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Mon, 11.10.1000

The Xhosa People, a story

*The Xhosa people are celebrated on this date in 1000. 

They are a Bantu ethnic group from Southern Africa whose homeland is primarily within the modern-day Eastern Cape. There is a small but significant Xhosa-speaking community in Zimbabwe, and their language, isiXhosa, is recognized as a national language.  The Xhosa people consist of several tribes with related yet distinct heritages. The main tribes are the amaGcaleka, amaRharhabe, imiDange, imiDushane, and amaNdlambe.

In addition, there are other tribes found near or among the Xhosa people, such as abaThembu, amaBhaca, abakoBhosha, and amaQwathi, that are distinct and separate tribes that have adopted the isiXhosa language and the Xhosa way of life.  The name "Xhosa" comes from that of a legendary leader and King called uXhosa. There is also a fringe theory that the King's name, which has since been lost among the people, was not Xhosa, but that "Xhosa" was a name given to him by the San, which means "fierce" or "angry" in Khoisan languages. The Xhosa people refer to themselves as the amaXhosa and their language as isiXhosa. 

Presently, approximately 8 million Xhosa people are distributed across the country. The Xhosa language is South Africa's second-most-populous home language, after the Zulu language, to which Xhosa is closely related. The pre-1994 apartheid system of Bantustans denied the Xhosa South African citizenship. Still, it enabled them to have self-governing "homelands," namely Transkei and Ciskei, now a part of the Eastern Cape Province where most Xhosa remain. Many Xhosa live in Cape Town (eKapa in Xhosa), East London (eMonti), and Port Elizabeth (eBhayi). 

As of 2003, the majority of Xhosa speakers, approximately 5.3 million, lived in the Eastern Cape, followed by the Western Cape (approximately 1 million), Gauteng (671,045), the Free State (246,192), KwaZulu-Natal (219,826), North West (214,461), Mpumalanga (46,553), the Northern Cape(51,228), and Limpopo (14,225).  

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