Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Molefi Kete Asante
The Xhosa are one of the great people of South Africa. They are concentrated in the southeast part of the country, but are found everywhere in South Africa. A highly mobile people, the Xhosa have a history that dates back to antiquity in the upper reaches of the Great Lakes of Africa. However, over the past 700 years, they have lived in the southern part of Africa, being one of the African people, alongside the San, who have ventured the farthest to the south from the Great North. Like many other African groups, the Xhosa have several clans that speak the same language and trace their origins to the legendary uXhosa. The main clans are Thembu, Xesibe, Bomvana, Bhaca, Mfengu, Mpondo, and Mpondomise. It is believed that the name Xhosa can be translated into the language of the Khoi-Khoi or San to mean “fierce.” This is probably derived from the ...