Venda Tribe in South Africa



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Origin Similar to most tribes in South Africa, the Venda people moved there from Central Africa. They are among the last black community to cross the Limpopo River and settle in the Soutpansberg Mount

Venda Tribe in South Africa Description

Origin

Similar to most tribes in South Africa, the Venda people moved there from Central Africa. They are among the last black community to cross the Limpopo River and settle in the Soutpansberg Mountains of the Limpopo Province. They are not very populous but they have a rich cultural heritage. The Venda culture is closely associated with the spirit world. They express their beliefs and customs through art decoration on their structures, pottery and woodcarving.

Culture and their life

Trade, warfare and intermarriage with Tsonga, Lobedu, Zulu, Swazi and other people, have also left their imprints on Venda culture. The Venda were a protective people, many of whom still practiced polygamy and worshipped their families’ ancestors. Members of the different clans could, and did, live in any of the tribal territories, because the tribe was purely a political and territorial unit, consisting of people who chose to owe allegiance to a particular dynasty. It was quite common to find a ruler attracting members of his own clan after his accession. There was no paramount chief each tribe was ruled by an independent chief, who had under him headmen, responsible for the government of districts within the tribal territory.

Their Belief based on their origin

The Venda culture is built on a vibrant mythical belief system, which is reflected in their artistic style. Water is an important theme to the Venda and there are many sacred sites within their region where the Venda conjure up their ancestral spirits. They believe zwidutwane, (water spirits), live at the bottom of waterfalls. These beings are only half-visible; they only have one eye, one leg, and one arm. One half can be seen in this world and the other half in the spirit world. The Venda would take offerings of food to them because the zwidutwane cannot grow things underwater.

The Venda people have a very special relationship with Crocodiles. The area where they live is filled with these dangerous reptiles. The Venda believe that the brain of the Crocodile is very poisonous, therefore they are given right of way by the Venda who do not even hunt them for food.

Location and Size

Venda is also known as Luvenda or Tshivenda, and originated from the Bantu language. Interestingly, it is also related to Niger and Congo languages. It is one of the 11 official South African languages. Well over 650 000 of Tshivenda speakers live in the northern parts of South Africa’s Limpopo Province. Those that speak Tshivenda have a royal family line, and adhere to strict traditions that relate to this connection.


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