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The amaXhosa (Xhosa people) are an African ethnic group of about seven million people who live mainly in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape in South Africa. The name derives from a tribal leader called uXhosa, from whom the Xhosa clan descend.

There is also a theory that the word xhosa derives from a word in some Khoi-khoi or San language meaning “fierce” or “angry”, the amaXhosa being the fierce people. The Xhosa refer to themselves as the amaXhosa and to their language as isiXhosa

 

The amaXhosa had extensive contact with Europeans by the early 19th century, generally welcoming missionaries and educators into their territory.The Xhosa even distinguished between “school people,” who had accepted Western innovation, and “red people” or “red blankets” who were identified by the traditional red ochre used to dye clothing and to decorate the body.

isiXhosa , the language of the amaXhosa, is a Bantu language and part of the Nguni subgroup of languages. It became one of South Africa’s 11 official languages in 1994 at the end of apartheid.

 

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*Play Of The Day –Amaxhosa ‘ Wadidiyela Unonkala’

Xhosa vocal, produced by M. Mtalana. Thuthuka Records, South Africa 1982

 

 


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