The Xhosa are part of the South African Nguni migration which slowly moved south from the region around the Great Lakes, displacing the original Khoisan hunter gatherers of Southern Africa. Xhosa peoples were well established by the time of the Dutch arrival in the mid-17th century, and occupied much of eastern South Africa from the Fish River to land inhabited by Zulu-speakers south of the modern city of Durban.
Quick Facts about the Xhosa Culture :
- The Xhosa speaking group has various tribes with similar or related but divergent heritages.
- The Xhosa refers to their language as isiXhosa and themselves as amaXhosa.
- The language of Xhosa has 15 click sounds, borrowed from the current extinct Khoi-Khoi and the san languages of South Africa.
- Traditionally, the woman’s life stages were reflected on ornamentations and garments.
- Newly married women wore a unique headdress, a dissimilar style by the women who had given birth.
- The men traditionally fulfilled the warrior’s role, stockman as well as a hunter while the women tilled the land and grew crops.
- A chief, also referred to as Inkosi, heads each clan.