Sotho Tribe in South Africa



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Origin Early Sotho origins and history is largely unknown, but Iron workers, who were probably Sotho-speakers, were at Phalaborwa from the eighth century and at Melville Koppies in the Johannesburg ar

Sotho Tribe in South Africa Description

Origin

Early Sotho origins and history is largely unknown, but Iron workers, who were probably Sotho-speakers, were at Phalaborwa from the eighth century and at Melville Koppies in the Johannesburg area from the eleventh century. Oral tradition has it that the founding lineage knew the art of smelting and ancient ritual dances are associated with it.

Archaeologists have produced indisputable evidence of Sotho-speaking people smelting at widely dispersed places in Gauteng, the North West Province, the Northern Province, and Botswana. The first pottery in South Africa associated with the Sotho is called Icon and dates to between 1300 and 1500. As with the Nguni, anthropological and linguistic data suggest an East African origin for Sotho-Tswana speakers, in this case in what is now Tanzania.

Culture and their life

Sotho traditional music places a strong emphasis on group singing, chanting, and hand clapping as an accompaniment to dance. Instruments used included drums, rattles, whistles, and handmade stringed instruments. One instrument, thelesiba, is made from a pole, a string, and a feather. When it is blown, the feather acts as a reed, producing a deep, resonant sound.

Their Belief based on their origin

Sotho is a blend of past and present, traditional and modern beliefs and practices. While church ceremonies are customary for weddings, the practice of extracting brideswealth from the man’s family continues, making a family of daughters a lucrative situation. In turn, the bride becomes the property of the man, and leaves her family to live with the family of her husband.

The clans of the Sotho are often named for animals such as crocodiles and bears. The line of descendants is through the male, and members of the same clan are allowed to marry relatives as close as cousins.

Location and Size

According to 1995 estimates, there were about 5.6 million people who identified themselves as southern or northern Sotho in South Africa. In Lesotho there were about 1.9 million southern Sotho. The home of most of the southern Sotho is in Lesotho and in South Africa’s Free State Province. There are also many Sotho who live in South Africa’s major cities.


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