Thursday, March 28, 2013

TSWANA PEOPLE: SOUTH AFRICA`S HARDWORKING PEOPLE WITH EXTRA-ORDINARY DANCING AND UNIQUE CULTURAL DANCE

Tswana  people are Niger-Congo or Bantu-speaking people including all the Sotho-Tswana clans residing either in Botswana, Lesotho or South Africa, any member of the Sotho-Tswana clans that trace their origin from Kgosi Mokgatle, citizen of Botswana regardless of linguistic or ethnic origin, members of the eight major Sotho-Tswana clans as defined in the Chieftainship Act of Botswana and members of the Sotho-Tswana clans that reside in Botswana, South Africa that speak a standardized dialect of the Sotho-Tswana called Setswana sometimes also referred to as the Western Sotho.
                                               Tswana woman


The ethnonym Batswana (Western Sotho)  is thought to be antonyms that come from meaning of the Sotho-Tswana word “tswa”, which means “to come out of”. The name would be derived from the word “Ba ba tswang” eventually shortened to the word Batswana meaning “The Separatists” or alternatively “the people who cannot hold together”.
                                               Tswana people

The Sotho-Tswana group includes the Basotho of Lesotho and the Orange Free State, to whom the term 'Sotho' has come to be more specifically and almost exclusively applied. This group is sometimes referred to as the 'Southern Sotho'. A third group comprises the Northern Sotho who at times have been incorrectly referred to as the Bapedi.  One of the chief characteristics of the Sotho-Tswana clans is the tendency to break up and hive off.

                                Tswana boys

Currently there are over 16 million Tswanas living in Batswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The largest population of Tswanas live in South Africa. Botswana is a country of Be-Tswana people, one member of this country is Mo-Tswana and their language is Se-Tswana.

Language
                                    Tswana dancers from Windhoek, Namibia

They speak Setswana {’Sechuana’} and Sesotho sa Lebowa. Setswana is sometimes referred to as Beetjuans, Chuana (hence Bechuanaland), Coana, Cuana, or Sechuana. It is spoken across South Africa and is one of the 11 official languages recognized by the South African Constitution, it is also the national and majority language of Botswana. In 2006 it was determined that over 3 million South Africans speak Setswana as a home language.Tswana was the one of the first written Sotho languages. The earliest example being Heinrich Lictenstein’s 1806 text called Upon the Language of the Beetjuana. Followed by John Cambell’s Bootchuana words (1815) and Burchell’s Botswana in 1824.
 The languages of the Sotho-Tswana and other Bantu-speakers have a number of common features - they are agglutinative in construction, nearly all the words ending in vowels or with a nasal consonant, nouns do not indicate masculine or feminine gender, and these nouns are highly alliterative in character owing to an elaborate system of noun classes functioning in much the same way that gender does in European languages.
Also, there are similarities in idiom which are not easy to express in a precise manner.
                                                Tswana Dancers
Origins of the Tswana
Migrations of ironworking and iron-using peoples into southern Africa probably occurred as early as the beginning of the Christian era. Among such communities were the ancestors of people later called the Tswana. These were small-scale migrations of families, clans and groups of clans migrating in a variety of directions. Some groups became the ~ for the emergence of larger states which we call kingdoms. Indications are that these large states developed during the second millenium of the Christian era and that the plethora of modern chiefdoms were due to fission caused as much by droughts, famine, pestilence search for better conditions as by dynastic ambitions and rivalries.
The Tswana chiefdoms form part of the larger group of Sotho peoples, while the Sotho group itself is one of the three great sub-divisions of the Bantu-speaking peoples situated north of the Nguni. In addition to the Batswana or 'Western Sotho', the Sotho group includes the Basotho of Lesotho and the Orange Free State, to whom the term 'Sotho' has come to be more specifically and almost exclusively applied. This group sometimes also is referred to as the 'Southern Sotho'. A third group comprises the Bapedi who have been generally referred to as the 'Northern Sotho,.

These different Sotho groups that together may be more conveniently described as 'Sotho-Tswana' at the very earliest stage of their history, shared a number of linguistic and cultural characteristics that distinguished them from other Bantu-speakers of southern Africa. These are features such as totemism, a pre-emptive right
of men to marry their maternal cousins, and an architectural style characterised by a round hut with a conical
thatch roof supported by wooden pillars on the outside. Other minor distinguishing features included their dress of skin cloaks or dikobo and breech-cloths, a variety of Buispoort-type pottery closely related to Schofield's NC2 variety, and a predilection for dense and close settlements, as well as a tradition of large-scale building in stone.

                                  Tswana women

While the Sotho-Tswana developed these distinguishing characteristics, they did, of course, also share a number of characteristics with other southern Bantu-speaking peoples. These included physical features
which generally speaking, make it hard to distinguish Sotho or Tswana from Xhosa, Zulu or Swazi; although many Tswana, especially those living south of the Molopo tend to be of a lighter complexion than others, as well as being slightly lankier with prominent cheek-bones - features which clearly point to considerable inter-marriage and other forms of interaction with such groups as the Khoi, Koranna and Griqua.

The traditions of the Sotho-Tswana people point to a northward origin, and indicate that their southward movement was part of the great migrations of the Bantu-speaking iron-age peoples. Early Sotho people have
been associated with the culture that is thought to have flourished between the Zambezi and the Limpopo, and were also thought to have developed the gold trade with Sofala. According to L.Fouch~ this is also attested by evidence from pottery remains, and the Sotho period terminated when the early Shena invasion entered the Zambezi-Limpopo area about A.D. 1200. Although the direction from which the Sotho and other Bantu-speakers came is readily accepted by all writers, there must be considerable reservation about locating the place of origin of these groups in either Egypt or Ethiopia.

                                             Tswana people

Other indications favouring the theory of northward origins of the ancestors of the Sotho-Tswana peoples are linguistic features, pottery styles and their architecture. Malcolm Guthrie has pointed out that there are indications that such languages as Sotho, Venda and Nguni have developed from Zezuru, which is a Shona
language. If this view was tenable, it would imply a considerable period of close settlement, or at any event,
a very intimate association over a long time among the speakers of those languages. However, a close reading of the writings of Christopher Ehret gives the impression that save for Venda, he questions the gist of the Guthrie thesis with respect to the development of languages like Sotho and Nguni which formed elements of a proto-Southeast Bantu network. His general conclusion is that the sub-Zambezi languages, which were part of the 'Pembela complex' could be divided into two groups - namely Shona and Southeast Bantu, and that what these two groups share in language they also share with other Bantu languages north of the Zambezi. Consequently 'any common period in their linguistic histories would have to be attributed to historical events outside southeastern Africa.
                                          Tswana men performing traditional Tswana dance

D. P. Abraham who conducted extensive oral research among societies of Rhodesia added to the evidence
confirming the northern origins of Sotho-Tswana peoples by referring to a period of close interaction between such early Sotho groups as the Bafokeng and the Barolong and Rhodesian peoples. This is thought to have taken place in the Guruuswa district of Rhodesia. Again John Schofield has drawn attention to typological analogues of the ceramic wares of the Iron Age culture with that of the Sotho-Tswana. It is striking, however, that Summers' discussion of the Rhodesian Iron Age culture carefully refrains from any specific correlation of Sotho-Tswana and Rhodesian societies on the basis of pottery styles, while Inskeep warns against the dangers of attempting to identify ethnic groupings on the basis of pottery assemblages, especially when the samples of pottery examined have been so few.

For a long time written traditions have repeated the theory that the Sotho-Tswana or at least the Tswana, arrived in South Africa in a succession of migration waves, and speculations about the time of their arrival have been inextricably bound up with this 'wave theory' of immigration. Usually the theory asserts that the Sotho-Tswana separated from other Bantu-speaking peoples in the vicinity of the Great Lakes of East Africa, and that they proceeded downwards along the western part of present-day Rhodesia in three series of migrations.

The first wave is accordingly thought to have comprised such groups as the Dighoja, the Bathammaga,
Batsatsing and other early groups simply known as Bakgalagadi, who settled in parts of the Transvaal Highveld, the eastern portion of Botswana and of the northern Cape Colony, where they intermingled freely with the pre-existing Khoi and San communities. The second wave is said to have brought the ancestors of the Bafokeng, Barolong and Batlhaping societies who settled along the upper reaches of the Molopo spreading south and west from the neighbourhood. The third and largest migration is alleged to have comprised the other major Sotho-Tswana groups whose descendants have survived as the present-day
societies of Botswana, Lesotho, the Transvaal, Orange Free State and the northern Cape in South Africa. According to this 'wave theory' each group of immigrants into South Africa subdued or conquered groups that preceded it in the area of settlement.

                            Beuatiful Tswana girl in the bush

While during the later stages of the ten centuries preceding 1500 A.D., there may have been a few ancient but well-recognisable Sotho-Tswana groups such as the Bafokeng and, perhaps, the Barolong, it seems fairly plausible to think of the appearance of most of the Sotho-Tswana peoples we know today as the result of a slow but steady process of mingling of several segmentary groups sharing a number of cultural features. Some groups probably increased their numerical size through being joined by other small migrant groups. Many of the groups vere probably mixed and Sotho-Tswana culture would accordingly be a blend of many cultural traits that developed over a long time in some cradle-land. The increase in the size of the Sotho-Tswana population likevise ought to be regarded as having taken place in situ through the absorption of other groups in the sub-Limpopo region. Monica Wilson has argued convincingly that patrilineal and polygynous lineages with traditions of exchanging cattle during marriage tend quickly to increase both their numerical strengths as groups and their wealth in stock at the expense of those without cattle
                                    Chief Khama, Chief of the Bamangwato.

In this connection it is interesting that both the Sotho-Tsvana and the Nguni emphasized patrilineage in their marriages. This, together with the Sotho-Tswana practice of preferential marriages - a practice encapsulated in the proverb, Ngwana rrangwane, nnyale. dikgomo di boele sakeng: 'Child of my father's younger brother, marry me, so that the (bogadi) cattle may return to our kraal, would have the effect of keeping wealth in the same lineages, thereby perpetuating their preferred positions. The suggestion made here is that proto-SothoTswana lineages moved very slowly into the sub-Limpopo region - a process that took several centuries and during which they slowly difused a 'Sotho-Tswana' culture over groups they found in that region. It also seems fair to conclude that whatever the linguistic and cultural foundation they brought with them, the developments that have given rise to the distinctive language and culture of the Sotho-Tswana probably occured in the cradle area or 'homeland' lying immediately south of the Limpopo area.

Ellenberger states that the Bafokeng crossed the Zambezi during the eleventh or twelfth century. For an indeterminate period they dwelt together with the Bahurutshe and the Barolong, for says Ellenberger, there is a tradition that tells of the separation of the Bafokeng and the Barolong at the same time and place as the separation of Bafokeng and Bahurutshe. When they left their neighbours - the Barolong and the Bahurutshe  at a place that Ellenberger described as 'Bechuanaland', the Bafokeng migrated eastwards to the vicinity of the Magaliesberg range, named after Mogale. This is stated to have occurred before the start of the sixteenth
century. The sanguinary conflict that is supposed to have given rise to this migration is alleged to have been over some young bulls that the 'Bahurutshe' wished to castrate contrary to the wishes of the Bafokeng.

                                 Tswana men

In the Magaliesberg area, the Bafokeng are said to have split into two sections. One of these remained in the Magaliesberg area, and in the nineteenth century suffered much from Mandebele raids. The other section further subdivided into a number of clans which migrated southwards across the Vaal, thereby becoming the
first Sotho-Tswana to cross that river. Some of these settled near the hill Ntsuanatsatsi between modern Free State towns of Frankfort and Vrede, well before the year 1530.

At Ntsuanatsatsi the Bafokeng intermingled and intermarried with various San and half-caste groups found
in the vicinity. Tradition states that it was such a marriage by the Bafokeng chief, Napo, at Ntsuanatsatsi which led to a serious civil strife. When the chief died the sons of his San wife were denied recognition as legitimate heirs, a situation that resulted in the disgruntled San-Fokeng sons of the late chief Napo hiving off. They migrated with their followers across the Drakensberg mountains and down along the Natal coast. Their migration route is marked by the type of pottery classified by John Schofield as Natal Coast pottery, HC.2, which bears a strong resemblance to early Bafokeng pottery found in the Orange Free State and Lesotho. These Bafokengba-'Hutla, literally 'the Bafokeng of the hare', whose totem was the hare, lived for a short period among the Hpondo people along the Transkei coast before moving down further south and settling for some time, among the Thembu society as the Ama-Yundle clan. It is thought that Hpondo and Thembu pottery styles bearing very close affinities to Fokeng pottery were a result of this interaction. This migration of the Bafokeng-ba-'Mutla from Ntsuanatsatsi has been dated to about A.D. 1600 by Ellenberger, but Schofield dated their settlement in Natal towards the middle of the sixteenth century. Walton is of the opinion that Schofield's chronology for this group is nearer the mark because the Ama-Yundle traditions confirm that they lived in the Transkei for about eight to nine generations.
  Sir Seretse Khama, Tswana paramount chief (Kgosi) of the Bangwato and the Batswana`s first president.

Since the radio-carbon date for these settlements is about 1445-1495, it tends somewhat to support
Ellenberger's estimate that the Bafokeng settlement at Ntsuanatsatsi and other high-veld sites predates A.D. 1500, but does not support his estimate of the Bafokeng-ba- 'Mutla sojourn in Natal, for which A.D. 1600 appears too late a date. A pre-1500 date for Bafokeng occupation of Ntsuanatsatsi is in harmony with the tradition that they were found there by the Lesotho line or branch of Kwena clans. As will be seen later, the latter clans are supposed to have migrated from the Kwena dispersion centre in the Limpopo-Odi-Madikwe watershed about the middle of the fifteenth century.

The chiefdoms belonging to Barolong-Batlhaping cluster,  comprise the various Barolong chiefdoms found by
the sons of Tau - namely the Barolong-Ratlou, BarolongTShidi, Barolong-Seleka, Barolong-Rapulana and BarolongMariba - as well as the Batlhaping-Phuduhutswana and Batlhaping-Maidi sections and the Bakaa chiefdom. With the exception of the Bakaa, and small sections of the Barolong-Seleka and Barolong-Rapulana in the southwestern Transvaal, all the states belonging to this cluster are situated in the northern Cape, south of the Molopo River. Like the Bafokeng, the Barolong were among the earliest Sotho-Tswana kingdoms to establish themselves in South Africa, they appear to have been, without doubt, earlier than those chiefdoms claiming descent from Masilo (C.1415-c.1445).4l Ellenberger and Macgregor dated their first ruler Morolong, from whom the people took their name, to about 1270. It has been suggested that the name Morolong is derived from an old Sotho verb rola, 'to forge', suggesting one who was versed in or a practitioner in the craft of a blacksmith. The association with iron or metal implied in this explanation, is carried further in the name of the son of Morolong as second ruler of the Barolong called, Noto or 'hammer' as well as in the totem of these people which was tshipe or iron. To arrive at the date 1270, Ellenberger and Macgregor were calculating on the basis of thirty-year generations. Using thirty years we arrive at a date like c.1325-c.1355 for Morolong. Thought by Abraham to have been among the Sotho-Tswana clans that had been interacting with the Shona clans in the Guruuewa district of Rhodesia between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, the Barolong were already spread widely between the headwaters of the Molopo and the Modder Rivers by the time they were ruled by their eighth king MADIBOYA, c.1535-c.1565.

The rule of the ninth Barolong king Tshesebe (c.1565-c.1595) witnessed the emigration of a group of clans under the sub-king (kgosana), Phuduhutswana, and their southward trek to establish themselves at
Dikgatlong near the confluence of the Vaal (Noka-eTshehla or Lekwa) and the Harts (Kolong) rivers. Traditions are silent on the cause of the exodus. But these emigrant Barolong retained their links with the capital. Famine compelled this group, now living among the Korana Khoi and Griqua, to break with tradition and eat fish. Since then they were known as Batlhaping.

                                                       Beautiful Tswana woman

During the reign of the fourteenth Rolong king Tau the Batlhaping refused to continue paying sehuba (tribute) to the Rolong monarch. They were thereby declaring themselves independent of the Rolong state. Tau died, early in the eighteenth century fighting a war against a joint Rolong-Korana army. Within the same
generation another group of Barolong seceded under a leader called Maidi. They joined the Batlhaping and were called Batlhaping-ba-Maidi. Another off-shoot from the Rolong kingdom was that of the people later called Bakaa. Their secession was led by Tseme, a grandson of Maleka under whom friction with the main group started. After migrating to several places in what is now southern Botswana the Bakaa eventually settled near Shoshong hills, where they overthrew the Khurutshe state they found there. The Kaa state
was ultimately destroyed by the Ngwato. Fragments of the Kaa joined the Kwena state or fled towards the
Kalanga peoples in the north, where they were called Chwizina or Sebina.

This brings us to the Kwena-Hurutshe cluster. The traditions of the Bahurutshe and all Bakwena chiefdoms indicate that at some time in the past they were all under the same ruling line of kings. The chiefdoms that
claim descent from a common ancestor, Masilo, are the Bahuruthse chiefdoms in the western Transvaal with the Tlharo and Khurutshe off-shoots, the Bakwena chiefdoms of the Transvaal - the Bakwena-Mogopa, Bakwena-Modimosana with its four sections: Ramanela, Mmatau, Matlhaku and Haake; Bakwena Moletswane, Bakwena-Moletse, the Baphalane and Bakwena cluster of Botswana which comprise the
Bakwena of Molepolole, the Bamangwato, the Bangwakets and the Batawana. The Bakwena clans of Lesotho also belong to this same group of chiefdoms. The places that occur as the earliest remembered settlement sites are Rathatheng, said to have been near the confluence of the Odi and Hadikwe Riversj and Habjanamatswana, also known as Swart Koppies, near the modern town of Brits. Both the Transvaal and Botswana cluster share with the Bahurutshe the same kings until a break-up (c.1475-c.l~05) that resulted in the existence of separate Bahurutshe and Bakwena chiefdoms. There are conflicting traditions accounting for this historic split, the consequences of which were the wide dispersal of Sotho-Tswana chiefdoms over the South African highveld up to the limits of the Kgalagadi desert on the west and almost as far as the Orange River on the south; as well as the diffusion of Sotho-Tswana language and culture.

According to one tradition, the cleavage that resulted in Kwena-venerating peoples becoming Bahurutshe and Bakwena, had to do with the first fruits ceremony. Another tradition attributed to Kwena-Hogopa informants is that the first born child in Malope's senior house was a daughter, Mohurutshe, while the first born child in the second house was a son, Kwena. According to this version, the dispute was about whether the chiefdom should be in the hands of the eldest child in the senior house regardless of whether it was female, or whether the leadership should be kept male by electing the senior son of the second house. Whichever version is preferred, it was clear there was a leadership crisis that followed upon the death of Malope. From this it will be seen that while the followers of Mohurutshe were, in consequence, forced to
leave Mabjanamatshwana and move south as a separate group, with a separate totem, and while their seniority in rank as well as in ritual matters was generally recognised, it is incorrect to speak of the Bahurutshe as the parent group of others. They were as much a splinter as the group that followed Kwena and became known as Bakwena. The only difference is that they were the senior splinter.

The break-up that was occurring in the Sotho-Twana societies was on such a scale as to render feasible
the conjecture that the cleavage which produced separate Hurutshe and Bakwena kingdoms, was only the beginning of that grew to be a huge phenomenon. Breutz dates the Hurutshe-Kwena split to about A.D. 1400-1480. During the period c.1450-1480, a critical drought supervened in the Dande area and the Makorekore (so named by the Tavara clans, 'to indicate they are as numerous in their occupation of the land as the clouds of locusts that periodically descend upon the Dande' who had moved there two generations earlier, were obliged to migrate northwards across the Zambezi into the kingdom of Maravi. It is possible that the same drought that drove the Makorekore into the Dande, also led to the break-up of the Hurutshe-Kwena. Further, the fact that the tradition of the dispute between Mohurutshe and Kwena had to do with agricultural, as well as with religious matters, may be an oblique indicator of an economic crisis.
                       Sechele, chief of the Kwena. circa 1865.Gustav Theodor Fritsch Collection (Visual Arts)

Between five and seven generations after the separation of the Bahurutshe and the Bakwena, while Hogopa was still ruling the latter, a terrible famine occurred, 'tlala ee boitshegang', which scattered and dispersed the Kwena clans far and wide. Calculating by generations, gives a date in the bracket c.1625-l655. It will be noted that this date correlates well with dates cited for periodic droughts in the Indian Ocean locality during the seventeenth century. As a result of this famine, many Kwena clans - the Modibedi, Mogorosi, Bahlakwana, Bamonaheng, BaMokotedi Makhoakhoa - migrated south of the Lekwa or Vaal River into the modern Free State. One or more of these Kwena clans went to settle at Ntsuanatsatsi near the Bafokeng settlement. These Kwena clans that migrated southwards beyond the Lekwa were the ones that were later
organised into the ruling lineage of Lesotho. Other Kwena lineages such as the Bamo1etse. Ba-Phogole. Phalane and others, migrated eastwards where they set themselves up as separate chiefdoms. Mogopa and the remaining Kwena groups. which still included the Modimcsana cluster and those that later formed the Botswana branch migrated to Mabjanamatshwana along the Odi River to its confluence with the Madikwe and there built a settlement named Rathatheng. After a period of very strenuous or difficult existence. owing to scarcity of food and water, Mogopa migrated back to Mbjanamatshwana. in the modern Brits district of the Transvaal.

Mogopa's return migration to Mbjanamatshwana was not joined by his brother Kgabo II who. together with
his followers. remained at Rathatheng. Kgabo II's followers included all the wards and divisions that were later bto separate as the Bamangwato and Bangwaketse. While recorded tradition is silent on the specific reasons for Kgabo II and his followers declining to follow Mogopa to Mbjanamatshwana. it may be surmised that reservations about pressure of too dense settlement in one area in a situation of droughts could hardly help matters. Personal ambition and lust for power on the part of Kgabo cannot, of course be ruled out. Thus, partly as a result of the droughts and famines that occurred during the generation c.1625-c.1655.
there emerged two Kwena kingdoms in the western Transvaal. These were the Bakwena-Mogopa based on Mabjanamatshwana. also known as Swart Koppies. and the Bakwena-Kgabo at Rathatheng. Segmentation caused by droughts and famines also resulted in the Bahurutshe state splitting into the Manyana and Gopane chiefdoms. the Bakaa and the Phuduhutswana-T1haping hiving off from the Baro10ng-Tshidi. and the Bakwena-Modimosana splitting up with the four chiefdoms known as Ramanela, Maak, Mmatau and Matlhaku.

It was probably at Rathatheng that Kgabo II was succeeded by his son Motshodi. although according to
some traditions. he (Kgabo II) led the migration of his followers across the Madikwe into present-day Botswana.
Another version attributes the leadership of that migration to his son Motshodi. Whichever we finally settle
on, it will be found that their generations occurred nearly a century earlier than the chronology suggested by
Schapera and Sillery for these kings. The Kwena-Kgabo went to occupy Dithejwane hills in the present Kweneng district. There they intermingled with groups such as Bakgwatleng, Banakedi, Baphaleng and others now commonly referred to as Bakgalagadi. Towards the end of the long reign of Motshodi the huge Kwena-Kgabo kingdom broke up. Consequently two new independent states came into being the Ngwato and Ngwaketse kingdoms. These developments probably occurred late in the seventeenth century. Towards the end of the eighteenth century a section of the Ngwato kingdom seceded under the leadership of a junior
son of Mathiba called Tawana. They founded a new state on Lake Nghabe - the Tawana kingdom named after the founder.
                                 President Ian Khama of Botswana is a Tswana

The Kgatla complex comprise the Bakgatla at Motshodi, and in the Pilanesberg district, the Bakgatla-Mmakau, Bakgat1a-Mosetlha, Bakgatla-Hotsha in Hammanskraal and the Bakgatla-Hmanaana in the Ngwaketse and Kweneng districts of Botswana. The Bapedi are also regarded as part of the Kgatla cluster. The Kgatla cluster claims descent from the Bahurutshe. If they did, and there seems to be no evidence to challenge this tradition, then they may have seceded from the 'United Phofu Confederacy' or Hurutshe-Kwena complex since the Bahurutshe state did not come into separate existence until about 1475-1505,
while the founder of the Bakgat1a, Halekeleke was, according to the Bakgat1a regnal list, of the generation
C.1385-c.1415.64 Furthermore, Bamalete traditions report a very severe famine in that same generation (c.1385-c.1415) which could also account for the Bakgatla secession from the 'United Phofu Confederacy'. The evidence is even stronger when one considers that traditions generally have seen the Bahurutshe state as the senior and legitimate inheritor of the 'United Phofu Confederacy'. Further, the near similarity of the totem of the Bahurutshe and the Bakgatla groups (that is the baboon and the monkey), could also lead to a superficial conclusion of identical or commonn origins. But until that is proved on other grounds, the basis for such a conclusion would be tenuous and misleading. The tshwene, or baboon of the Bahurutshe was not their original totem, but one which they adopted much later after the split, not between Mohurutshe and Kwena,
but between Mohurutshe's sons, Motebele and Motebejana, nearly a century after Malekeleke is alleged to have led the Bakgatla secession from the Bahurutshe.

The Balete and the Batlokwa are comparative recent arrivals to Botswana. While they have interesting, rich and complicated traditions of origins, these cannot for problema of space be discussed in this essay. The
traditions of the Bakalanga of Botswana also require serious study before a clearer picture of their past can
emerge. Finally, we need to embark on concerted collection and analysis of the traditions of societies of
northwestern Botswana, the Chobe district and Kgalagadi areas.

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Batswana have been called a peasant-proletariat to reflect the fact that they have been migrating to the mines, and to a lesser extent, to the White commercial farms of South Africa, for over a century and that wages constitute their single largest source of revenue. Mine contacts were temporary, often enabling the migrant to return home for the plowing season; until the late twentieth century, migrants were prevented by South African law from establishing permanent residence at their place of employment. New forms of employment have been emerging, especially in Botswana, where diamond mining has led to dramatic economic growth. State-sponsored welfare is important in both countries.

Local economic activities center on agro-pastoralism. Batswana rely on ox-drawn iron plows (but tractors are becoming increasingly common); the principal crop is sorghum. They also grow maize, beans, sweet-cane, and some millet. Some farmers engage in commercial agriculture. Batswana husband goats, sheep, and most importantly, cattle. Cattle are valuable for local exchange, for ritual purposes, for their milk, and less so for their meat; their sale provides an important source of revenue for rural peoples. Most households also keep chickens, and, in the east, some keep pigs. Hunting is far less important than it was in the past, when game was plentiful.

Industrial Arts. Batswana have long been tied to the South African industrial economy and have purchased items that formerly were made locally; these include most metal goods. In the past, men worked in metal, bone, and wood; women made pots, and both sexes did basketwork. These skills were often passed from parents to children. Some men still specialize in skin preparation and sewing, usually for trade, and men still make some wooden items, such as yokes for livestock. In northern Botswana, women make baskets, many of which are exported. Women build "traditional" Tswana huts, whereas men specialize in European-style thatch and "modern"-style houses. The latter are highly specialized skills. As in much of Africa, children fashion toys out of fence wire, tin cans, old tires, and almost anything they can acquire.

Trade. Archaeological evidence points to the great antiquity of local and long-distance trade. Marketplaces were not common in the region; most trade occurred among neighbors or with itinerant peddlers; in the early nineteenth century Griqua traders from the south traveled into the region; they were followed by Europeans. Trade increased with the arrival of missionaries during the nineteenth century, many of whom encouraged such commerce as a means of bringing "civilization" to the area. Europeans and, later, Asians established shops over the course of the colonial period. Virtually all villages now have trading stores, and many individuals—especially women—are "hawkers" who engage in trade from their compounds. Botswana is part of the South African Customs Union, and virtually every commodity is available in both countries.

Division of Labor. In pre-European times, men tended livestock, hunted, prepared fields, engaged in warfare, and participated in the formai public political arena. Women tended fields, gathered wild foods, and were responsible for the domestic arena, including looking after domestic fowl. With the introduction of the ox-drawn plow in the nineteenth century, men assumed the task of plowing, but women continued to perform most other agricultural work. The division of labor became less strict as more men migrated for wage labor and women increasingly engaged in livestock activities, especially plowing and milking. Boys worked extensively with livestock and spent long periods away from home at cattle posts. All children helped in the fields, and girls helped their mothers, especially with looking after younger siblings. Although wage labor has been available for men for over a century, until about the 1970s, women had little opportunity for wage employment; those jobs available were largely as domestics and on White-owned farms. In the late twentieth century greater opportunity exists for both men and women, but men still have an advantage over women.
                                             Tswana woman

Land Tenure. Traditionally, the right to use (but not to sell) agricultural land was inherited patrilineally by sons; women received access to agricultural lands as wives. Closely related agnatic kin tended to have fields in the same general area, which facilitated cooperation. Pastureland was in theory communal, but often areas were associated with particular groups. Since the advent of boreholes, the land surrounding them has become increasingly associated with (but not formally owned by) the borehole owners.

In Botswana, the majority of people live in the districts (former tribal reserves), where most land is held in common. Some areas, as provided under the Tribal Grazing Land Policy established in 1975, have been demarcated as commercial ranch land, and wealthy Batswana who are willing to invest in infrastructure (fences, boreholes, etc.) may take out long-term leases. Other land has been reserved as wildlife-management areas. Permission to use land in the communal areas is obtained from land boards. The land cannot be sold. Unlike in Botswana, where very little land was given over to Europeans, in South Africa Blacks were given only 13 percent of the land after 1913.
               Olebile Sedumedi - popularly known as Maxy ‘Queen of the Sands’,Tswana folkloric musician

Kinship
Among the cultural affinities shared by the southern Bantu-speakers are their lineage descent systems.                    
“Agnation is emphasized in Batswana kinship: along with primogeniture, it  traditionally had the greatest influence on inheritance of property and succession to office. Individuals were identified  with and came under the jural authority of their agnatic group ( kgoda, or the diminutive kgotlana ); however, the formation of discrete agnatic units was and continues to be inhibited by the marriage system, which permits cousin
marriages of all kinds. Patrilineal parallel-cousin marriages of near kin, although practiced mainly by the elite but permitted to all, serve to complicate the principle of unilineality and create ambiguous and overlapping links. Thus, there is a cognatic element to the system, which places emphasis upon kindreds (sing. losika ) and gives greater license to individuals to "construct" their social networks than is found in many patrilineal societies”.
                                                Tswana woman and child

The marriage institution
Bogadi or lobola practice (bride wealth)
Exchange of bogadi is an imperative requirement, and the one that legalises conjugal unions. This essential mandate demands that the bogadi cattle be transferred from the bridegroom’s family to the bride’s before the feasts, marking the women’s relocation to the husband’s home. The institution explains why cattle breeding were entirely an extremely important male activity. Its largest contributors were the son’s father and his
uncle, while the major benefactors, among the woman’s family, were the maternal uncles and their brothers. This factor sustained their economic strength, the benefit of which was inherited by their sons. Women − wives and their daughters − continued to be disadvantaged.
 It is a usual practice for young cows or oxen to be given, but never bulls, because they possibly symbolised male strength. Cows were preferred because they were thought to symbolise the reproductive ability expected of the woman. The handing over of bogadi is done before sunrise. The bridegroom, demonstrating his manhood, drives the cattle to the kraal of his in-laws and remains at the entrance of the kraal, while negotiations go on at the Kgotla. The fact that negotiations take place here, as opposed to the house, symbolised the masculine sphere of influence. A man could refer to both his wife (or wives) and children as bana bame (my children), indicating that he controlled them in everyday life and that she is always subordinate to him and his male relatives.

A man who does not give bogadi has no legal rights over his own children. He also loses prestige in the community. In addition to his undergoing constant pressure from his wife’s parents, it is also seen as a shame to the woman herself. A married woman is regarded as being more honourable in this society. This makes marriage and therefore bogadi very attractive. Bogadi is a symbol of permanent security and help to the man’s mother, from her daughterin-law. It also is a source of prestige because it gives the male elders a measure of control over the young man, who is entirely dependent on them for marital resources. These younger men are, therefore, not expected to accumulate their own economic resources, nor fulfil matrimonial obligations on their own.

                                Tswana wedding ceremony

Marriage

                                              Tswana marriage ceremony.blushingmakoti.com

They all practised polygamy, observed the levirate or sororate forms of marriage, gave bridal cattle on marrying their wives. The Setswana proverb Monna thotse o a nama (literally meaning a man is like a seed, he spreads his branches everywhere) gives men licence to practise concubinage.  However, women are not permitted to engage in an affair with more than two men. The term used for a woman who, for one reason or another, remains unmarried but engages in an adulterous affair with a married man is nyatsi (concubine).

The choice of a man’s first wife is a male-dominated affair, because marriage is seen as a means of continuing the patriarchal lineage. The most important function of a wife is thus child-bearing, in which the production of boys is a crucial factor (Brown 1926:58-65; Willoughby 1923:46-138). No one is excused from getting married. Every father expects all his sons to continue his family lineage (Schapera 1956:28-29).

                                   Tswana husband and wife.blushingmakoti.com

A woman who deliberately chooses to remain single is not only virtually unknown, but is also an embarrassment, and a shame to the community.A woman who stayed single was regarded as refusing to fulfil the fundamental duty of child−bearing. This is why the old maids, the unmarried old females, are known as mafetwa (those who have been passed by) and was the worst form of social stigma a woman could have.

                                     Tswana groom`s procession. blushingmakoti.com

Mafetwa are regarded as bad luck. They are not to touch children, lest they pass their bad luck onto them. Other women do not want to associate with them. A woman who remains single is also considered
immature, irrespective of her age (was an unjustified form of indoctrination). For example, she is never involved in marital negotiations (patlo), although her married peers and younger sisters will participate in such activities. This environment makes marriage prestigious and desirable to every woman, because it is only marriage that makes the female a “real” woman.
                                                            Tswana traditional wear
Betrothal negotiations
Traditionally, the choice of the bride and all the betrothal arrangements rests with the man’s parents, especially his uncle and father. The girl’s consent is taken for granted. Her parents can choose a suitable spouse for her without consultation and she is expected to honour their choice. The word generally used for the process of negotiation was patlo (betrothal negotiations).
                                                     Tswana attire. blushingmakoti.com 

The girl herself is referred to as sego sa metsi’ (the one who fetches water for the family for domestic use). The process and the terminology used basically express the purpose for which the bride was sought − to bear children and serve the new family in a host of domestic duties. While this undermines the status of a woman, other women envy her all the same.

                    Tswana bridal procession: blushingmakoti.com

 The agreement between the two families is a legal guarantee of the marriage. John MacKenzie tells us how
Kgosi (King) Sekgoma of the Bangwato, in 1857, had arranged a wife for his elder son Khama, saying: “Before his banishment, Sekhome (sic) had desired his eldest son [Khama III] to take to wife a daughter of Pelutona; …” (Mackenzie 1922:109).

                                                 Tswana man and his baby

Tswana belief
Traditional Tswana belief was centred around Modimo which literally means the Great High God (Spirit).Modimo can be neither personified nor gendered. It is something that cannot be accommodated in a building or in space. Nevertheless, Modimo has the several attributes that include being supreme (Hlaa-Hlaa-Macholo), invincible (gaOitsiwe), the source (motlhodi), the Enabler (montshi), Mother (mme), and the Light (lesedi). Modimo lives in the sky. Modimo wills good to humankind, and Modimo preserves justice.

Modimo normally acts through Badimo (ancestors). Last, but not least, Modimo may intervene directly to draw attention to the breach of taboos." He is regarded as the Creator of all things, and the person responsible for all human destiny. He controlled human destiny by sending different weather, in order to indicate through winds, hail, heat, rain (or its absence), and death, his discontent with some departure from tradition and from the proper Tswana order of things. Thus, particularly significant events were acts of God or, in the case of death, could also be signs of witchcraft and, therefore, of human envy and greed."
                                         Tswana woman performing traditional worship

Modimo however, was distant from people, and the ancestral spirits were usually called on to intercede for the Tswana. Together with Dingwe, a kind of ogre against whom children were protected by charms, and the lesser divinities of Loowe, Tintibane, Matsieng, and Thobega (associated with caves and footprints on rocky places), the ancestral spirits were central to Tswana religious belief and practice. "Something of chief interest about Modimo is that, like most African deities, it is neuter in gen­der. It is an attribute that seeks to empower both men and women together in societal functions, duties, and privileges. Thus, the representation of Modimo in Setswana spiritual space by the indigenous divining set (ditaola) illustrates that domination of one gender, male or female, was not characteristics."
Today, Christianity is the most prevailing belief system in Botswana and other Sotho-Tswana areas, with well over 40% of the population. It was brought into Botswana by David Livingstone in the middle 19th century who converted Kgosi Sechele I (Chief of Bakwena) to Christianity. The main denominations are - Roman Catholic, Anglican, Zion, Lutheran and Methodist Christian Church.

                                                Tswana ladies
Political institution
At a territorial level gender distinctions are fundamental to most social, political, economic and religious institutions. Central to these, for the Batswana, are the Kgotla (the national council of all men) and kingship
institutions.
Kgotla institution
Generally speaking, the political sphere which consists of the Kgotla institution, the council for all men. The Kgotla is a forum in which state matters and disputes are debated and settled. It is the scene of power and important decision-making. This follows the substance of a well-known proverbial Tswana saying that − Kgosi ke kgosi ka batho, (government for, by and of the people), which stresses the need for people’s virtues, open consultations and democracy, but excludes women.

                                   Tswana men

This tradition aims at preserving the past cultural heritage of the people, the wisdom and knowledge of the forefathers, and therefore keeps immense power in the hands of the people. Whilst it completely excludes women from its debates and deliberations, it deals with crucial matters of public policy, which have unprecedented binding authority on all (Willoughby 1928:179). This is despite its basic, well-known principle/saying: Mmualebe o bua la gagwe, which translates as “there is freedom of opinion and fundamental right of participation”. This right of freedom of opinion is restricted to men and, although debates are very democratic, the traditional laws, and policies proceeding from them.

                                              Tswana people
Passages of rite
“There are many ceremonies to mark life cycle events: these include birth, the end of the three month postpartum confinement, several marriage ceremonies, bride wealth payment, and death. Increasingly, funerals have become the most elaborate life cycle rituals”
Incorporation into mephato
There are several ways of identifying people who are to be initiated together. Membership into a mephato is not by an individual's choice but the system has criteria that are used to select people to be initiated together. The following are the criteria used. Eldest sons of men of the same mephato are initiated together so that the younger mephato is identified as a "child" of the older one. Madima are identified as sons of Mantwane. Once eldest sons have been initiated their younger siblings may then follow in their order of age. 'No two brothers or two sisters from the same mother and father are allowed into the same mephato. Unless they are twins, they are only allowed if they have only one parent in common. Informant say that a brother and sister, of the same parents, following each in their order of birth may share the same mephato name. Those people who may have been absent when their turn for initiation was due were initiated with younger mephato but
given their proper mephato names.
                                           Tswana boy dancers from Botswana

The general sequence of mephato is that of men followed by women but there are occasions when only women are initiated without a male counterpart. Those female mephato without men are; Mantshakgosi, Makgalo, Maisakoma, Matshabatau, Majekere, Mabusapelo, Maatlametla, Matshego, Malwelakgosi, Maisakoma and Mabusapelo. Incases where the village has been relocated the first mephato in the new village was that of women, for instance Makgalo may have been the first mephato at Mochudi initiated
between 1869 (Mafatlha) and 1874 (Matlakana) with Mochudi having been occupied in 1874 (Schapera, 1942; Breutz, 1953). A village was equated to a household and a woman was the one responsible for the daily chores needed to maintain the family. A woman therefore played an important role in the house and it was eventually reflected in the society. Every time a new chief was installed the first mephato should be female and hence the saying that "Kgosi 0 itibola ka basadi" that is a chiefs eldest "child" is a woman. The
idea is to show appreciation to the chief s mother who has over the years taken care of her baby, a baby that had grown strong enough to take care of his father's people. Mephato formed for this reason include the older Maisakoma (initiated by Lentswe I), Maatlametla named by lsang, Matshego named by Molefi and the younger Maisakoma named by Lincwe II. Some female mephato were formed probably because of higher female population and probably because more girls were needed as wives in a polygamous society that insisted on initiation before marriage.

                           Beautiful Tswana women.blushingmakoti.com

Bojale / byale: female initiation practices
Bojale is a female initiation ceremony through which girls are incorporated into mephato. Once the boys had been sent out to an initiation school, girls automatically knew that they would be sent for their initiation ceremony the following winter season. Girls do not have to undergo the laborious pre-initiation sessions that the boys undertook (bogwane). Bojale like other components of Kgatla culture has been changing over the years. There has been some swift changes in the manner in which bojale is carried out especially from around the colonial period when a new religion and government were replacing the traditional religious beliefs and traditional authorities.

Instead of a one day initiation ceremony, girls now stayed up to six weeks learning initiation songs, tribal folklore, social and moral behaviour and the responsibilities of wives and mother (Schapera, 1942). This remained the standard procedure of girls initiation ceremonies until the late 1980s, except that the duration of the ceremony has been decreasing slowly because most initiates were either students or workers. Every late afternoon initiates from each sub ward (kgoro) met at their meeting places and when all had come they went to their ward's central place where all initiates and their teachers from the ward met. While waiting for other initiates to arrive the girls sang under instructions of their teachers. Initiates from the different wards would then march to the main kgotla where they received instructions of which routes they would take that day.
They then made a procession, singing all the time and occasionally stopping for a short rest. They were sometimes instructed to jog or jump over small thorny bushes and all the time they had to keep their heads bowed Initiates were not allowed to walk up straight and even when resting they either had to kneel down or sit in a squatting position without spreading their legs. Those postures were a sign of respect for the teachers. The initiates bad to keep their arms folded on their chests because they did not wear anything on the upper body (Blacking, 1969).

                                      Tswana pe0ple

There were.two sessions held every night. The first session began just after sunset and continued until shortly after midnight while the second session began in the early morning hours and lasted until just before sunrise. The reason for doing so was that students and workers could choose sessions they felt comfortable with. Only those people not going to school or working were expected to turn up for the two sessions every night for they bad time to sweep during the day. It was only on the last day before graduation that there was one all night long session and m the morning the initiates were laid down in their order of seniority and whipped. The whipping was known as "go loma tsetse" or "to bite a tsetse fly" Initiates were often taken to open grounds within the village where they danced and sang. These mcluded Seboeng, Sethobong and Phaphane show grounds. From around the 1980s initiates went out as far as Mmaesoke, a ploughing area about 5 kIn to the northwest of the village. Mmaesoke was chos~m as ~ ini~ation ground for girls because the grounds in the village were now developed mto reSIdential areas, while in other cases bars were built next to such grounds. Mmaesoke was not very far from the village and was large enough to accommodate all participants. During the day, participants stayed at home and went around doing their day to day chores. They were not in anyway distinguished from the rest of the people for they dressed ordinarily, ate everyday food and were not put in seclusion. Unlike boys. who practically moved out of the village during their initiation periods, girls remained within the village and continued to live their ordinary life during the day. Girls' activities
began at night and ended before sunrise.
                                                 Tswana women

The traditional attire of initiates was makgabe and mothikga. This attire was used for a very long time until it was ultimately replaced by European cloth at the beginning of the Twentleth century. Makgabe is a kind of skirt that is made from separate threads sewn together at one end and hanging loose at the other end It was made from a bush plant called bogokgwe or mosoke/atsebeng whose roots and stem were harvested from swampy areas. The plant was boiled for several hours to remove its green pigmentation and to soften
it up. It was boiled until it became clear coloured and tender. Threads that carne after boiling were then rolled between the thigh and hand Pieces of roots and stem were processed into one long roll of thread which was then cut up into many pieces that measured from the waist to the knee, and the pieces were sewn together using very thin thread obtained from an animal skin. Charcoal mixed with animal fat was then smeared on makgabe and rubbed until it had a shiny black colour. Small knots were then tied up on each thread as a way of decoration. Since makgabe did not cover the buttocks, an animal skin back apron was made for this purpose. Goat or sheep skins were softened and cut to knee length with belt extensions on either side of the waist for tying up the apron. Except for these two pieces of clothing, initiates remained bare (Blacking, 1969). Women in the village and presumably initiation teachers wore leather skirts called mothikga made from goat or calf skins. In hot weather women remained topless but in cold weather they wore small leather blankets which were tied around the neck like capes (Blacking, 1969). No forms of body decoration were used on Bakgatla girls during initiations. If one had any item of decoration such as necklace or bracelets she had to take them off when going for initiation sessions. One of the most common ways of decorating the body was body painting done by other Tswana communities like Bakwena and Balete (Schapera, 1955; vander Vliet, 1974). These communities used red ochre to paint either initiates or brides. The Bakgatla believed that a woman was to be born out of a girl initiate and the newly born woman had to resemble a newly born baby as much as possible and therefore initiates were stripped of all decoration items.

                    Tswana traditional dress. blushingmakoti.com

There is not much material culture that the Bakgatla women used or produced during their initiation ceremonies. Many southern African societies are known to use a variety of figurines in their initiation ceremonies. People like the Venda (Blacking, 1969; Huffman, 1996) and Bemba (Richards, 1956) relied heavily on the use of figurines as teaching aids in female initiation schools. The Venda even used figuratively carved drums during domba ceremonies (Blacking, 1969). During the chisungu ceremonies, the Zambian Bemba people used a variation of special figurines and distinctive architectural enclosures where girls
were kept in seclusion. The Bakgatla women did not use any figurines in their bojale ceremonies. Their mode of teaching was songs. Bakgatla women even though lacking figurines had a drum that they used. The drum was used only by women in their initiation ceremonies. The drum was used to symbolize a womb with its bottom opening symbolizing the opening of a womb. The drum was long and narrow with only one carved handle. Its shape is not in anyway similar to that of a womb. The drum was never to be touched by men and when played in traditional events at the kgotla in the presence of men, its lower opening was never to be directed towards men. Not every girl or woman could play the drum: only those with special posts in initiation schools, such as the royal mother's close councilors who could make decisions and suggestions to the rest of the troop. It was believed that some people in the group had strange evil powers or were witches and if they were to play this drum disasters could befall the initiates. Even though there was a traditional cleansing or healing at the beginning of initiation ceremonies, it was always advisable to avoid taking chances with witchcraft and that was why playing the drum was reserved for only a few people in the village. At present the Phutadikobo Museum is housing the women's drum. The drum is probably the only artifact
in the museum collection that the Bakgatla brought with them when they migrated from Pilansberg in 1871.

                                                   Tswana wedding dance

Besides the drum, initiation teachers carried with them branches of moologa tree (Croton gratissimus). They enclosed initiates in the center and moved very closely to each other and the branches became tightly packed, completely screening away the initiates in the center. No reasons have been found as to why only moologa branches were used instead of other tree branches and therefore the significance or symbolism of moologa branches remains unknown. At the end of the ceremony the branches were discarded. On the last night of the ceremony when initiates stayed all night long for dikgalaopa, there was ritual whipping, go loma tsetse, of the initiates who were ordered to lie down on their stomachs and were beaten using moretlwa sticks (wild berry, Grewia flava) that had been previously prepared. Since initiates were large in numbers several sticks were used for this ritual because they would break. Like moologa branches the sticks used for whipping the girls were afterwards discarded.
At the beginning of each initiation ceremony initiates were traditionally medicated (ba aphelwlwa). The idea was to guard them against evil ancestral spirits and at times of intertribal wars they were to be protected from possible witchcraft and curse from enemies (Blacking, 1969). A young virgin was selected from a humble family and one that was related to the royal family. She was accompanied by the royal mother and her assistants to go out and collect plants used in the ritual. The women identified the plants which only the virgin was allowed to dig out or else they would become contaminated and loose their power if.dugout by a non-virgin. The plants were then treated accordingly at the back yard of the chief s house to produce the traditional medicines needed. Plants used for go phelwla remained an absolute secret from the rest of the people so much so that even in the 1980s when there was less emphasis on keeping the procedures of bojale a secret from non-initiates names of the plants used for medication continued to be a profound secret. A small fire was set at the entrance to the kgotla and herbs used for medicating the initiates were thrown into this fire, the drum was suspended above the fire to let the smoke flow inside. It was believed that by so doing the initiates' wombs were being cleansed to be able to bear children. All initiates who had small babies were to squeeze some milk on to the fire to put It out and by so doing they were protecting their children. Other initiates then walked over the fire spot bare footed and the ritual would be completed. All initiates were warned against making and using their own personal traditional medications during the initiation period or else communal medications would work badly against them. There is, in fact, a story of one woman who during her niece's initiation came with her own package of medicines and just as the initiates were entering the main kraal to be named the woman fell down and was paralyzed instantly. She is said to have died a few weeks later. Phekolo was done only on the first day of the ceremony and the powers of the ritual were believed to be strong enough to last an initiate's life time. Many people believed that nothing bad would happen to them once they had been medicated. They said they feared no snakes and other night creatures when they were performing the ceremony at night.
Some symbolic actions have been identified during boja/e ceremonies. The actions are associated witlI child bearing which is an important aspect of societal growth. The Bakgatla believe that a mature woman was born out of a girl initiate and therefore most of the songs sung and actions perfonned center around child bearing. In tlIe most commonly perfonned action initiates walked with their heads bowed, arms folded over breasts and sitting in a squatting position. Initiates were expected to walk with their heads bowed or else they
would be beaten for failing to do so (Blacking, 1969). Since they were imitating a fetus which cannot look around and see its surrounding, the initiates had to be forbidden from looking around. They folded their arms in front to hide their breasts presumably because as young children they were expected not to have breasts. When stopping for a rest, they either knelt down or sat squatting and botlI positions are similar to that of a fetus and therefore the assumption is that these postures symbolized fetal postures. When initiates left
home for their sessions they left fully dressed because it was nonnally just before sunset, with people moving around and about. As soon as darkness fell they were ordered to undress and they remained with panties only (Kollars, 1991; Motlotle, 1998). The clothes were carried by teachers, wrapped in blankets and carried like babies on the back. This manner of carrying clothes was meant to encourage initiates to get married and to have children.
                                                      Tswana woman

Male initiation
The male Mochuana (Becwana tribes) “is warned that sexual intercourse among the uncircumcised has the same connecting effect as when dogs indulge in it- that the internal organs of the woman are drawn out of her and many similar things too disgusting to mention” (Brown, 1921:p421).
A group of boys preparing themselves for initiation was called magwane. Magwane stayed in groups doing daily chores at the cattle posts and fields in tlIe rainy season and in winter they idled around in the village. They often sang intimidating songs and provoked people because in Kgatla custom they could not be taken to court (Roberts & Winter, 1915; Schapera, 1978). They misbehaved mostly at night when it was not easy to be identified or else they would be illtreated when their time for initiation came. Periods of bogwane lasted
as long as three years until the chief and his councilors felt that the boys were strong enough to undergo initiation. Magwane had a ritual of stick fighting where they divided themselves into two teams and fought each other using moret/wa sticks (Schapera, 1918). They had their own style of clotlIing that distinguished them from the rest of tlIe boys. They had head gear from wildebeest (kgokong). A strip of skin was cut from the wildebeast's spine and was tied into a circle to fit an individual's head When they left the vIllage to be
initiated in the bush they left the head gears behind because they were no longer small boys as the gear signified. Magwane also wore leather aprons known as dikola during stick fights. Dikola were normally made from calf skins but could also be decorated with stripes of tshipa skins. From around the 1930s buttons were commonly used to decorate belts worn by magwane.
Once enrolled into an initiation school, magwane were now called magwera. Magwera had a different code of attire. They wore leather underwear known as phuduhudu or moswapo, and leather shawls known as mokoblo. These were made from any animals killed during the ceremony. When returning from the bush they carried ostrich feathers tIedto sticks and these were known as mokoblo. Initially all initiates were given mokobolo butin the later years with an increased population and control of hunting by the Wildlife
Department only senior boys from different wards were given mokobolo. Ifthe group wasled by an heir to the throne, he would wear mokoblo made from a lion skin because it was a fierce animal but less significant than leopard (the chief wore leopard skin). For instance in 1982 Kgafela Kgafela wore mokoblo made from lion's skin. Inthe later years people began to wear short trousers and jerseys during initiation ceremonies. Mokoblo were put over jerseys and rifles became increasingly common. Leather sandals were replaced by
European shoes. Bogwane has long been abandoned and now madi tse a dikgokong are worn by initiated men to decorate themselves.

While in the bush magwera spent their time hunting, singing and doing crafts. Hunting was important for meat and leather for making clothes. Besides meat, participants ate porridge regularly supplied from the village by ox-wagons travelling between camps and Mochudi. The most favorite food appears to have been /ebabe made by frying and grinding sorghum grains. After grinding, a powder of moret/wa was added to sweeten this sorghum powder. Lebabe was made by women in large sacks and was collected by initiation teachers. It did not go bad quickly, and once prepared it could be eaten with water without having to cook again. While in camps, initiates made wooden utensils like spoons, stools and leather strap chairs. Those interested in leather products engaged in softening and cutting leather from hunted animals. Initiates camped at different places in the bush and each mephato chose its own camping area. This was determined by the availability of water and wild animals. In some camps they stayed for a single night while in some they stayed for over a week depending on water sources available.

                              Tswana people


Adornment (beads, feathers, lip plates, etc.): 
Women of different statues wear beads. There are few specialized arts. Beadwork is practiced by some, and children are often adorned (sometimes for protection from malevolent forces) with beads and other decorations. Compounds and houses are often beautifully designed and painted.

Music
The Tswana are known for their performance on such diverse instruments as the kwadi musical bow, the ditlhaka flute, the meropa single-headed conical drum, matlho cocoon shakers, and mapapata animal horn trumpets. On Music of the Tswana People a predominance of present-day marimbas and other percussion instruments backup call-and-response vocal performances. Specifically, the Serankure Music Arts group, which perform over three-quarters of the tracks on the album, tends to make heavy use of these nontraditional xylophone-like instruments. Though it makes for a pleasant melodic base for the group's many songs, it definitely casts a more contemporary pan-African sound. Conversely, the remaining four cuts by the Lotlamoreng Lowe Cultural Group are more traditional. Their version of the healing song "Serangapane" begins with a megolokwane, or ululation, by a youthful singer. The song progresses with more megolokwane, a steady stream of hand clapping, and multiple variations on a repetitive choral refrain. "Serangapane" and the other the cuts by the Lotlamoreng Lowe Cultural Group, are first-rate.

Death and afterlife beliefs:
Death is usually considered to have both natural and supernatural causes. Traditionally, men were buried in their cattle kraals and women in the compounds. Small children were buried under houses. Many people are still buried in this fashion, although cemeteries are increasingly used. Funerals are highly elaborated, expensive, and can last up to a week. Livestock are slaughtered during the funeral to feed guests. Priests and, often, traditional healers preside over funerals, administering rites to the bereaved that are directed toward exorcising thoughts of the dead from the living so that they will not "go mad" from their grief. After death, elders become ancestors (Badimo) .People who die with regrets are believed to become ghosts ( dipoko ); their souls remain in the grave by day but rise at night to haunt the living”.

source:http://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/African%20Journals/pdfs/PULA/pula001002/pula001002003.pdf
        http://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/African%20Journals/pdfs/PULA/pula015001/pula015001011.pdf

                         Faces of Tswana Dancers







http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Jjq1bKcCVfU/UIvIiDmDMCI/AAAAAAAAAEM/aQH7aexWE7g/s1600/Dancing+1.jpg




                             Tswana girl performing dance to welcome the Obamas

















48 comments:

  1. Halala Batswana halala.... Matthews Mooketsane Bantsijang

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THE TRUTH ABOUT BOGOSI BA BAROLONG BO RRA TSHIDI by MATTHEWS BANTSIJANG
      (Who succeeded Kgosi Kebalepile Montshioa **** )

      History
      - Kgosi BESELE I 1896/1903, married and had issue. He died 1903.
      - Kgosi Lewanika Montshiwa
      - Kgosi BADIRILE 1903/1911, died 1911
      - Kgosi LEKOKO MARUMULWA 1911/1915
      - Kgosi JOSHUA MOLEMA 1915/1917
      - Kgosi BAKOLOPANG 1917/1919, died 1919
      - Kgosikgolo LOTLAAMORENG I 1919/1954, married and had issue.
      - Kgosikgolo KEBALEPILE (qv)
      - Kgosikgolo BESELE II (qv)
      - Kgosi TIEGO TAWANA 1954/-
      - Kgosikgolo KEBALEPILE [Kebalepile Montshioa] -/1971, married (amongst others) Kgosigadi Neonyana, and had issue. He died 1971.
      *****
      - Kgosi Setumo Stephen Montshiwa -/2000, Paramount Chief of the baRolong booRatshidi in South Africa, married and had issue. He died 2nd July 2000 in Victoria Hospital, Mafikeng, aged 45, buried 7th July 2000 in Mmabatho Cemetary.
      - Kgosi Ratshidi Montshiwa in waiting and caretaker Paramount Chief Kgosi Othusitse Motshegare - sadly passed away.
      - Kgosi Jeff Kgotleng Montshiwa 2000/-, installed as Paramount Chief of the baRolong booRatshidi in South Africa, on 25th April 2001, confirmed as rightful heir of the baRaolong booRatshidi by a Mafikeng High Court judgement on 6th February 2003.
      *****
      Matthews Mooketsane Bantsijang was then young community activist and General Secretary of Barolong Bo Rra Tshidi Youth Forum from 2000-2003 mainly to assist in determining the rightful Chief. The Chairperson was Kgosi Motshegare, the son of the late Kgosi Othusistse Motshegare. Other members included Oarabile Podile and Tshepo Justice Makolomakwa. The forum was later dessolved after the court decision.

      Delete
    2. THE TRUTH ABOUT BOGOSI BA BAROLONG BO RRA TSHIDI by MATTHEWS BANTSIJANG
      (Who succeeded Kgosi Kebalepile Montshioa **** )

      History
      - Kgosi BESELE I 1896/1903, married and had issue. He died 1903.
      - Kgosi Lewanika Montshiwa
      - Kgosi BADIRILE 1903/1911, died 1911
      - Kgosi LEKOKO MARUMULWA 1911/1915
      - Kgosi JOSHUA MOLEMA 1915/1917
      - Kgosi BAKOLOPANG 1917/1919, died 1919
      - Kgosikgolo LOTLAAMORENG I 1919/1954, married and had issue.
      - Kgosikgolo KEBALEPILE (qv)
      - Kgosikgolo BESELE II (qv)
      - Kgosi TIEGO TAWANA 1954/-
      - Kgosikgolo KEBALEPILE [Kebalepile Montshioa] -/1971, married (amongst others) Kgosigadi Neonyana, and had issue. He died 1971.
      *****
      - Kgosi Setumo Stephen Montshiwa -/2000, Paramount Chief of the baRolong booRatshidi in South Africa, married and had issue. He died 2nd July 2000 in Victoria Hospital, Mafikeng, aged 45, buried 7th July 2000 in Mmabatho Cemetary.
      - Kgosi Ratshidi Montshiwa in waiting and caretaker Paramount Chief Kgosi Othusitse Motshegare - sadly passed away.
      - Kgosi Jeff Kgotleng Montshiwa 2000/-, installed as Paramount Chief of the baRolong booRatshidi in South Africa, on 25th April 2001, confirmed as rightful heir of the baRaolong booRatshidi by a Mafikeng High Court judgement on 6th February 2003.
      *****
      Matthews Bantsijang was then young community activist and General Secretary of Barolong Bo Rra Tshidi Youth Forum from 2000-2003 mainly to assist in determining the rightful Chief. The Chairperson was Kgosi Phenyo Motshegare, the son of the late Kgosi Othusistse Motshegare. Other members included Oarabile Podile and Tshepo Justice Makolomakwa. The forum was later dessolved after the court decision.

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  2. This was very enlightening. Thank you author. Ke leboga go menagane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL PRESENTATION.
      I would however appreciate if the author could acknowledge the true cultural identity of the diverse population that is in this reasearch. They are wrongly labelled. WE have Xhosa, Bakgatla-Ba- Kgafela, Balete, Basarwa, Swati, Tsonga or Bavenda etc
      WE are a Multicultural nation and lets respect all of us in our own right

      Delete
  3. There is misrepresentation in this article. It is sad to see some people be happy about things that are lies. There is no saying that "Ngwana wa rrangwane nnyale dikgomo diboele sakeng". The flaws are why should it be only ngwana wa ga rrangwane not ngwana wa rramogolo, mmamogolo or mmangwane. The saying is ngwana wa malome nyale. The family dynamics of Setswana are different from European. Paternal aunt and maternal uncle's children are those who look at as potential spouse and the reverse are brothers and sisters. Some of the picture shows Swazis, Vendas and Tsongas as Batswana, and any Motswana worth of pinch of salt will know that this bring the whole thing into disrepute. The clothing there in some of the picture shows that this was hush hush job. The article is informative but there are things to be correct here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there Mmina, I know it's been quite some time since you've posted on here, but I'm looking for somebody to help me find some informative yet accurate knowledge about the BaTswana people... Would you be able to help me with some brief questions? if you could, please email me.
      Roscoh.designs@gmail.com

      Delete
  4. I totally agree with MminaTholo, a lot of pictures here show people dressed in non Tswana attire as Batswana and that is misleading especially to people who clearly have no clue what we are all about. We are sending a message that more than half the tribes in South Africa are also Tswana which is not true. Proper research should have been done and proper pictures been used. It would be good if the author could edit and find appropriate pictures and stop showing Venda, Tsonga, Zulu or Xhosa attires/people as Tswana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with Yo Karabo some corrections needs to be done here before some of Us gets lost.

      Delete
  5. Thank you so much for sharing your views as well. I hope the authour took note of this even though it does not appear so.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I loved the document, not very sure of the history stated therein but I'm sure I can trust the author. I am however, not impressed with some of the photos tribes there indicated as Batswana people. Well maybe that comes from the proud Motswana that I am. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  7. RICH CULTURAL ENLIGHTENMENT MOST APPRECITED BY A PROUD MOTSWANA GENT.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hugely admirable effort. Please check the existence of a Tswana Kingdom around the Middle of the Stone Age to the Iron Age at the Meville Koppies in Johannesburg. Please Google Melville Ancient History by Professor Mason of the Witwatersrand University. A Tswana civilization existed long before the visit by Jan van Reebeck. So did the Kingdom of Mapungubwe in northern Limpopo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is very interesting, have you made more research on it?

      Delete
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  11. Could this be true?? ((Although the direction from which the Sotho and other Bantu-speakers came is readily accepted by all writers, there must be considerable reservation about locating the place of origin of these groups in either Egypt or Ethiopia.))

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  13. The ladies in your photo you wrongly said are the Batswana, wearing their Traditionally dresses are the Batsonga..... Not Batswana... Where the subheading you wrote "Tswana Wedding Dance".. That is not correct... Those are the Women of the the Batsonga Nation...

    ReplyDelete
  14. John Makhene Is Correct and I have made a serious research on what he is pointing out to, about the Batswana and Mapungubwe... And Van Riebeck and his crew are just serious late-comers to the Country we call Mzantsi(South Africa) today... The Batswana, Bapedi, Vendas(Partly the Shonas of Zimbabwe) resided together at the confluence of the Limpopo.. Long even before the Kingdom of Monomotapa.. Nuff Said.. I concur with Makhene's assertions above, fully..

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  20. Hello Everybody, My name is.Mrs.Juliet Quin. I live in Canada and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of $ 73,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of $ 73,000.00 Canada Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs.Juliet Quin that refer you to him. Contact Dr Purva Pius via email: reply to email (urgentloan22@gmail.com)

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  21. My Brothers and Sister all over the world, I am Mrs Boo Wheat from Canada ; i was in need of loan some month ago. i needed a loan to open my restaurant and bar, when one of my long time business partner introduce me to this good and trustful loan lender DR PURVA PIUS that help me out with a loan, and is interest rate is very low , thank God today. I am now a successful business man, and I became useful. In the life of others, I now hold a restaurant and bar. And about 30 workers, thank GOD for my life I am leaving well today a happy father with three kids, thanks to you DR PURVA PIUS Now I can take care of my lovely family, i can now pay my bill. I am now the bread winner of my family. If you are look for a trustful and reliable loan leader. You can Email him via,mail (urgentloan22@gmail.com) Please tell him Mrs Boo Wheat from Canada introduce you to him. THANKS

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  22. We offer private loans, commercial Business and Personal loan, with a minimum annual interest rate of 3% for the period from 1 year to 15 years of maturity anywhere in the world. We give out loans ranging from $ 10,000 to $ 100,000,000 dollars in euros or sterling. Our loans are well insured for maximum security. interested persons reply to email (urgentloan22@gmail.com)

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  23. Do you need a loan to consolidate your debt? Are you in need of a loan
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    fifty years maximum with 3% interest. You are 100% Guaranteed.
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    BORROWERS APPLICATION DETAILS:
    Full Name:________________________
    Country:_________________________
    State:__________________________
    Sex:____________________________
    Date of Birth:______________________
    Home Address:______________________
    Amount Needed:______________________
    Loan Duration:_______________________
    Cell Phone:_________________________
    Monthly income:____________________
    Purpose for Loan:___________________
    Occupation:_________________________

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  25. Hello Everybody,
    My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:(urgentloan22@gmail.com) 008376918351 Thank you.

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  27. Hello Everybody,
    My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in Singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:(urgentloan22@gmail.com) Thank you.

    BORROWERS APPLICATION DETAILS


    1. Name Of Applicant in Full:……..
    2. Telephone Numbers:……….
    3. Address and Location:…….
    4. Amount in request………..
    5. Repayment Period:………..
    6. Purpose Of Loan………….
    7. country…………………
    8. phone…………………..
    9. occupation………………
    10.age/sex…………………
    11.Monthly Income…………..
    12.Email……………..

    Regards.
    Managements
    Email Kindly Contact: urgentloan22@gmail.com

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