Nongovernmental Organizations And Other Associations Cultural Studies Essay

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Despite government interference, nongovernmental organizations working to ameliorate the plight of the dispossessed majority, advance democratic ideals, and monitor human rights violations flourished in the 1970s and 1980s. Many of those groups were funded by foreign governmental and private antiapartheid movement donors. With the fall of apartheid and the move toward a nonracial democracy in the 1990s, much of their funding dried up. Also, the new government has been unreceptive to the independent and often socially critical attitude of these organizations. The ANC insists that all foreign funding for social amelioration and development be channeled through governmental departments and agencies. However, bureaucratic obstruction and administrative incapacity have caused some donors to renew their connection with private organizations to implement new and more effective approaches to social problems.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. In rural African communities, women historically were assigned to agricultural tasks (with the exception of herding

A shantytown in Cape Town. Poverty and segregation are persistent legacies of South Africa's former policy of apartheid.

and plowing), and to domestic work and child care. Men tended livestock, did heavy agricultural labor, and ran local political affairs. With the dispossession of the African peasantry, many men have become migrant laborers in distant employment centers, leaving women to manage rural households. In cases where men have not sent their wages to rural families, women have become labor migrants. This pattern of female labor migration has increased as unemployment has risen among unskilled and semiskilled African men. In urban areas, both women and men work outside the home, but women are still responsible for household chores and child care. These domestic responsibilities usually fall to older female children, who have to balance housework and schoolwork.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. Male dominance is a feature of the domestic and working life of all the nation's ethnic groups. Men are by custom the head of the household and control social resources. The disabilities of women are compounded when a household is headed by a female single parent and does not include an adult male. The new democratic constitution is based on global humanitarian principles and has fostered gender equality and other human rights. Although not widely practiced, gender equality is enshrined in the legal system and the official discourse of public culture. Slow but visible progress is occurring in the advancement of women in the domestic and pubic spheres, assisted by the active engagement of the many women in the top levels of government and the private sector.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Pre-Christian marriage in black communities was based on polygyny and bridewealth, which involved the transfer of wealth in the form of livestock to the family of the bride in return for her productive and reproductive services in the husband's homestead. Christianity and changing economic and social conditions have dramatically reduced the number of men who have more than one wife, although this practice is still legal. Monogamy is the norm in all the other groups, but divorce rates are above fifty percent and cohabitation without marriage is the most common domestic living arrangement in black and Coloured communities. Despite the fragility of marital bonds, marriage ceremonies are among the most visible and important occasions for sociability and often take the form of an elaborate multisited and lengthy communal feast involving considerable expense.

Domestic Unit. In rural African communities, the domestic unit was historically the homestead,

Women and children sit alongside a road with food. Women are responsible for the care of infants, and they typically carry their babies on their backs.

Women and children sit alongside a road with food. Women are responsible for the care of infants, and they typically carry their babies on their backs.

which consisted of a senior man and his wives and their children, each housed in a small dwelling. By the mid-twentieth century, the typical homestead consisted more often of small kindreds composed of an older couple and the younger survivors of broken marriages. The multiroom family house has largely replaced or augmented the multidwelling homestead, just as nuclear and single-parent families have supplanted polygynous homesteads. The nuclear family model is approximated in practice primarily in white families, whereas black, Coloured, and Indian households tend to follow the wider "extended family" model. A new pattern characteristic of the black shantytowns at the margins of established black townships and suburbs consists of households in which unrelated people gather around a core of two or more residents connected by kinship.

Inheritance. Inheritance among white, Coloured, and Indian residents is bilateral, with property passing from parents to children or to siblings of both sexes, with a bias toward male heirs in practice. Among black Africans, the senior son inherited in trust for all the heirs of his father and was responsible for supporting his mother, his junior siblings, and his father's other wives and their children. This system has largely given way to European bilateral inheritance within the extended family, but the older mode of inheritance survives in the responsibility assumed by uncles, aunts, grandparents, and in-laws for the welfare of a deceased child or sibling's immediate family members.

Kin Groups. Recognition of lengthy family lines and extended family relationships are common to all the population groups, most formally among Indians and blacks. For Africans, the clan, a group of people descended from a single remote male ancestor, symbolized by a totemic animal and organized politically around a chiefly title, is the largest kinship unit. These clans often include hundreds of thousands of people and apply their names to branches extending across ethnic boundaries, so that a blood relationship is not an organizing feature of clanship. Among the Nguni-speaking groups, it is against custom for people to marry anyone with their own, their mother's, or grandparents' clan name or clan praise name. Among the Basotho, it is customary for aristocrats to marry within the clan. A smaller unit is the lineage, a kin group of four or five generations descended from a male ancestor traced though the male line. Extended families are the most effective kin units of mutual obligation and assistance and are based on the most recent generations of lineal relationships.

Socialization

Infant Care. Infant care is traditionally the sphere of mothers, grandmothers, and older sisters in black and Coloured communities, and females of all ages carry infants tied with blankets on their backs. Among the social problems affecting the very young in these communities is the high incidence of early teenage pregnancy. Many whites and middle-class families in other ethnic groups have part-time or full-time servants who assist with child care, including the care of infants. The employment of servants to rear children exposes children to adult caregivers of other cultures and allows unskilled women to support their own absent children.

Child Rearing and Education. The family in its varied forms and systems of membership is the primary context for the socialization of the young. The African extended family system provides a range of adult caregivers and role models for children within the kinship network. African families have shown resilience as a socializing agency, but repression and poverty have damaged family structure among the poor despite aid from churches and schools. Middle-class families of all races socialize their children in the manner of suburban Europeans.

Historically, rural African communities organized the formal education of the young around rites of initiation into adulthood. Among the Zulu, King Shaka abolished initiation and substituted military induction for males. These ceremonies, which lasted for several months, taught boys and girls the disciplines and knowledge of manhood and womanhood and culminated in circumcision for children of both sexes. Boys initiated together were led by a son of the chief under whom those age mates formed a military regiment. Girls became marriageable after graduation from the bush initiation school.

Christian missionaries opposed rites of circumcision, but after a long period of decline, traditional initiation has been increasing in popularity as a way of dealing with youth delinquency. Christian and Muslim (Coloured and Indian) clergy introduced formal schools with a religious basis in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Apartheid policies attempted to segregate and limit the training, opportunities, and aspirations of black pupils. Today a unified system of formal Western schooling includes the entire population, but the damage done by the previous educational structure has been difficult to overcome. Schools in black areas have few resources, and educational privilege still exists in the wealthier formerly white suburbs. Expensive private academies and schools maintained by the relatively wealthy Jewish community are among the country's best. Rates of functional illiteracy remain high.

Higher Education. There are more than twenty universities and numerous technical training institutes. These institutions are of varying quality, and many designated as black ethnic universities under apartheid have continued to experience political disturbances and financial crises. Formerly white but now racially mixed universities are also experiencing financial difficulties in the face of a declining pool of qualified entrants and a slow rate of economic growth.

Etiquette

South Africans are by custom polite and circumspect in their speech, although residents of the major urban centers may bemoan the decline of once-common courtesies. Each of the quite different culture groups-corresponding to home language speakers of English, Afrikaans, Tamil and Urdu, and the southern Bantu Languages, cross-cut by religion and country of original origin-has its own specific expressive forms of social propriety and respect.

Black Africans strongly mark social categories of age, gender, kinship, and status in their etiquette. Particular honor and pride of place are granted to age, genealogical seniority, male adulthood, and political position. Rural Africans still practice formal and even elaborate forms of social greeting and respect, even though such forms are paralleled by a high incidence of severe interpersonal and social violence. While the more westernized or cosmopolitan Africans are less formal in the language and gesture of etiquette, the categories of social status are no less clearly marked, whether in the homes of wealthy university graduates or in cramped and crowded working-class bungalows. The guest who does not greet the parents of a household by the name of their senior child preceded by ma or ra (Sesotho: "mother/father of . . . ") or at least an with an emphatic 'me or ntate (Sesotho: mother/father [of the house]) will be thought rude. The youngster who does not scramble from a chair to make way for an adult will draw a sharp reproof.

Comparable forms with cognate emphasis on age, gender, and seniority are practiced in Muslim, Hindu, and Jewish communities according to religious prescriptions and places of original family origin. South Africans of British origin insist on a

Voters wait in line in the first all-race elections, 1994. All South Africans have had the right to vote since this landmark year.Voters wait in line in the first all-race elections, 1994. All South Africans have had the right to vote since this landmark year.

calm, distanced reserve mixed with a pleasant humor in social interactions, regardless of their private opinions of others. Afrikaners are rather more direct and sharp in their encounters, more quick to express their thoughts and feelings towards others, and not given to social legerdemain. In general, despite the aggressive rudeness that afflicts stressful modern urban life everywhere, South Africans are by custom hospitable, helpful, sympathetic, and most anxious to avoid verbal conflict or unsociable manners. Even among strangers, one of the strongest criticisms one can make in South Africa of another is that the person is "rude."

Religion

Religious Beliefs. Despite the socialist roots of the ruling ANC, South Africa is traditionally a deeply religious country with high rates of participation in religious life among all groups. The population is overwhelmingly Christian with only very small Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu minorities. Among Christian denominations, the Calvinist Dutch Reformed Church is by far the largest as most White and some Coloured Afrikaners belong to it. Other important denominations include Roman Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Anglicans, the last led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Desmond Tutu. Apostolic and Pentacostal churches also have a large Black membership. Indigenous Black African religion centered on veneration of and guidance from the ancestors, belief in various minor spirits, spiritual modes of healing, and seasonal agricultural rites. The drinking of cereal beer and the ritual slaughter of livestock accompanied the many occasions for family and communal ritual feasting. The most important ceremonies involved rites of the life cycle such as births, initiation, marriage, and funerals.

Religious Practitioners. Indigenous African religious practitioners included herbalists and diviners who attended to the spiritual needs and maladies of both individuals and communities. In some cases their clairvoyant powers were employed by chiefs for advice and prophesy. Historically, Christian missionaries and traditional diviners have been enemies, but this has not prevented the dramatic growth of hybrid Afro-Christian churches, religious movements, prophetism, and spiritual healing alongside mainstream Christianity. Other important religions include Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism. For the Afrikaners, the Dutch Reformed Church has provided a spiritual and organizational foundation for their nationalist cultural politics and ideology.

Rituals and Holy Places. All religions and ethnic subnational groups have founded shrines to their tradition where momentous events have occurred, their leaders are buried, or miracles are believed to have happened. The grave of Sheikh Omar, for example, a seventeenth-century leader of resistance to Dutch rule in the East Indies who was transported to the Cape and became an early leader of the "Malay" community, is sacred to Cape Muslims. Afrikaners regard the site of the Battle of Blood River (Ncome) in 1838 as sacred because their leader Andries Pretorius made a covenant with their God promising perpetual devotion if victory over the vastly more numerous Zulu army were achieved. The long intergroup conflict over the land itself has led to the sacralization of many sites that are well remembered and frequently visited by a great many South Africans of all backgrounds.

Death and the Afterlife. In addition to the beliefs in the soul and afterlife of the varying world religions in South Africa, continued belief in and consultation with family ancestors remains strong among Black Africans. Among the important shrines where the ancestors are said to have caused

People at a Zulu market. Zulu is the largest South African language group, with about nine million speakers, but it does not represent a dominant ethnic grouping.

People at a Zulu market. Zulu is the largest South African language group, with about nine million speakers, but it does not represent a dominant ethnic grouping.

miracles are the caves of Nkokomohi and Matuoleng in the eastern Free State, both sites of healing sacred to the Basotho, and the holy city of Ekuphakameni in KwaZulu-Natal, built by Zulu Afro-Christian prophet and founder of the Nazarite Jerusalem Church, Isaiah Shembe in 1916. Formal communal graveyards, not a feature of pre-colonial African culture, have since become a focus of ancestral veneration and rootedness in the land. Disused graves and ancestral shrines have most recently figured in the land restitution claims of expropriated African communities lacking formal deeds of title to their former homes.

Medicine and Health Care

There is a first class but limited modern health care sector for those with medical coverage or the money to pay for the treatment. Government-subsidized public hospitals and clinics are overstressed, understaffed, and are struggling to deal with the needs of a majority of the population that was underserved during white minority rule. A highly developed traditional medical sector of herbalists and diviners provides treatment for physical and psycho-spiritual illnesses to millions in the black population, including some people who also receive treatment from modern health professionals and facilities. South Africa has a high HIV infection rate, and if successful strategies for AIDS prevention and care are not implemented, twenty-five percent of the country's young women will die before age thirty.

Secular Celebrations

Secular celebrations and public holidays are much more numerous than religious celebrations. The old holiday calendar consisting of commemorations of milestones in the history of colonial settlement, conquest, and political dominance has not been abandoned. In the service of political reconciliation, old holidays such as 16 December, which commemorates the victory of eight hundred Afrikaner settlers and their black servants over four thousand Zulu at the Battle of Blood River in 1838, is now celebrated as Reconciliation Day. Holidays commemorating significant events in the black struggle for political liberation include Human Rights Day, marking the shooting to death of sixty-one black pass-law protesters by the police in Sharpeville on 21 March 1961, and Youth Day, recalling the beginning of the Soweto uprising, when police opened fire on black schoolchildren protesting the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in township schools on 16 June 1976. Other holidays emphasize social advancements guaranteed by the new constitution, such as Women's Day, which also commemorates the march by women of all groups to protest the extension of the pass laws to women in Pretoria on 9 August 1956.

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. Pre-colonial African cultures produced a wide range of artistic artifacts for both use and beauty as clothing and personal adornment, beadwork, basketry, pottery, and external house decoration and design. Today these traditions are not only continued but have been developed in new as well as established forms in exquisitely fashioned folk and popular craft work and even painting. Among the most famous of these is the geometric house painting design of the Ndebele people.

Urban South Africa has highly developed traditions in the full range of arts and humanities genres and disciplines, long supported by government and the liberal universities, among the most prominent in Africa. During the colonial period these traditions spread to the non-European population groups who also produced artists, scholars, and public intellectuals of renown despite the obstacles deliberately placed in their path by the White apartheid cultural authorities. Building on the work of artists in exile such as painter Gerald Sekoto, painters and graphic artists vividly expressed the struggles and sufferings of black South Africans during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Social dislocation and poverty along with rich evocations of a regenerated African folk culture have inspired graphic artists of all backgrounds in the transformational 1990s.

Most recently other pressing social concerns have taken priority over the arts and humanities and both public and private support have dwindled. While the government struggles to make the once racially exclusive arts and educational facilities accessible to all, arts councils have experienced severe reductions in funding and many once-vibrant arts institutions are closed or threatened with closure. The government-sponsored Johannesburg Bienniale arts festival has yet to attract a significant audience.

Literature. The country has long had important writers of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Black literature thrived under the adverse conditions of apartheid, but today there is no black writer, playwright, or journalist with the stature of E'skia Mphahlele and Alex la Guma from the 1950s through the 1970s. The White population continues to produce world-class literary artists, however, including Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer, twice Booker Prize winner J. M. Coetzee, and distinguished bilingual Afrikaans novelist André Brink.

Graphic Arts. Graphic artists with a rural folk background who have made the transition to the contemporary art world, such as renowned painter Helen Sibidi, have found a ready international market. South Africa too produced a number of world-class art and documentary photographers in the second half of the twentieth century, whose works vividly evoke all aspects of this diverse, powerful conflictual and divided society. Among such photographers are elders Ernest Cole, David Goldblatt, and Peter Magubane, followed by new talents such as Santu Mofokeng.

Performance Arts. Theater, during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s a thriving formal elite and informal popular performing art, has recently fallen on hard times. Even Johannesburg, the urban cultural center of the country, has witnessed the closure of several major downtown theatre complexes that are now surrounded by urban decay, and the virtual disappearance of popular Black township theatre. The grand State Theatre complex in Pretoria has recently been closed due to insolvency and mismanagement.

New opportunities and interesting choreographers are appearing in the field of contemporary Black dance, but audiences and budgets are still painfully small. South Africa's four great symphony orchestras too have either dissolved or are threatened with dissolution. Alternatively popular music, particularly among Black South African musicians and audiences whether in live performances, recordings, or the increasingly varied broadcast industry, is thriving in the new era and holds out great potential for both artistic and financial expansion. South Africa is possessed of video and digital artists with excellent professional training and great talent, but there is only a limited market for their works within the country. Local television production provides them with some employment, but the South African film industry is moribund.

The very slow pace of economic growth and the high and increasing levels of unemployment and taxation have created an unfavorable environment for artistic and intellectual development in the new nonracial society. One sector in which both artistic and financial progress is occurring is in the growth of arts and performance festivals. The greatest of these is the National Arts Festival held every year in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, drawing large audiences to a feast of the best new work in theatre, film, serious music, lecture programs, and visual arts and crafts. Other local festivals have sprung up after the example of Grahamstown, and all have achieved some measure of success and permanence in the national cultural calendar.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

Since the 1920s, the universities have graduated world-class professionals in the physical and social sciences. Rapid democratization has stressed the higher education system, and public and private funding for the social sciences has declined at a time when the society is facing a social and economic crisis. The physical sciences have fared better, with the opening of new technical institutions and the expansion of professionally oriented science education programs at the universities. The crisis in primary and secondary education has lowered the quality and quantity of entrants to institutions of higher education, and a lack of economic growth has created an inability to absorb highly trained graduates and a skills shortage as those graduates are attracted by better opportunities abroad.

*Source: http://www.everyculture.com/Sa-Th/South-Africa.html

or http://www.everyculture.com/Sa-Th/South-Africa.html#ixzz2BpqsKDLq

Explore the dynamic socioeconomic, political, and cultural processes of South Africa - an extraordinarily diverse country in transition.

Group Work with Phoenix Zululand - photo: Samamtha Worth

Group Work with Phoenix Zululand - photo: Samamtha Worth

Following decades of systematic segregation under apartheid, South Africa is striving to free itself of a legacy of racial discrimination, economic exploitation, and political authoritarianism to build a new democratic and equitable regime.

Through coursework and community engagement, students discover the significant role that Durban, the program's base, has played in South African history, particularly its role in and against apartheid. To provide students with learning opportunities in many different contexts, the program also includes field visits to Johannesburg, rural parts of both KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, the Umfolozi and Hluhluwe Game Reserves, and the Drakensberg Mountain range.

Students interact with a range of organizations involved in South Africa's transformation process, including:

The Abahlali Shackdwellers Movement - which campaigns around housing issues and works to give voice to the views of the poor and homeless

Phoenix Zululand - which works to apply the principles of restorative justice in 13 KwaZulu Natal prisons

The Cato Manor Youth Empowerment Project - which operates a school feeding scheme and youth club in the Cato Manor area of Durban where students have their first and longest homestay. Students participate in both of these activities on a weekly basis.

The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) - an African-oriented conflict resolution center based in Durban

Durban street signs - photo: Emily Orlaska

Durban street signs - photo: Emily Orlaska

The program is grounded in the experiences of the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, but the focus is national and internationally comparative. While investigating the complex issues of inequality, poverty, and racial, ethnic, and gender-based discrimination in the context of South Africa, students are challenged to draw and reflect on the experiences of their home countries in dealing - or not dealing - with these same issues.

Through the program's thematic seminar, students investigate the following topics:

Issues of Transformation: South Africa's political, socio-economic, and cultural landscapes including the process of transformation from apartheid to democracy, the apartheid legacy, and the current political economy. This includes a focus on unemployment and poverty alleviation; land reform and restitution; the state of schooling and issues of identity involving the building of a new and indigenous South African national identity. Consideration is given to issues of development and the government's development strategies. Topics here include the informal sector; land reform and restitution; service delivery in regard to housing, water, and electricity; issues of gender violence and HIV/AIDS.

Finally, consideration is given to South Africa's program of reconciliation.  Topics include the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; the concept of ubuntu; issues of violence, ethnicity, and xenophobia; conflict resolution and peacekeeping.

*Source: http://www.sit.edu/studyabroad/ssa_sfd.cfm#.UJ53J4Hy7IU

South African Languages and Culture

South Africans have been referred to as the 'rainbow nation', a title which epitomises the country's cultural diversity. The population of South Africa is one of the most complex and diverse in the world. Of the 45 million South Africans, nearly 31 million are Black, 5 million White, 3 million Coloured and one million Indian. The population density is 32.9 people per km².

The Black population is divided into four major ethnic groups, namely Nguni, Sotho, Shangaan-Tsonga and Venda. There are numerous subgroups of which the Zulu and Xhosa (two subgroups of the Nguni) are the largest. The majority of the White population is of Afrikaans descent (60%), with many of the remaining 40% being of British descent. Most of the Coloured population live in the Northern and Western Cape provinces, whilst most of the Indian population lives in KwaZulu Natal. The Afrikaner population is concentrated in the Gauteng and Free State provinces and the English population in the Western and Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal.

There are eleven official languages in South Africa, namely English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Sepedi, Xhosa, Venda, Tswana, Southern Sotho, Zulu, Swazi and Tsonga. View more information about each (see below), including the origins of the language and where it is spoken in South Africa. Also see South Africanisms and useful Xhosa phrases and Zulu phrases.

South Africa's Official Languages

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Xhosa

Approximately 18 percent of South Africa's population speaks the language, and when doing the mathematics, that makes it around 7.9 million people. Xhosa is marked by a number of tongue-clicking sounds. Those that speak the language are usually involved in an ethnic group known ... xhosa language

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Zulu

To 24% of South Africans, Zulu is considered to be their home language and 50% of the South Africa's inhabitants understand the language. Zulu falls under the Nguni group and is one of the Bantu languages. Xhosa and Zulu are the only two languages mutually understandable. The Zulu nation

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Afrikaans

The Afrikaans language is one of South Africa's official languages and a majority of South Africa's population uses this as their first or second language. Afrikaans is a born language and attached is a fascinating history. The language is also widely spoken in Namibia and spoken partly

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Venda

This language also known as Luvenda or just Venda, and Tshivenda, originated from the Bantu language. Around 666 000 of Tshivenda speakers live in the Northern parts of South Africa's Limpopo Province. Those that speak Tshivenda have a Royal Family and there are also traditions

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Ndebele

Many South African African people can speak Ndebele and it is in fact a beautiful language if you know how to speak and understand it well. Ndebele is a Bantu language that is spoken by Ndebele South Africans (the Ndebele people are also sometimes referred to as amaNdebele)

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Sepedi

Sepedi is also sometimes referred to as Sesotho sa Laboa or Northern Sotho. The language of Sepedi is spoken by approximately 4,208,980 individuals and it is one of the eleven official languages in South Africa. The language is usually spoken in Mpumalanga, Gauteng

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Setswana

Setswana is commonly known as Tswana, and is actually Botswana's national language. However, the majority of Tswana or Setswana speakers are found in South Africa. It is the Northern Cape that is the source of the Setswana and Afrikaans speakers.

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Southern Sesotho

This Bantu language originates from the Bantu-Nguni era and is also known as Suto, Souto, Sisutho as well as Suthu. The dialects originates from Suto, Pedi as well as Tswana which are intelligible but at the same time is also considered to be separate languages

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Swati

Swati might not sound familiar to you, but rather Sewati, Swazi or siSwati as these are all the same language, just in different names. Swati is a part of the Nguni Group and it is one of the many Bantu languages. It is mainly spoken by people in South Africa and Swaziland

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Tsonga

The language of Tsonga is mainly spoken throughout southern Africa by the Shangaan - Tsonga culture. Tsonga is a part of Bantu branch when it comes to the Niger-Congo languages. The speakers of this language are often referred to as Shangaans.

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