Bantu peoples

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Bantu peoples_table_infobox_0

BantuBantu peoples_table_caption_0
Regions with significant populationsBantu peoples_header_cell_0_0_0
LanguagesBantu peoples_header_cell_0_1_0
ReligionBantu peoples_header_cell_0_2_0

Bantu peoples are the speakers of Bantu languages, comprising several hundred indigenous ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa, spread over a vast area from Central Africa across the African Great Lakes to Southern Africa. Bantu peoples_sentence_0

The total number of languages ranges in the hundreds, depending on the definition of "language" or "dialect", estimated at between 440 and 680 distinct languages. Bantu peoples_sentence_1

The total number of speakers is in the hundreds of millions, ranging at roughly 350 million in the mid-2010s (roughly 30% of the population of Africa, or roughly 5% of the total world population). Bantu peoples_sentence_2

About 60 million speakers (2015), divided into some 200 ethnic or tribal groups, are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone. Bantu peoples_sentence_3

The larger of the individual Bantu groups have populations of several million, e.g. the Shona of Zimbabwe (12 million as of 2000), the Zulu of South Africa (12 million as of 2005) the Luba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (7 million as of 2010), the Sukuma of Tanzania (9 million as of 2016), or the Kikuyu of Kenya (8 million as of 2019). Bantu peoples_sentence_4

Origin of the name Bantu Bantu peoples_section_0

Further information: Bantu languages § Name Bantu peoples_sentence_5

The word Bantu for the language families and its speakers is an artificial term based on the reconstructed Proto-Bantu term for "people" or "humans". Bantu peoples_sentence_6

It was first introduced (as Bâ-ntu) by Wilhelm Bleek in 1857 or 1858, and popularised in his Comparative Grammar of 1862. Bantu peoples_sentence_7

The name was coined to represent the word for "people" in loosely reconstructed Proto-Bantu, from the plural noun class prefix categorizing "people", and the root *ntʊ̀ - "some (entity), any" (e.g. Zulu umuntu "person", abantu "people", into "thing", izinto "things"). Bantu peoples_sentence_8

There is no native term for the peoples who speak Bantu languages, because they are not an ethnic group. Bantu peoples_sentence_9

People speaking Bantu languages refer to their languages by ethnic endonyms, which did not have an indigenous concept prior to European contact for the larger ethno-linguistic phylum named by 19th century European linguists. Bantu peoples_sentence_10

Bleek's coinage was inspired by the anthropological observation of groups self-identifying as "people" or "the true people". Bantu peoples_sentence_11

That is, idiomatically the reflexes of *bantʊ in the numerous languages often have connotations of personal character traits as encompassed under the values system of ubuntu, also known as hunhu in Chishona or botho in Sesotho, rather than just referring to all human beings. Bantu peoples_sentence_12

The root in Proto-Bantu is reconstructed as *-ntʊ́. Bantu peoples_sentence_13

Versions of the word Bantu (that is, the root plus the class 2 noun class prefix *ba-) occur in all Bantu languages: for example, as bantu in Kikongo and Kituba; watu in Swahili; anthu in Chichewa; batu in Lingala; bato in Kiluba; bato in Duala; abanto in Gusii; andũ in Kamba and Kikuyu; abantu in Kirundi, Zulu, Xhosa, Runyakitara, and Ganda; wandru in Shingazidja; abantru in Mpondo and Ndebele; bãthfu in Phuthi; bantfu in Swati and Bhaca ; banu in Lala; vanhu in Shona and Tsonga; batho in Sesotho, Tswana and Northern Sotho; antu in Meru; andu in Embu; vandu in some Luhya dialects; vhathu in Venda and bhandu in Nyakyusa. Bantu peoples_sentence_14

History Bantu peoples_section_1

Origins and expansion Bantu peoples_section_2

Main article: Bantu expansion Bantu peoples_sentence_15

Bantu languages are theorised to derive from the Proto-Bantu reconstructed language, estimated to have been spoken about 4,000 to 3,000 years ago in West/Central Africa (the area of modern-day Cameroon). Bantu peoples_sentence_16

They were supposedly spread across Central, Eastern and Southern Africa in the so-called Bantu expansion, a comparatively rapid dissemination taking roughly two millennia and dozens of human generations during the 1st millennium BCE and the 1st millennium CE, This concept has often been framed as a mass-migration, but Jan Vansina and others have argued that it was actually a cultural spread and not the movement of any specific populations that could be defined as an enormous group simply on the basis of common language traits. Bantu peoples_sentence_17

The geographical shape and course of the Bantu expansion remains debated. Bantu peoples_sentence_18

Two main scenarios are proposed, an early expansion to Central Africa, and a single origin of the dispersal radiating from there, or an early separation into an eastward and a southward wave of dispersal, with one wave moving across the Congo basin towards East Africa, and another moving south along the African coast and the Congo River system towards Angola. Bantu peoples_sentence_19

Genetic analysis shows a significant clustered variation of genetic traits among Bantu language speakers by region, suggesting admixture from prior local populations. Bantu peoples_sentence_20

According to the early-split scenario as described in the 1990s, the southward dispersal had reached the Central African rain forest by about 1500 BCE, and the southern Savannahs by 500 BCE, while the eastward dispersal reached the Great Lakes by 1000 BCE, expanding further from there, as the rich environment supported dense populations. Bantu peoples_sentence_21

Possible movements by small groups to the southeast from the Great Lakes region could have been more rapid, with initial settlements widely dispersed near the coast and near rivers, due to comparatively harsh farming conditions in areas farther from water. Bantu peoples_sentence_22

Recent archeological and linguistic evidence about population movements suggests that pioneering groups would have had reached parts of modern KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa sometime prior to the 3rd century AD along the coast, and the modern Northern Cape by AD 500. Bantu peoples_sentence_23

Under the Bantu expansion migration hypothesis, various Bantu-speaking peoples would have assimilated and/or displaced many earlier inhabitants, with only a few modern peoples such as Pygmy groups in central Africa, the Hadza people in northern Tanzania, and various Khoisan populations across southern Africa retaining autonomous existence into the era of European contact. Bantu peoples_sentence_24

Archeological evidence attests to their presence in areas subsequently occupied by Bantu-speakers. Bantu peoples_sentence_25

Bantu-speaking migrants would have also interacted with some Afro-Asiatic outlier groups in the southeast (mainly Cushitic), as well as Nilotic and Central Sudanic speaking groups. Bantu peoples_sentence_26

Cattle terminology in use amongst the relatively few modern Bantu pastoralist groups suggests that the acquisition of cattle may have been from Cushitic-speaking neighbors. Bantu peoples_sentence_27

Linguistic evidence also indicates that the customs of milking cattle were also directly modeled from Cushitic cultures in the area. Bantu peoples_sentence_28

Cattle terminology in southern African Bantu languages differs from that found among more northerly Bantu-speaking peoples. Bantu peoples_sentence_29

One recent suggestion is that Cushitic-speakers had moved south earlier, and interacted with the most northerly of Khoisan-speakers who acquired cattle from them, and that the earliest arriving Bantu-speakers in turn got their initial cattle from Cushitic-influenced Khwe-speaking people. Bantu peoples_sentence_30

Under this hypothesis, larger later Bantu-speaking immigration subsequently displaced or assimilated that southernmost extension of the range of Cushitic-speakers. Bantu peoples_sentence_31

Later history Bantu peoples_section_3

Between the 9th and 15th centuries, Bantu-speaking states began to emerge in the Great Lakes region and in the savannah south of the Central African rain forest. Bantu peoples_sentence_32

On the Zambezi river, the Monomatapa kings built the Great Zimbabwe complex, a civilisation ancestral to the Kalanga people. Bantu peoples_sentence_33

Comparable sites in Southern Africa, include Bumbusi in Zimbabwe and Manyikeni in Mozambique. Bantu peoples_sentence_34

From the 12th century onward, the processes of state formation amongst Bantu peoples increased in frequency. Bantu peoples_sentence_35

This was probably due to denser population (which led to more specialized divisions of labor, including military power, while making emigration more difficult); to technological developments in economic activity; and to new techniques in the political-spiritual ritualization of royalty as the source of national strength and health. Bantu peoples_sentence_36

Some examples of such Bantu states include: in Central Africa, the Kingdom of Kongo, the Kuba Kingdom, the Lunda Empire, the Luba Empire, Tooro, Bunyoro, Buganda, Busoga, Rwanda, Burundi, Ankole and in Southern Africa, the Mutapa Empire, the Zulu Kingdom, the Ndebele Kingdom, Mapungubwe, the Kingdom of Butua, Maravi, Danamombe, Khami, Naletale, Kingdom of Zimbabwe and the Rozwi Empire. Bantu peoples_sentence_37

On the coastal section of East Africa, a mixed Bantu community developed through contact with Muslim Arab and Persian traders, Zanzibar being an important part in the Arab slave trade. Bantu peoples_sentence_38

The Swahili culture that emerged from these exchanges evinces many Arab and Islamic influences not seen in traditional Bantu culture, as do the many Afro-Arab members of the Bantu Swahili people. Bantu peoples_sentence_39

With its original speech community centered on the coastal parts of Zanzibar, Kenya, and Tanzania – a seaboard referred to as the Swahili Coast – the Bantu Swahili language contains many Arabic loan-words as a result of these interactions. Bantu peoples_sentence_40

The Arab slave trade also brought Bantu influence to Madagascar, the Malagasy people showing Bantu admixture, and their Malagasy language Bantu loans. Bantu peoples_sentence_41

Toward the 18th and 19th centuries, the flow of Zanj (Bantu) slaves from Southeast Africa increased with the rise of the Omani Sultanate of Zanzibar, based in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Bantu peoples_sentence_42

With the arrival of European colonialists, the Zanzibar Sultanate came into direct trade conflict and competition with Portuguese and other Europeans along the Swahili Coast, leading eventually to the fall of the Sultanate and the end of slave trading on the Swahili Coast in the mid-20th century. Bantu peoples_sentence_43

List of Bantu groups by country Bantu peoples_section_4

Further information: Bantu_languages § By_country, List of African ethnic groups, and List of African countries by population Bantu peoples_sentence_44

Bantu peoples_table_general_1

CountryBantu peoples_header_cell_1_0_0 Total population

(millions, 2015 est.)Bantu peoples_header_cell_1_0_1

% BantuBantu peoples_header_cell_1_0_2 Bantu population

(millions, 2015 est.)Bantu peoples_header_cell_1_0_3

ZonesBantu peoples_header_cell_1_0_4 Bantu groupsBantu peoples_header_cell_1_0_5
Democratic Republic of the CongoBantu peoples_cell_1_1_0 77Bantu peoples_cell_1_1_1 80%Bantu peoples_cell_1_1_2 62Bantu peoples_cell_1_1_3 B, C, D, H, J, K, L, MBantu peoples_cell_1_1_4 Bakongo, Mongo, Baluba, numerous others ( Ambala, Ambuun, Angba, Babindi, Baboma, Baholo, Balunda, Bangala, Bango, Batsamba, Bazombe, Bemba, Bembe, Bira, Bowa, Dikidiki, Dzing, Fuliru, Havu, Hema, Hima, Hunde, Hutu, Iboko, Kanioka, Kaonde, Kuba, Komo, Kwango, Lengola, Lokele, Lupu, Lwalwa, Mbala, Mbole, Mbuza (Budja), Nande, Ngoli, Bangoli, Ngombe, Nkumu, Nyanga, Bapende, Popoi, Poto, Sango, Shi, Songo, Sukus, Tabwa, Tchokwé, Téké, Tembo, Tetela, Topoke, Ungana, Vira, Wakuti, Yaka, Yakoma, Yanzi, Yeke, Yela, total 80% Bantu)Bantu peoples_cell_1_1_5
TanzaniaBantu peoples_cell_1_2_0 51Bantu peoples_cell_1_2_1 90%?Bantu peoples_cell_1_2_2 c. 45Bantu peoples_cell_1_2_3 E, F, G, J, M, N, PBantu peoples_cell_1_2_4 Abakuria,Sukuma, Nyamwezi, Haya, Chaga, Gogo, Makonde, Ngoni, Matumbi, numerous others (majority Bantu)Bantu peoples_cell_1_2_5
South AfricaBantu peoples_cell_1_3_0 55Bantu peoples_cell_1_3_1 75%Bantu peoples_cell_1_3_2 40Bantu peoples_cell_1_3_3 SBantu peoples_cell_1_3_4 Nguni (Zulu, Hlubi, Xhosa, Southern Ndebele, Swazi), Basotho (South Sotho), Bapedi (North Sotho), Venda, Batswana, Tsonga, Kgaga (North Sotho), total 75% BantuBantu peoples_cell_1_3_5
KenyaBantu peoples_cell_1_4_0 46Bantu peoples_cell_1_4_1 80%Bantu peoples_cell_1_4_2 37Bantu peoples_cell_1_4_3 E, JBantu peoples_cell_1_4_4 Agikuyu, Abaluhya, Maragoli, Akamba, Abagusii, Ameru, Abakuria, Aembu, Ambeere, Taita, Pokomo, Taveta and Mijikenda, numerous others (80% Bantu)Bantu peoples_cell_1_4_5
MozambiqueBantu peoples_cell_1_5_0 28Bantu peoples_cell_1_5_1 99%Bantu peoples_cell_1_5_2 28Bantu peoples_cell_1_5_3 N, P, SBantu peoples_cell_1_5_4 Makua, Sena, Shona (Ndau), Shangaan (Tsonga), Makonde, Yao, Swahili, Tonga, Chopi, NgoniBantu peoples_cell_1_5_5
UgandaBantu peoples_cell_1_6_0 37Bantu peoples_cell_1_6_1 70%?Bantu peoples_cell_1_6_2 c. 25Bantu peoples_cell_1_6_3 D, JBantu peoples_cell_1_6_4 Baganda, Basoga, Bagwere, Banyoro, Banyankole, Bakiga, Batooro, Bamasaba, Basamia, Bakonjo, Baamba, Banyole, Bafumbira, Bagungu (majority Bantu)Bantu peoples_cell_1_6_5
AngolaBantu peoples_cell_1_7_0 26Bantu peoples_cell_1_7_1 97%Bantu peoples_cell_1_7_2 25Bantu peoples_cell_1_7_3 H, K, RBantu peoples_cell_1_7_4 Ovimbundu, Ambundu, Bakongo, Bachokwe, Balunda, Ganguela, Ovambo, Herero, Xindonga (97% Bantu)Bantu peoples_cell_1_7_5
MalawiBantu peoples_cell_1_8_0 16Bantu peoples_cell_1_8_1 99%Bantu peoples_cell_1_8_2 16Bantu peoples_cell_1_8_3 NBantu peoples_cell_1_8_4 Chewa, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, NgondeBantu peoples_cell_1_8_5
ZambiaBantu peoples_cell_1_9_0 15Bantu peoples_cell_1_9_1 99%Bantu peoples_cell_1_9_2 15Bantu peoples_cell_1_9_3 L, M, NBantu peoples_cell_1_9_4 Nyanja-Chewa, Bemba, Tonga, Tumbuka, BaLunda, Balovale, Kaonde, Nkoya and Lozi, about 70 groups total.Bantu peoples_cell_1_9_5
ZimbabweBantu peoples_cell_1_10_0 14Bantu peoples_cell_1_10_1 99%Bantu peoples_cell_1_10_2 14Bantu peoples_cell_1_10_3 SBantu peoples_cell_1_10_4 Shona, Northern Ndebele, Bakalanga, numerous minor groups.Bantu peoples_cell_1_10_5
RwandaBantu peoples_cell_1_11_0 11Bantu peoples_cell_1_11_1 99%Bantu peoples_cell_1_11_2 11Bantu peoples_cell_1_11_3 JBantu peoples_cell_1_11_4 BanyarwandaBantu peoples_cell_1_11_5
BurundiBantu peoples_cell_1_12_0 10Bantu peoples_cell_1_12_1 99%Bantu peoples_cell_1_12_2 10Bantu peoples_cell_1_12_3 JBantu peoples_cell_1_12_4 BarundiBantu peoples_cell_1_12_5
CameroonBantu peoples_cell_1_13_0 22Bantu peoples_cell_1_13_1 30%Bantu peoples_cell_1_13_2 6Bantu peoples_cell_1_13_3 ABantu peoples_cell_1_13_4 Bulu, Duala, Ewondo, Bafia Bassa, Bakoko, Barombi, Bankon, Subu, Bakwe, Oroko, Fang, Bekpak, 30% BantuBantu peoples_cell_1_13_5
Republic of the CongoBantu peoples_cell_1_14_0 5Bantu peoples_cell_1_14_1 97%Bantu peoples_cell_1_14_2 5Bantu peoples_cell_1_14_3 B, CBantu peoples_cell_1_14_4 Bakongo, Sangha, M'Bochi, BatekeBantu peoples_cell_1_14_5
BotswanaBantu peoples_cell_1_15_0 2.2Bantu peoples_cell_1_15_1 90%Bantu peoples_cell_1_15_2 2.0Bantu peoples_cell_1_15_3 R, SBantu peoples_cell_1_15_4 Batswana, BaKalanga, Mayeyi 90% BantuBantu peoples_cell_1_15_5
Equatorial GuineaBantu peoples_cell_1_16_0 2.0Bantu peoples_cell_1_16_1 95%Bantu peoples_cell_1_16_2 1.9Bantu peoples_cell_1_16_3 ABantu peoples_cell_1_16_4 Fang, Bubi, 95% BantuBantu peoples_cell_1_16_5
LesothoBantu peoples_cell_1_17_0 1.9Bantu peoples_cell_1_17_1 99%Bantu peoples_cell_1_17_2 1.9Bantu peoples_cell_1_17_3 SBantu peoples_cell_1_17_4 BasothoBantu peoples_cell_1_17_5
GabonBantu peoples_cell_1_18_0 1.9Bantu peoples_cell_1_18_1 95%Bantu peoples_cell_1_18_2 1.8Bantu peoples_cell_1_18_3 BBantu peoples_cell_1_18_4 Fang, Nzebi, Myene, Kota, Shira, Puru, Kande.Bantu peoples_cell_1_18_5
NamibiaBantu peoples_cell_1_19_0 2.3Bantu peoples_cell_1_19_1 70%Bantu peoples_cell_1_19_2 1.6Bantu peoples_cell_1_19_3 K, RBantu peoples_cell_1_19_4 Ovambo, Kavango, Herero, Himba, Mayeyi 70% BantuBantu peoples_cell_1_19_5
SwazilandBantu peoples_cell_1_20_0 1.1Bantu peoples_cell_1_20_1 99%Bantu peoples_cell_1_20_2 1.1Bantu peoples_cell_1_20_3 SBantu peoples_cell_1_20_4 Swazi, Zulu, TsongaBantu peoples_cell_1_20_5
SomaliaBantu peoples_cell_1_21_0 14Bantu peoples_cell_1_21_1 7%Bantu peoples_cell_1_21_2 1Bantu peoples_cell_1_21_3 EBantu peoples_cell_1_21_4 Somalian BantuBantu peoples_cell_1_21_5
ComorosBantu peoples_cell_1_22_0 0.8Bantu peoples_cell_1_22_1 99%Bantu peoples_cell_1_22_2 0.8Bantu peoples_cell_1_22_3 E, GBantu peoples_cell_1_22_4 Comorian peopleBantu peoples_cell_1_22_5
Sub-Saharan AfricaBantu peoples_header_cell_1_23_0 970Bantu peoples_header_cell_1_23_1 c. 37%Bantu peoples_header_cell_1_23_2 c. 360Bantu peoples_header_cell_1_23_3 Bantu peoples_header_cell_1_23_4 Bantu peoples_header_cell_1_23_5

Use of the term "Bantu" in South Africa Bantu peoples_section_5

Main article: Bantu-speaking peoples of South Africa Bantu peoples_sentence_45

In the 1920s, relatively liberal South Africans, missionaries, and the small black intelligentsia began to use the term "Bantu" in preference to "Native". Bantu peoples_sentence_46

After World War II, the National Party governments adopted that usage officially, while the growing African nationalist movement and its liberal allies turned to the term "African" instead, so that "Bantu" became identified with the policies of apartheid. Bantu peoples_sentence_47

By the 1970s this so discredited "Bantu" as an ethno-racial designation that the apartheid government switched to the term "Black" in its official racial categorizations, restricting it to Bantu-speaking Africans, at about the same time that the Black Consciousness Movement led by Steve Biko and others were defining "Black" to mean all non-European South Africans (Bantus, Khoisan, Coloureds, and Indians). Bantu peoples_sentence_48

In modern South Africa due to its connection to apartheid the noun has become so discredited that it is only used in its original linguistic meaning. Bantu peoples_sentence_49

Examples of South African usages of "Bantu" include: Bantu peoples_sentence_50

Bantu peoples_ordered_list_0

  1. One of South Africa's politicians of recent times, General Bantubonke Harrington Holomisa (Bantubonke is a compound noun meaning "all the people"), is known as Bantu Holomisa.Bantu peoples_item_0_0
  2. The South African apartheid governments originally gave the name "bantustans" to the eleven rural reserve areas intended for nominal independence to deny indigenous Bantu South Africans citizenship. "Bantustan" originally reflected an analogy to the various ethnic "-stans" of Western and Central Asia. Again association with apartheid discredited the term, and the South African government shifted to the politically appealing but historically deceptive term "ethnic homelands". Meanwhile, the anti-apartheid movement persisted in calling the areas bantustans, to drive home their political illegitimacy.Bantu peoples_item_0_1
  3. The abstract noun ubuntu, humanity or humaneness, is derived regularly from the Nguni noun stem -ntu in Xhosa, Zulu, and Ndebele. In Swati the stem is -ntfu and the noun is buntfu.Bantu peoples_item_0_2
  4. In the Sotho–Tswana languages of southern Africa, batho is the cognate term to Nguni abantu, illustrating that such cognates need not actually look like the -ntu root exactly. The early African National Congress of South Africa had a newspaper called Abantu-Batho from 1912 to 1933, which carried columns in English, Zulu, Sotho, and Xhosa.Bantu peoples_item_0_3


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bantu peoples.