ask my elders, they told me that we fall under Mazangwe, I need to know more about it, because I have read your research you mentioned Bhaca, Bomvana, Mfengu, Mpondo, Mpondomise, Xesibe and Thembu.

I will look forward for your assisstance.

Thank you!
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Mar 26, 2014 @ 5:05 am
to me this is quiet helping if only we could take this to the new born frees who doesnt knw anything about their background and history of the Xhosa culture
Veenu Acharya
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Mar 15, 2015 @ 8:08 am
Very interesting and helpful to know about life in olden days their culture and their belief in God . all the comments were also interesting to read . Thanks to all .
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Mar 18, 2015 @ 4:04 am
Thank you for the article.
I am looking for a book: 'THE HOUSE OF PHALO" BY PREIS.
I notice thete is no mention of "imbola" or "ichitywa"a s being used traditionallly/cultually to smear the face of Xhosa women. hence there is a phrase "umona wasemlungwini ubandeza ichitywa ungaliqabi", meaning when the white people came to South Africa they saw Xhosa women wearing this mbola on their faces and decided they can make themselves a lot of money selling what these Xhosas are apparently liking so much.

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May 19, 2015 @ 9:09 am
Thank you for the articles. I am very interested in the Xhosa way of dressing especially the beads (ukugaxela).
Minenhle Jele
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Jun 29, 2015 @ 8:08 am
The Xhosa children will be super happy to know more about their culture
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Jul 10, 2015 @ 7:07 am
A colleague of mine mentioned that in their (Xhosa) culture, that the mother of a daughter does not see or talk with her daughter's boyfriend or husband at all. Furthermore, if she died, the son-in-law would not attend her funeral. This would also be the case for a daughter in law who would not attend the funeral of her father in law. She does not know why these traditions were established, but only knows that they are. Please could you clarify this for us. Many Thanks
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Jul 14, 2015 @ 6:18 pm
I must say that this article has played an imperative role in terms of giving guidance as to who we should refer to as God as Xhosa people, obviously if one opens his/her mind, Jesus is a Jew and you are Xhosa, it makes no sense to say that we Xhosa people connect with our God through Jesus Christ, we connect with our ancestor to convey wishes and praises to Qamata our God as Xhosa people.
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Aug 20, 2015 @ 2:14 pm
Very interesting article indeed: I am a Xhosa too born and raised in Eastern Cape eXesi / Middledrift this Article plays a big role in reminding us of who we really are. @ Dineo, the babies hair is shaved when she/he is 1 year old xa kuqine Ifokotho.
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Oct 5, 2015 @ 1:13 pm
Thanks very much. The article is very useful nd will help us.


Kholisile Mqwathi
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Oct 17, 2015 @ 3:03 am
Good article. I am south african, although not of xhosa descent (cape malay)

Some minor errors like generally prefixes are . Eg. Cities names are prefixed e- eg. eBhayi. people are u- eg. uSafieyah. Objects i- eg. incwadi (book) or ifoni (mobile phone)
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Jan 6, 2016 @ 12:12 pm
Thank you for giving this. I have to do a project for school about xhosa so this really helped. Thank you.
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Mar 6, 2016 @ 4:04 am
Tanks this info really helped for my school prject
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May 6, 2016 @ 2:02 am
It's nice all but I want to know more about marriage and marital life with xhosa people.
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Nov 24, 2016 @ 1:01 am
very informative but more could have been written about Xhosas who migrated to Zimbabwe.Our grandfather migrated from pe to zim with a white man he worked for and it appears most south african xhosas refuse to accept that there are some xhosas in Zimbabwe.Thanks for the article
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Feb 5, 2017 @ 11:11 am
Thank u for the people who want to see the Xhosa cultures
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Apr 6, 2018 @ 3:03 am
Informative article on the Xhosa culture. The article also confirms the original inhabitants of South Africa were the Khoi and the San. I have some questions though...
Other historical literature clearly indicate that the Xhosa people also did not only "interact" with the Khoi and the San, but actually waged war against them, killed them and took land from them, therefore also "interacting" with them to the detriment of the original inhabitants of South Africa.
The article enlightens that the Xhosa people colonized South Africa ("well established") from the north before the whites colonized South Africa from the south. The meaning of colonization being " to settle among and establish control over (the indigenous people of an area, i.e. the Khoi and San)". Any dates available on when the colonization by the Xhosa people took place? Well established could mean one to any number of years and it would be nice to have specific dates.
Sandile Nompu
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Jul 13, 2018 @ 9:21 pm
Which year did xhosa people arrived in South Africa and from where?
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Aug 13, 2018 @ 7:07 am
Thank you for your Article.I am writing this article in English it would be great if I could have written in isiXhosa but I cant. I can speak the language but unfortunately not as I only learnt from Mouth to Mouth.I grew up on a farm on the banks of the Great Kei River iNciba. We got on very well with our farm workers and through them I got to know their language and Cultures .( Quite awhile back 1950 ) ( It is a beautiful Language )
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Sep 13, 2018 @ 10:10 am
My martenal parents are called the Jonga they live in Musami in a village called nzungu. The entire Musami is almost full of Xhosa surnames eg Guveya to the end of Musami Chasi. Unfortunately I only realised it late after the very old Gogo Dambudzo has passed on, I could have get info from her .Names of some mountains too tells a story about Xhosas like Betha.
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Oct 30, 2018 @ 7:07 am
well said we need more of these info for our children, and we need to teach them also about how to perform then.
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Dec 6, 2018 @ 6:06 am
How can you mention Xhosa people's dwellings excluding Umthatha. We would like to see more story around the Xhosa prophet uNtsikane - he predicted the coming of European civilisation. What about Nongqawuse, the Xhosa princess who was the gateway of Westernisation. More mention of Xhosa kings like Hintsa, Rharhabe. Thanks for starting the forum.
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Mar 10, 2019 @ 2:14 pm
I want to ask that which other languages that have influenced the Xhosa language?and also the words that do not belong to Xhosa language, words that are borrowed from other languages e.g from english or zulu
xoliswa Nkomo
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Mar 12, 2019 @ 12:12 pm
guys can you please elaborate tell more about the influences of isixhosa language

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