The Tswana Tribe

The Tswana Tribe and their culture

The Tswana are also called Mostwana as singular or Batswana when it is plural are an indigenous tribe in the Southern region of Africa. With presence in several countries, the Tswana comprises of several groups and they were numbered at about eight million strong as at the turn of the 21st century. Historically, the Tswana people have lived on the western part of Soweto and this is where their name comes from. Originally, the Batswana were people who spoke the Setswana language, the merger of the language and the people gave the literal meaning separatists or the people who cannot hold together.  The name stuck since.

In the nation of Botswana, the tribe is considered a majority with eight tribes speaking the language of the Tswana. The Tswana people are noted for their ability to absorb in new groups of people, they can easily bring in strangers to become a part of them. One would think this action would weaken their cultural institutions, rather it has helped to diversify it. The Tswana people have a very rich culture that is not so different from other Southern African tribes. The fact that it has also absorb in several of these tribes into itself is also evident. Some of the culture include:

The Tswana people strongly artistic people, there are people within the Tswana community who specialize in the arts. Wood carving, basket weaving and intricate paintings. Houses in Tswana settlements are often well decorated and artfully painted. It is not so surprising to find out that the first work of pottery in the south of Africa is associated with the Tswana people.

The Tswana people have a very interesting belief system as evidenced in the traditional cult and religions. There are several religious rites performed by the Tswana people including the female initiation ceremony, the rain rite and the male initiation ceremony. There are also several Christian sects amidst the Tswana people, the ability to accommodate foreigners gave Christian missionaries leeway amidst the tribespeople.

The Tswana people love to dance, this is both a cultural and pastime activity amidst the people. With several ceremonies seeing dances as a necessary performance, dance is being taught up to college level in Tswana dominated area. Traditionally, the Tswana people wear blankets made of animal skin, with the influx of westernization, the women began to wear skirts and tied clothing materials across the breasts. The men would usually wear skirts too, this covers the tie down but leave the chest uncovered. 

One area that has survived the onslaught of western civilization is the food indigenous to the Tswana people. There are a lot of food that can only be eaten by the Tswana people and that you should try out if you get the chance. From the Phane, a meal of mophane worms to Ting, the sumptuous fermented porridge or Dikgobe which is basically beans and samp cooked in melon.

Enjoy the thrill of the Tswana people with our Safari!

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