Friday, April 27, 2012

Xhosa Speaking People of South Africa.

Xhosa lady smoking a traditional pipe (Source)
So, believe it or not, there are some very famous Xhosa people who you know. Nelson Mandela, who needs no introduction, Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu also needs no introduction and then there is President Thabo Mbeki who took over the presidency from Nelson Mandela. All Xhosa speaking people. How about that?
The eastern Cape is the area from which these people come, places like the Trans Kei and the Cis Kei. I used to live here, well in East London and Gonubi on the east coast and absolutely love this area of the country.
The Xhosa people of today pretty much rule South Africa through their majority representation in the African National Congress, the controlling political party.
I like the Xhosa people. They're a fierce people and proud, their artworks are amazing as are their songs. The hymn "Nkosi sikelel' iAfrica", God bless Africa, is world famous and part of the South African national anthem. You may have heard it at the start of the soccer world cup.
Xhosa bead work (Source)
Baskets, beads and beating drums. these are a few of my favorite things. The Xhosa women are so gifted when it comes to crafts. One thing that I always do when visiting my friend Father Octavius at the Cwele Mission near Port Saint Johns in the Transkei is to buy some bead work or a basket or clay bowl. Last time I was there I bought some beads from a couple of ladies on the beachfront, Father Octavius then blessed them and when I got back home I handed them over to a female friend of mine. Don't you think that's so cool?
Anyway, I go to the Transkei, home of the Xhosa people, quite often and to be quite frank have no idea why these people choose to come to Cape Town and live in absolute squalor when they have wonderful homes in the Transkei. They call it "Chasing 150." The minimum wage.
Father Octavius my friend.
The ladies from whom I last bought beads.
I've learned to speak a little of their language and have found that for some strange reason this has earned me quite a bit of respect amongst the chaps I work with. I've also picked up a bit of their sense of humor and am able to get a whole crowd of hard working assistants laughing like crazy. I like these people, as I've already said. Of course most of the words I am able to use are work related like, "Paga Misa," pick it up or "donsa" meaning pull. It's really great fun seeing the surprise on the faces of new people and the camaraderie that develops amongst the crew.
There is a lot more I could tell you about the Xhosa people, they are rich in culture and history and are the new leaders of my country. However because this is just a short post I'm going to end it off with a couple of pictures of their crafts.
hand made walking sticks.
God bless the Xhosa people, they deserve it.
Clay pots for making beer.
Baskets ready for market


  1. The bead work in the photo is fantastic. You are one amazing fellow, Geoff, and this series is very eye-opening for people like me.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  2. Hi Geoff, such an interesting post to read and great pictures. I know so little about Africa that this is a real treat.

    A friend of mine spent some time in Namibia recently and the pictures he took were beautiful.

  3. All this is so totally new---thanks for taking us to Africa with you :)

  4. Cool stuff - and you're linked on Tossing It Out's blogpost today - congrats!

  5. Stopping by for the A to Z Challenge. Arlee mentioned your blog in his post today, so I hopped on over to visit.

    That bead work is beautiful.

  6. Lovely introduction to these people! Love their craftsmanship.

  7. Beautiful people and beautiful hand work. I'm so glad I found your blog and was able to take this virtual tour of a place I will never see in person.

  8. WonderFULL Page...Love IT!