Xhosa: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Xhosa
Nelson Mandela.jpg Miriam Makeba.jpg SthAfrica.ThaboMbeki.01.jpgArchbishop-Tutu-medium.jpg
Notable Xhosa: Nelson Mandela, Miriam Makeba, Thabo Mbeki, Desmond Tutu
Total population
7.9 million (2001 estimate)
Regions with significant populations
Eastern Cape: 5.4 million

Western Cape: 1.1 million
Gauteng: 0.7 million
Free State: 0.25 million
Kwazulu-Natal: 0.22 million
(2001 estimates1)

Languages

Xhosa (many also speak Zulu, English, or Afrikaans)

Religion

African Traditional Religion, Christianity

Related ethnic groups

Nguni, Basotho, Zulu, Khoisan

 person  umXhosa
 people  amaXhosa
 language  isiXhosa

The Xhosa (pronounced [ǁʰɔsɑ] ( listen))) people are speakers of Bantu languages living in south-east South Africa, and in the last two centuries throughout the southern and central-southern parts of the country.

Xhosa-speaking peoples are divided into several subgroups with related but distinct heritages. The main subgroups are the Bhaca, Bomvana, Mfengu, Mpondo, Mpondomise, Xesibe, and Thembu[1]. The name "Xhosa" comes from that of a legendary leader called uXhosa. There is also a theory that the word xhosa derives from a word in some Khoi-khoi or San language meaning "fierce" or "angry", the amaXhosa being the fierce people. The Xhosa refer to themselves as the amaXhosa and to their language as isiXhosa.

Presently approximately 8 million Xhosa people are distributed across the country, and Xhosa is South Africa's second most common home language, after Zulu, to which Xhosa is closely related. The pre-1994 apartheid system of bantustans denied Xhosas South African citizenship and attempted to confine them to the nominally self-governing "homelands" of Transkei and Ciskei, now both a part of the Eastern Cape Province where most Xhosa remain. Many Xhosa live in Cape Town (iKapa in Xhosa), East London (iMonti), and Port Elizabeth (iBhayi).

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)[2].

Contents

History

The Xhosa are part of the South African Nguni migration which slowly moved south from the region around the Great Lakes. Xhosa peoples were well established by the time of the Dutch arrival in the mid-1600s, and occupied much of eastern South Africa from the Fish River to land inhabited by Zulu-speakers south of the modern city of Durban[1].

The Xhosa and white settlers first encountered one another around Somerset East in the early 1700s. In the late 1700s Afrikaner trekboers migrating outwards from Cape Town came into conflict with Xhosa pastoralists around the Great Fish River region of the Eastern Cape. Following more than 20 years of intermittent conflict, from 1811 to 1812 the Xhosas were forced east by British colonial forces in the Third Frontier War.

In the years following, many Xhosa-speaking clans were pushed west by expansion of the Zulus, as the northern Nguni put pressure on the southern Nguni as part of the historical process known as the mfecane, or "scattering". Xhosa unity and ability to resist colonial expansion was further weakened by the famines and political divisions that followed the cattle-killing movement of 1856. Historians now view this movement as a millenialist response both directly to a lung disease spreading among Xhosa cattle at the time, and less directly to the stress to Xhosa society caused by the continuing loss of their territory and autonomy.

Some historians argue that this early absorption into the wage economy is the ultimate origin of the long history of trade union membership and political leadership among Xhosa people. That history manifests itself today in high degrees of Xhosa representation in the leadership of the African National Congress, South Africa's ruling political party.

Language

Xhosa is an agglutinative tonal language of the Bantu family. While the Xhosas call their language "isiXhosa," it is usually refered to as "Xhosa" in English. Written Xhosa uses a Latin alphabet-based system. Xhosa is spoken by about 18% of the South African population, and has some mutual intelligibility with Zulu. Many Xhosa speakers, particularly those living in urban areas, also speak Zulu and/or Afrikaans and/or English.

Among its features, the Xhosa language famously has fifteen click sounds, originally borrowed from now extinct Khoisan languages of the region. Xhosa has three basic click consonants: a dental click, written with the letter "c"; a palatal click, written with the letter "q"; and a lateral click, written with the letter "x." There is also a simple inventory of five vowels (a, e, i, o, u).

Folklore and religion

Traditional Xhosa culture includes diviners known as amagqirha, who serve as herbalists, prophets, and healers for the community. This job is mostly taken by women, who spend five years in apprenticeship.

The Xhosas have a strong oral tradition with many stories of ancestral heroes; according to tradition, the leader from whose name the Xhosa people take their name was the first human on Earth. Other traditions have it that all Xhosas are descended from one ancestor named Tshawe[1].

The key figure in the Xhosa oral tradition is the imbongi (plural: iimbongi) or praise singer. Iimbongi traditionally live close to the chief's "great place" (the cultural and political focus of his activity); they accompany the chief on important occasions - the imbongi Zolani Mkiva preceded Nelson Mandela at his Presidential inauguration in 1994. Iimbongis' poetry, called imibongo, praises the actions and adventures of chiefs and ancestors [1].

The supreme being is called uThixo or uQamata. Ancestors act as intermediaries and play a part in the lives of the living; they are honoured in rituals. Dreams play an important role in divination and contact with ancestors. Traditional religious practice features rituals, initiations, and feasts. Modern rituals typically pertain to matters of illness and psychological well-being.

Christian missionaries established outposts among the Xhosa in the 1820s, and the first Bible translation was in the mid-1850s, partially done by Henry Hare Dugmore. Xhosa did not convert in great numbers until the 1900s, but now many are Christian, particularly within the African Initiated Churches such as the Zion Christian Church. Some denominations combine Christianity with traditional beliefs.

Advertisements

Rites of passage

One traditional ritual that is still regularly practiced is the manhood ritual, a secret rite that marks the transition from boyhood to adulthood (Ulwaluko). After ritual circumcision the initiates (abakwetha) live in isolation for up to several weeks, often in the mountains. During the process of healing they smear white clay on their bodies and observe numerous taboos.

In modern times the practice has caused controversy, with over 300 circumcision- and initiation-related deaths since 1994, and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV via the practice of circumcising initiates with the same blade[3]. In March 2007 a controversial mini-series dealing with Xhosa circumcision and initiation rites debuted on SABC. Titled Umthunzi Wentaba, the series was taken off the air after complaints by traditional leaders that the rites are secret and not to be revealed to non-initiates and women[4].

Girls are also initiated into womanhood (Intonjane). They too are secluded, though for a shorter period. Female initiates are not circumcised[1].

Other rites include the seclusion of mothers for ten days after giving birth, and the burial of the afterbirth and umbilical cord near the village. This is reflected in the traditional greeting Inkaba yakho iphi?, literally "Where is Your Navel?" The answer "tells someone where you live, what your clan affiliation is, and what your social status is and contains a wealth of cultural information. Most importantly, it determines where you belong"[5].

Traditional diet

The Xhosa settled on mountain slopes of the Amatola and the Winterberg Mountains. Many streams drain into great rivers of this Xhosa territory including the Kei and Fish Rivers. Rich soils and plentiful rainfall make the river basins good for farming and grazing making cattle important and the basis of wealth.

Traditional foods include beef(Inyama yenkomo), mutton(Inyama yegusha), and goat meat, sorghum, maize and umphokoqo (dry maize porridge), "umngqusho" (made from dried, stamped corn and dried beans), milk (often fermented, called "amasi"), pumpkins(amathanga), beans(iimbotyi), and vegetables.

Arts and crafts

Traditional crafts include beadwork, weaving, and pottery.

Traditional music features drums, rattles, whistles, flutes, mouth harps, and stringed-instruments and especially group singing accompanied by hand clapping [1]. There are songs for various ritual occasions; one of the best-known Xhosa songs is a wedding song called "Qongqongthwane", performed by Miriam Makeba as "Click Song #1". Besides Makeba, several modern groups record and perform in Xhosa. Missionaries introduced the Xhosa to Western choral singing [1]. "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika", part of the National anthem of South Africa is a Xhosa hymn written in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga.

The first newspapers, novels, and plays in Xhosa appeared in the nineteenth century [1], and Xhosa poetry is also gaining renown.

Several films have been shot in the Xhosa language. U-Carmen eKhayelitsha is a modern remake of Bizet's 1875 opera Carmen. It is shot entirely in Xhosa, and combines music from the original opera with traditional African music. It takes place in the Cape Town township of Khayelitsha.

Xhosas in modern society

Xhosa people currently make up approximately 18% of the South African population. While there have been many improvements in Xhosa people's lives since the abolition of apartheid, many of the effects of the policy remain.

There are high rates of poverty among Xhosas; Xhosa people make up some of the poorest of South Africans, but a minority of Xhosas are among the wealthiest [1].

Under apartheid, adult literacy rates were as low as 30% [1], and in 1996 studies estimated the literacy level of first-language Xhosa speakers at approximately 50% [6]. There have been advances in since then, however. For example, most of the students at the University of Fort Hare are Xhosa.

Education in primary-schools serving Xhosa-speaking communities is in the Xhosa language, but this is replaced by English after the early primary grades. Xhosa is still considered as a studied subject, however, and it is possible to major in Xhosa at the university level.

Many rural Xhosa now have the choice of migrating to cities in search of employment, whereas under apartheid it was only possible for Xhosa men to seek employment in the mining industry as so-called migrant labourers.

Xhosas in popular culture

The Xhosa, named after the Xhosa people, is the name of the fictional freighter commanded by Kasidy Yates in the science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.[7] In the Classic BattleTech sci-Fi universe, there is a fictional planetary system named Xhosa, containing the inhabited planet Xhosa VII.

Notable Xhosa

References

Note that the figure mentioned on this page is based upon the number of people speaking Xhosa as their home language, which may be greater or less than the total number of people claiming Xhosa descent. In addition, several million people in the Johannesburg-Soweto region speak Xhosa or Zulu as a second or third language. For a majority of these, the two languages become difficult to distinguish (unsurprising given the extreme closeness of their linguistic relationship).
  • Reader, J., 1997. Africa: A Biography of the Continent, Vintage Books, New York, NY, United States of America.
  • Kaschula, Russell The Heritage Library of African People: Xhosa, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 1997.

External links

Xhosa edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Xhosa phrasebook article)

From Wikitravel

Xhosa is a language of South Africa.

like a in hard
like e in red
like ee in seen
like a in all
like oo in moon
d, f, h, j, l, m, n 
Pronounced as in English
s, sh, v, w, y, z 
Pronounced as in English
dl 
Similar in sound to hl (see below)
always like g in go
hl 
Place your tongue to the side of your mouth and expel the air (like Welsh ll sound)
ts 
A hissing sound made by placing your tongue just above your teeth and ejecting air.
tsh 
similar to dge in judge
ty 
similar to dge in judge
pronounced like "ch" in Reich
Place your tongue at the back of the teeth and suck in, like when expressing annoyance.
Place your tongue on the roof of the mouth and suck in, like imitating a clock's ticking.
Place your tongue on your upper right jaw and pull it down, as if urging on a horse.
Hello. 
. ('Molo' )
Hello. (informal
. ( )
How are you? 
Unjani?
Fine, thank you. 
Ndiyaphila.
And how are you? 
Wena unjani?
What is your name? 
Ngubani igama lakho?
My name is ______ . 
Igama lam ngu ______ .
Nice to meet you. 
Ndiyavuya ukukwazi.
Please. 
Ndicela. ('Ndiyacela' )
Thank you. 
Enkosi. or ('Ndiyabulela')
You're welcome. 
. ('wamkelekile' )
Yes. 
Ewe.
No. 
Hayi.
Excuse me. (getting attention
. ('ndicela uxolo ) or ('uxolo )
Excuse me. (begging pardon
Uxolo andivanga.
I'm sorry. 
. ('ndixolele' )
Goodbye 
Uhambe/Usale kakuhle.
Goodbye (informal
. ( )
I can't speak Xhosa. 
Andisithethi isiXhosa.
Do you speak English? 
Uyasithetha isingesi na?
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
 ? ('Ukhona apha umntu othetha isiNgesi' ?)
Good morning. 
Molo.
Good evening. 
. ('Molo' )
Good night. 
Ulale kakuhle.
Good night (to sleep
. ( )
I don't understand. 
Andiqondi.
I don't know. 
Andazi.
Where is the toilet? 
 ? ('Iphi indlu yangasese' ?)
My ... have been stolen. 
I ... yam intshontshiwe. or ('I ... yam ibiwe' )
I've lost my ... 
Ndilahlekelwe yi ...
handbag 
isingxobo or ibhegi
passport 
pasipoti ('incwadi yokundwendwela' )
luggage 
mpahla
wallet 
spaji
unothi
-nye
-mbini
-ntathu
-ne
hlanu
-thandathu
-sixhenxe
-sibhozo
-sithoba
10 
-shumi
English expressions for telling the time are commonly used by Xhosa speakers

Duration

in the morning 
kusasa
during the day 
emini
in the evening 
ngokuhlwa
in the afternoon
emvakwemini
at night 
ebusuku
yesterday 
izolo
today 
namhlanje
tomorrow 
ngomso

Days

Sunday 
iCawe
Monday 
uMvulo
Tuesday 
uLwesibini
Wednesday 
uLwesithathu
Thursday 
uLwesine
Friday 
uLweshlanu
Saturday 
uMgqibelo

Months

January  
uMdumba
February 
uMthupha
March 
ukwindla
April 
uThazimpunzi
May 
uCanzibe
June 
uSilimela
July 
uNtulikazi
August 
eyeKhala
September 
eyoMsintsi
October 
eyeDwarha
November 
eyeNkanga
December 
eyoMnga
black 
mnyama
blue 
luhlaza
brown 
ntsundu
green 
luhlaza
orange 
orenji
red 
bomvu
white 
mhlophe
yellow 
mthubi

Transportation

Bus and train

Directions

Taxi

How much is it to...? 
Yimalini ukuya e...? ( !)
Take me to this address. 
Ndise kule dilesi.
Please stop here 
Yima apha
I need a room 
Ndifuna igumbi
One room 
Igumbi elinye
Two rooms 
Amagumbi amabini
Single room 
Igumbi lomntu omnye
Double room 
Igumbi labantu ababini
Per person 
Umntu emnye
Bed and Breakfast 
A meal 
Isidlo
Beaverages or Drinks 
Isiselo
Supper 
Isidlo sangokuhlwa
Lunch 
Isidlo sasemini
Dinner 
Isidlo sasemvakwemini
Kitchen 
Igumbi lokuphekela ('Ekhitshini')
Sharing 
Kunye ('ukwabelana')?
Money 
Imali
In cash 
eziinkozo
Cheque 
itsheke ?
Postal order 
Coins 
imali eziinkozo
Notes 
imali engamaphepa
Expensive 
ixabisa kakhulu or iyabiza
Turn
jika
Left
ekhohlo
Right
ekunene
Stop
('stop the car' ): misa or ('yima')
Go
hamba
Forward
phambili
Go forward
bheka phambili
Straight ahead
phambili
Gravel road
indlela yomhlaba
Help! 
Nceda!
Look out! 
Qaphela!
Call the police! 
Biza amapolisa!
Get a doctor! 
Biza ugqirha!
Go away! 
Hamba
I'm ill. 
Ndiyagula.
I'm lost. 
Ndilahlekile.
Leave me alone! 
Ndiyeke!
Stop thief! 
Yima sela!
Telephone 
Umnxeba
Telegram 
Ucingo
Mobile or Cellphone 
('makhal'ekhukhwini'? / 'nomyayi'? / 'umnxeba wasesinqeni'?)
Make a call 
tsala umnxeba
Give So&So a call 
tsalela u So&So umnxeba
Mail 
Iposi
By post : ngeposi
Fast mail 
iposi engxamisekileyo
This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Pronunciation

  • Native
    IPA: /ˈkǁʰoːsa/
  • Anglicized
    IPA: /ko'sɑ/

Proper noun

Wikipedia-logo.png
Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Singular
Xhosa

Plural
-

Xhosa

  1. a Bantu people from South Africa, most of whom live in the Eastern Cape
  2. the language of these people; related to Zulu

Translations

See also

External links


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message