Gaborone – Indigenous people share a significant number of cultural practices, beliefs, and traditions. The Tswana, Botswana’s dominant indigenous group, is no different.
The Tswana are a Bantu-speaking people who have become not only one of the larger Sotho people in the north of Nguni but also a great presence in Botswana and South Africa. Their traditional celebrations, gatherings, and cultural observations have been passed on from generation to generation.
Who belongs in the Tswana community?
The Tswana community is one of the major indigenous groups among the Black South Africans of Sotho-Tswana, Shangaan-Tsonga, Nguni, and the Venda. Many indigenous Tswana communities are located in the south-central region of Africa.
The location of the communities influenced their traditional lifestyle. With many Tswana living in grasslands, the people are considered experts in agriculture as well as animal husbandry.
Aside from their known residence and ethnic connection, the Tswana belong under the primary Sotho groups known as West Sotho. The other Sotho groups in the region are North Sotho (Pedi) and South Sotho (Basotho and Sotho). Within their ethnic communities, there are various groups, including the Tlokwa, Kgatla, Hurutshe, Kwena, and Tlhaping.
In Botswana, their dominant number paved the way for them to have a considerable influence on the country’s history, culture, and economy. Many of the traditions are shared and appreciated across different indigenous communities.
Language and Culture
The Tswana are friendly people. An interesting practice of theirs is engaging with foreigners through their traditions. Such interactions are usually observed on various occasions and celebrations. Visitors and residents alike may be delighted to witness traditional Tswana dances, be in awe of ceremonies such as weddings, be inspired by the intricate Tswana fabrics, and be curious to learn their Setswana names.
The distinct use of language also binds the Tswana people within and outside their homes. They use the Tswana language, also known as Setswana, which belongs to the Bantu-language family of the Western Sotho group. This language also has various dialects that are still mutually understandable across communities and are thus not a hindrance for them to engage with other groups.
The Tswana people are also famous for being able to adopt strangers into one of their own smoothly. They can communicate and share their cultures with foreigners without compromising any of their institutional and cultural integrity. This kind of engagement is achieved with the help of excellent communication through their language. After all, the Tswana and English languages are the official languages of Botswana.
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