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Blacks from South Africa were at times officially called ” Bantu ” by the apartheid regime. The term Bantu is derived from the word for “people” common to many of the Bantu languages. The Expnsao Dictionary of South African English describes its contemporary usage in a racial context as “obsolescent and offensive” because of its strong association with white minority rule and the apartheid system.

However, “Bantu” is used without pejorative connotations in other parts of Africa.

Bantu peoples in South Africa

At some stage after tertiary dispersal period a settlement at Great Zimbabwe was established as the capital of a trading empire. Around this time there is evidence of coastal trading with Arabs, with the South East Asian region, bbantu even with China.

As the southern groups of Exppansao speakers migrated southwards two main groups emerged, the Nguni XhosaZuluNdebeleand Swaziwho occupied the eastern coastal plains, and the Sotho—Tswanawho lived on the interior plateau.

The two language groups have diverged and differ on certain key aspects especially in the sound systems. When the early Portuguese sailors cf. The predominant indigenous population around the Cape was made up of Khoisan peoples. Following the establishment of the Dutch Cape ColonyEuropean settlers began arriving in Southern Africa in substantial numbers.

Around Trekboers from the Cape encountered Bantu speakers around the Great Fish River and frictions arose between the two groups. From the late 18th and early 19th centuries, there were two major areas of frictional contact between the white settlers and the Bantu speakers in Southern Africa. Firstly, as the Boers moved north inland from the Cape they encountered the Xhosa, the Basotho, and the Tswana.

At the time KwaZulu-Natal was populated by dozens of small Zulu-speaking clans. In Shaka acceded to the Zulu throne at that stage the Zulu were merely bantj of the many clans. Within a relatively short period of time he had conquered his neighboring clans and had forged the Zulu into the most important ally of the large Mthethwa clan, which was in competition with the Ndwandwe clan for domination of the northern part of modern-day KwaZulu-Natal.

By many accounts Shaka used ruthless military force against his opponents, often adopting a scorched earth policy to destroy or displace civilian populations.

After the death of the Mthethwa king Dingiswayo aroundat the hands of Zwidethe king of the Ndwandwe, Shaka assumed leadership of the entire Mthethwa alliance. The alliance under his leadership survived Zwide’s first assault at the Battle of Expznsao Hill. Within two years he had defeated Zwide expansaoo the Battle of Mhlatuze River and broken up the Ndwandwe alliance, some of whom in turn began a murderous campaign against other Nguni communities, setting in motion what has come to be known as Mfecanea mass migration of communities fleeing the Zulu.


By he had conquered a huge empire covering a vast area from the sea in the east to the Drakensberg mountains in the west, and from the Pongola River in the north to the Bashee river in the south, not far from the modern day town of Banut London.

Shaka is well known for the many military, social, cultural and political reforms he used to create his highly organized and centralised Expansso state. The most important of these were the transformation of the army, thanks to innovative tactics and weapons he conceived, and a showdown with the spiritual leadership, limiting the power of traditional healers, and effectively ensuring the subservience of the Zulu church to the state.

Whereas previous battles had been limited to relatively expnsao encounters, Shaka introduced the more deadly stabbing spear to replace the throwing spear, military encirclement to replace allowed retreat of the enemy, and the total destruction of lands to remove any means of sustenance for the enemy. Shaka integrated defeated clans into the Zulu, on a basis of full equality, with promotions in the army and civil service being a matter of merit rather than circumstance of birth.

Until very recently, Bantu-speaking communities were often divided into different clansnot around national federations expaneao, but independent groups from some hundreds to thousands of individuals.

The smallest unit of the political organizational structure was the householdor kraalconsisting of a man, woman or women, and their children, as well as other relatives living in the same household.

The man was the head of the household and often had many wives, and was the family’s primary representative. The household and close relations generally played an important role. Households which lived in the same valley or on the same hill in a village were also an organizational unit, managed by a sub-chief. Chiefdom-ship was largely hereditaryalthough chiefs were often replaced when not effective.

In most clans the eldest son inherited the office of his father. In some clans the office was left to the oldest brother of the deceased chief, and after his death again the next oldest brother. This repeated until the last brother died. Next was the eldest son of the original chieftain; then the oldest one of the brothers as the leader.

The chief was surrounded with a number of trusted friends or advisors, usually relatives like uncles and brothers, rather than influential headmen or personal friends. The degree of the democracy depended on the strength of the chieftain.

The more powerful and more influential a chieftain was, the lesser the influence of his people.

Although the leader had much power, he was not above the law. He could be criticized both by advisors as well as by his people, and compensation could be demanded. The people were divided into different clans expanwao tribes which had their own functions, laws, and language. South Africa’s Bantu-speaking expanaao are roughly classified into four main groups: These are divided as follows this list is not exhaustive:. Common among the two powerful divisions of the Nguni and the Sotho—Tswana are patrilineal societies, in which the leaders formed the socio-political units.


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Similarly, food acquisition was by cultivation and hunting. The most important differences are the strongly deviating languages, although both are Southern Bantu languagesand the different settlement types and relationships. In the Nguni settlements villages were banhu scattered, whereas the Sotho—Tswana settled in towns. Traditionally, Bantu speakers were not territorially minded like the Europeans, but rather group-related.

As long as sufficient land was available, they had only very vague conceptions of borders. Borders were natural features such as rivers or mountains, which were not by any means fixed.

Their food acquisition was primarily limited to agriculture and hunting ; generally the women were responsible for agriculture and the men drew for the hunt. Except with the Tsonga and partially the Mpondofishing was of surprisingly little importance. The diet consisted of corn introduced eexpansao South-East Asiameat mostly wild game, boar, and beefvegetables, milkwater and grain beer.

ezpansao There were a number of taboos regarding the consumption of meat. No meat of dogsapescrocodiles or expznsao could be eaten. Likewise taboo was the meat of some birdslike owlscrows and vulturesas well as the flesh of certain totem animals. Traditionally, communities live in two different types of houses. The Nguni use the beehive housea circular structure out of long poles, which is covered with grass.

Lwanga-Lunyiigo, Samwiri

A cylindrical wall is formed out of vertical batnu, which is sealed with mud and cow dung. The roof is built from tied-together poles. The floor of both types is compressed earth. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification.

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