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Bantu peoples are the speakers of
Bantu languages The Bantu languages (English: , Proto-Bantu: *bantʊ̀) are a large family of languages In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or o ...
, comprising several hundred
indigenous Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular place. The term ' ...
ethnic groups An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can include common sets of traditions, ances ...
in
sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa (commonly called Black Africa) is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all list of sovereign states and dependent territories i ...

sub-Saharan Africa
, spread over a vast area from
Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhab ...

Central Africa
across the
African Great Lakes The African Great Lakes ( sw, Maziwa Makuu) are a series of lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a Depression (geology), basin, surrounded by land, and set apart from any river or other outlet that serves to feed or drai ...

African Great Lakes
to
Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pr ...
. 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. 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
the total world population
). About 60 million speakers (2015), divided into some 200 ethnic or tribal groups, are found in the
Democratic Republic of Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or the Congo, and formerly Zaire Zaire (, ), officially the Republic of Zaire (frenc ...

Democratic Republic of Congo
alone. The larger of the individual Bantu groups have populations of several million, e.g. the
Hutu The Hutu (), also known as the Abahutu, are a Bantu Bantu may refer to: *Bantu languages, constitute the largest sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages *Bantu peoples, over 400 peoples of Africa speaking a Bantu language *Afro-textured ha ...
of
Rwanda Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's b ...

Rwanda
and
Burundi Burundi (, ), officially the Republic of Burundi ( rn, Repubulika y’u Burundi, ; Swahili: Jamuhuri ya Burundi; french: link=no, République du Burundi, or ), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is ...

Burundi
(25 millions) the Shona of
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individ ...

Zimbabwe
, (15 million ), the
Zulu Zulu may refer to: Zulu people * Zulu Kingdom or Zulu Empire, a former monarchy in what is now South Africa * Zulu language, a Bantu language spoken in southern Africa * Zulu people, an ethnic group of southern Africa Arts, entertainment, and med ...
of
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
(12 million ) the Luba of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or the Congo, and formerly Zaire Zaire (, ), officially the Republic of Zaire (frenc ...

Democratic Republic of the Congo
(7 million ), the Sukuma of
Tanzania Tanzania (; ), officially the United Republic of Tanzania ( sw, Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa East Africa or Eastern Africa is the eastern subregion of the Africa Africa is the world's second-larges ...

Tanzania
(9 million ), the
KikuyuKikuyu or Gikuyu (Gĩkũyũ) may refer to: *Kikuyu people *Kikuyu language *Kikuyu, Kenya, a town in the Central Province *Kikuyu Central Association, a political organisation *Kikuyu Constituency, an electoral division in Kenya *Kikuyu grass, ''Pen ...
of Kenya (8.1 million ), or the
Xhosa Xhosa may refer to: * Xhosa people, a nation, and ethnic group, who live in south-central and southeasterly region of South Africa * Xhosa language, one of the 11 official languages of South Africa, principally spoken by the Xhosa people See also ...
people of Southern Africa (8.1 million as of 2011).


Origin of the name Bantu

The word ''Bantu'' for the language families and its speakers is an artificial term based on the reconstructed
Proto-Bantu Proto-Bantu is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Bantu languages The Bantu languages (English: , Proto-Bantu: *bantʊ̀) are a large family of languages In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related eith ...
term for "people" or "humans". It was first introduced (as ''Bâ-ntu'') by
Wilhelm Bleek Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek (8 March 1827 – 17 August 1875) was a German linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken langu ...

Wilhelm Bleek
in 1857 or 1858, and popularised in his ''Comparative Grammar'' of 1862. The name was coined to represent the word for "people" in loosely reconstructed
Proto-Bantu Proto-Bantu is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Bantu languages The Bantu languages (English: , Proto-Bantu: *bantʊ̀) are a large family of languages In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related eith ...
, from the plural
noun class In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic b ...
prefix '' *ba-'' categorizing "people", and the
root In vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from Greek τραχεῖα ἀρτηρία ''trācheia artēria'' 'windpipe' + φυτά ''phutá'' 'plants'), form a large grou ...
''*ntʊ̀ -'' "some (entity), any" (e.g. Zulu "person", "people", "thing", "things"). There is no native term for the peoples who speak Bantu languages, because they are not an
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
. 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. Bleek's coinage was inspired by the anthropological observation of groups self-identifying as "people" or "the true people". 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 Ubuntu ( ) is a Linux distribution A Linux distribution (often abbreviated as distro) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. E ...
, also known as ''hunhu'' in
Chishona Shona (; sn, chiShona) is a Bantu language of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. It was codified by the colonial government in the 1950s. According to ''Ethnologue'', Shona, comprising the Zezuru, Korekore and Karanga dialects, is spoken by about 7. ...
or ''botho'' in
Sesotho Sotho () or Sesotho () is a Southern Bantu languages, Southern Bantu language of the Sotho-Tswana languages, Sotho-Tswana (S.30) group, spoken primarily by the Basotho people, Basotho in Lesotho, where it is the national language, national an ...
, rather than just referring to all human beings. The root in
Proto-Bantu Proto-Bantu is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Bantu languages The Bantu languages (English: , Proto-Bantu: *bantʊ̀) are a large family of languages In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related eith ...
is reconstructed as ''*-ntʊ́''. Versions of the word ''Bantu'' (that is, the
root In vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from Greek τραχεῖα ἀρτηρία ''trācheia artēria'' 'windpipe' + φυτά ''phutá'' 'plants'), form a large grou ...
plus the class 2
noun class In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic b ...
prefix ''*ba-'') occur in all Bantu languages: for example, as ''bantu'' in
Kikongo Kongo or Kikongo is one of the Bantu languages The Bantu languages (English: , Proto-Bantu: *bantʊ̀) are a large family of languages In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity ...
and
Kituba Kituba ( mkw, Kituba, ktu, Kikongo ya leta) is a widely used lingua franca in Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by conventi ...
; ''watu'' in
Swahili Swahili may refer to: * Swahili language, a Bantu language official in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and widely spoken in the African Great Lakes * Swahili people, an ethnic group in East Africa * Swahili culture, the culture of the Swahili people * Sw ...
; ''anthu'' in
Chichewa Chewa (also known as Nyanja, ) is a Bantu language The Bantu languages (English: , Proto-Bantu: *bantʊ̀) are a large family of languages spoken by the Bantu peoples throughout sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically ...
; ''batu'' in
Lingala Lingala (Ngala) (Lingala: ''Lingála'') is a Bantu languages, Bantu language spoken throughout the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the capital Kinshasa, and the northern half of the Republic of the Congo. I ...

Lingala
; ''bato'' in Kiluba; ''bato'' in Duala; ''abanto'' in Gusii; ''andũ'' in Kamba and
KikuyuKikuyu or Gikuyu (Gĩkũyũ) may refer to: *Kikuyu people *Kikuyu language *Kikuyu, Kenya, a town in the Central Province *Kikuyu Central Association, a political organisation *Kikuyu Constituency, an electoral division in Kenya *Kikuyu grass, ''Pen ...
; ''abantu'' in
Kirundi Kirundi, also known as Rundi, is a Bantu language The Bantu languages (English: , Proto-Bantu: *bantʊ̀) are a large family of languages spoken by the Bantu peoples throughout sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically ...
,
Zulu Zulu may refer to: Zulu people * Zulu Kingdom or Zulu Empire, a former monarchy in what is now South Africa * Zulu language, a Bantu language spoken in southern Africa * Zulu people, an ethnic group of southern Africa Arts, entertainment, and med ...
,
Xhosa Xhosa may refer to: * Xhosa people, a nation, and ethnic group, who live in south-central and southeasterly region of South Africa * Xhosa language, one of the 11 official languages of South Africa, principally spoken by the Xhosa people See also ...
,
Runyakitara Runyakitara is a standard language, standardized language based on four closely related languages of western Uganda: *Nyoro language, Nyoro or ''Runyoro'' *Kiga language, Kiga (Chiga) or ''Rukiga'' *Nkore language, Nkore or ''Runyankole'' *Tooro ...
, and
Luganda The Ganda language or Luganda (, , ) is a Bantu language The Bantu languages (English: , Proto-Bantu: *bantʊ̀) are a large family of languages spoken by the Bantu peoples throughout sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa is, geograp ...
; ''wandru'' in Shingazidja; ''abantru'' in
Mpondo The Mpondo people, also called amaMpondo, are a Xhosa-speaking peoples found in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, more specifically what used to be the Transkei Transkei (, meaning ''the area beyond he riverKei''), officially the R ...
and
Ndebele Ndebele may refer to: *Southern Ndebele people, located in South Africa *Northern Ndebele people, located in Zimbabwe and Botswana About It is a language that stems from the South African Zulu language. With very similar clicking sounds between t ...
; ''bãthfu'' in
Phuthi Phuthi (''Síphùthì'') is a Nguni languages, Nguni Bantu language spoken in southern Lesotho and areas in South Africa adjacent to the same border. The closest substantial living relative of Phuthi is Swati language, Swati (or ''Siswati''), spo ...
; ''bantfu'' in Swati and
Bhaca The Bhaca people or amaBhaca are an eMbo ethnic group in South Africa. Background AmaBhaca were formerly known as the Zelemus or AbakwaZelemu between the 1700s until 1830 when they were formally referred to as AmaBhaca. They are the descenda ...
; ''banhu'' in kisukuma; ''banu'' in
Lala ''LaLa'' is a monthly Japanese manga magazine published by Hakusensha is a Japanese publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. ...
; ''vanhu'' in Shona and Tsonga; ''batho'' in
Sesotho Sotho () or Sesotho () is a Southern Bantu languages, Southern Bantu language of the Sotho-Tswana languages, Sotho-Tswana (S.30) group, spoken primarily by the Basotho people, Basotho in Lesotho, where it is the national language, national an ...
,
Tswana Tswana may refer to: * Tswana people, a Bantu people in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and other Southern Africa regions * Tswana language, the language spoken by the (Ba)Tswana people * Bophuthatswana, the former bantustan for ...
and
Northern Sotho Northern Sotho, or as an endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify a class or category of ...
; ''antu'' in
Meru Meru may refer to: Geography Kenya * Meru, Kenya, a city in Meru County, Kenya ** Meru County, created by the merger of *** Meru Central District *** Meru North District *** Meru South District * Meru people or Ameru, in the Republic of Kenya * M ...
; ''andu'' in
Embu Embu may refer to: Places ; in Brazil * Embu das Artes Embu das Artes, previously and commonly known simply as Embu, is a Brazilian Municipalities of Brazil, municipality in the State of São Paulo (state), São Paulo. It is part of the Metropol ...
; ''vandu'' in some
Luhya Luhya or Abaluyia may refer to: * Luhya people The Luhya (also known as ''Abaluyia'' or Luyia) comprise a number of ethnic groups native to western Kenya. They are divided into 20 culturally and linguistically related tribes. They number 19,823,8 ...
dialects; ''vhathu'' in
Venda Venda () was a Bantustan A Bantustan (also known as Bantu peoples, Bantu homeland, Black people, black homeland, Khoisan, black state or simply homeland; ) was a territory that the National Party (South Africa), National Party administr ...
and ''bhandu'' in Nyakyusa.


History


Origins and expansion

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 Cameroon (, french: Cameroun), officially the Republic of Cameroon (french: République du Cameroun, links=no), is a country in west 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West or Occident is one of the four cardinal direc ...

Cameroon
). They were supposedly spread across Central, Eastern and Southern Africa in the so-called
Bantu expansion The Bantu expansion was a major series of migrations of the original Proto-Bantu-speaking group, which spread from an original nucleus around West 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West is one of the four cardinal directi ...
, 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 Jan Vansina (14 September 1929 – 8 February 2017) was a Belgian historian and anthropologist regarded as an authority on the history of Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent A continent is one of ...
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. The geographical shape and course of the Bantu expansion remains debated. 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 The Congo Basin (french: Bassin du Congo) is the sedimentary basin Sedimentary basins are regions of the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface ...
towards
East Africa East Africa, Eastern Africa, or East of Africa is the eastern sub-region A subregion is a part of a larger region or continent and is usually based on location. Cardinal directions, such as south or southern, are commonly used to define a subr ...
, and another moving south along the African coast and the Congo River system towards Angola. Genetic analysis shows a significant clustered variation of genetic traits among Bantu language speakers by region, suggesting admixture from prior local populations. 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 The Great Lakes also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes, is a series of large interconnected freshwater lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land ...

Great Lakes
by 1000 BCE, expanding further from there, as the rich environment supported dense populations. 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. Recent archeological and linguistic evidence about population movements suggests that pioneering groups would have had reached parts of modern
KwaZulu-Natal KwaZulu-Natal (, also referred to as KZN and known as "the garden province"; zu, iKwaZulu-Natali; xh, KwaZulu-Natala; af, KwaZoeloe-Natal) is a province of South Africa that was created in 1994 when the Zulu Zulu may refer to: Zulu people ...
in South Africa sometime prior to the 3rd century AD along the coast, and the modern
Northern Cape The Northern Cape ( af, Noord-Kaap; xh, eMntla-Koloni; tn, Kapa Bokone) is the largest and most sparsely populated province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1) ...
by AD 500. 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 In anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, incl ...
groups in central Africa, the
Hadza people The Hadza, or Hadzabe, are a Tanzanian Tanzania (;This approximates the Kiswahili pronunciation. However, is also heard in English. ), officially the United Republic of Tanzania ( sw, Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East ...
in northern Tanzania, and various
Khoisan Khoisan , or (), according to the contemporary Khoekhoegowab The Khoekhoe language (), also known by the ethnic terms Nama (''Namagowab'') , Damara (''ǂNūkhoegowab''), or Nama/Damara and formerly as Hottentot, is the most widespread ...

Khoisan
populations across southern Africa retaining autonomous existence into the era of European contact. Archeological evidence attests to their presence in areas subsequently occupied by Bantu-speakers. Bantu-speaking migrants would have also interacted with some
Afro-Asiatic Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed lang ...

Afro-Asiatic
outlier groups in the southeast (mainly
Cushitic The Cushitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They are spoken primarily in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA) om, Gaafa Afrikaa, am, የአፍሪካ ቀንድ, yäafrika qänd, so, Geeska Afrika 𐒌𐒜 ...

Cushitic
),Toyin Falola, Aribidesi Adisa Usman, ''Movements, borders, and identities in Africa'', (University Rochester Press: 2009), pp.4-5. as well as
Nilotic The Nilotic peoples are peoples indigenous to the Nile Valley who speak Nilotic languages. They inhabit South Sudan South Sudan (), officially known as the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country in East Africa, East-Central Af ...
and
Central Sudanic Central Sudanic is a family of about sixty languages that have been included in the proposed Nilo-Saharan The Nilo-Saharan languages are a proposed family of African languages The languages of Africa are divided into several major Language ...
speaking groups. Cattle terminology in use amongst the relatively few modern Bantu pastoralist groups suggests that the acquisition of
cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large domestication, domesticated Cloven hoof, cloven-hooved herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae ...

cattle
may have been from
Central Sudanic Central Sudanic is a family of about sixty languages that have been included in the proposed Nilo-Saharan The Nilo-Saharan languages are a proposed family of African languages The languages of Africa are divided into several major Language ...
,
Kuliak The Kuliak languages, also called the Rub languages,Ehret, Christopher (2001) ''A Historical-Comparative Reconstruction of Nilo-Saharan'' (SUGIA, Sprache und Geschichte in Afrika: Beihefte 12), Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, . are a group of lang ...

Kuliak
and
Cushitic The Cushitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They are spoken primarily in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA) om, Gaafa Afrikaa, am, የአፍሪካ ቀንድ, yäafrika qänd, so, Geeska Afrika 𐒌𐒜 ...

Cushitic
-speaking neighbors. Linguistic evidence also indicates that the customs of milking cattle were also directly modeled from Cushitic cultures in the area. Cattle terminology in southern African Bantu languages differs from that found among more northerly Bantu-speaking peoples. 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. Under this hypothesis, larger later Bantu-speaking immigration subsequently displaced or assimilated that southernmost extension of the range of Cushitic-speakers.


Later history

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. Not far from the Mutirikiwi river, the
Monomatapa The Kingdom of Mutapa – sometimes referred to as the Mutapa Empire, Mwenemutapa, ( sn, Mwene we Mutapa, pt, Monomotapa) – was an African empire covering vast territories in what are now modern day Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and South Af ...

Monomatapa
kings built the
Great Zimbabwe Great Zimbabwe is an ancient city in the south-eastern hills of Zimbabwe near Lake Mutirikwe and the town of Masvingo. It is thought to have been the capital of a great kingdom, although which kingdom is not certain, during the country's Late I ...

Great Zimbabwe
complex, a civilisation ancestral to the
Kalanga people The Kalanga or Bakalanga are a southern Bantu Bantu may refer to: *Bantu languages, constitute the largest sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages *Bantu peoples, over 400 peoples of Africa speaking a Bantu language *Afro-textured hair#Styli ...
. Comparable sites in Southern Africa, include Bumbusi in Zimbabwe and Manyikeni in Mozambique. From the 12th century onward, the processes of state formation amongst Bantu peoples increased in frequency. 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. Some examples of such Bantu states include: in Central Africa, the
Kingdom of Kongo Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. L ...
, the
Kuba Kingdom The Kuba Kingdom, also known as the Kingdom of the Bakuba or Bushongo, is a traditional kingdom in Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , '' ...
, the
Lunda Empire
Lunda Empire
, the
Luba Empire The Kingdom of Luba or Luba Empire (1585–1889) was a pre-colonial Central African state that arose in the marshy grasslands of the Upemba Depression The Upemba Depression (or Kamalondo Depression) is a large marshy bowl area (Depression ( ...
, Tooro,
Bunyoro Bunyoro is a Bantu kingdom in Western Uganda. It was one of the most powerful kingdoms in Central and East Africa East Africa or Eastern Africa is the eastern subregion of the Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second ...
,
Buganda Buganda is a Bantu kingdom within Uganda Uganda (Ugandan Languages: Yuganda), officially the Republic of Uganda ( sw, Jamhuri ya Uganda), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an o ...
,
Busoga Busoga is a kingdom and one of four constitutional monarchies in present-day Uganda. The kingdom is a cultural institution which promotes popular participation and unity among the people of the region through development programs to improve their ...

Busoga
,
Rwanda Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's b ...
,
Burundi Burundi (, ), officially the Republic of Burundi ( rn, Repubulika y’u Burundi, ; Swahili: Jamuhuri ya Burundi; french: link=no, République du Burundi, or ), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is ...
,
Ankole Ankole ( Runyankore: ''Nkore''), was a traditional Bantu Bantu may refer to: *Bantu languages, constitute the largest sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages *Bantu peoples, over 400 peoples of Africa speaking a Bantu language *Afro-textured h ...
and in Southern Africa, the Mutapa Empire, the
Zulu Kingdom The Zulu Kingdom (, ), sometimes referred to as the Zulu Empire or the Kingdom of Zululand, was a monarchy in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent A continent is one of several larg ...
, the Ndebele Kingdom, Kingdom of Mapungubwe, Mapungubwe, the Kingdom of Butua, Maravi, Danamombe, Khami, Naletale, Kingdom of Zimbabwe and the Rozwi Empire. On the coastal section of East Africa, a mixed Bantu community developed through contact with Muslim Arab and Persian people, Persian traders, Zanzibar being an important part in the Indian Ocean slave trade. 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. With its original speech community centered on the coastal parts of Zanzibar, Kenya, and Tanzania – a seaboard referred to as the Swahili coast, Swahili Coast – the Bantu Swahili language contains many Arabic language, Arabic loan-words as a result of these interactions. The Bantu migrations, and centuries later, the Indian ocean slave trade, brought Bantu influence to Madagascar,Cambridge World History of Slaver
The Cambridge World History of Slavery: The ancient Mediterranean world. By Keith Bradley, Paul Cartledge. pg. 76
(2011), accessed February 15, 2012
the Malagasy people showing Bantu admixture, and their Malagasy language Bantu loans.On the Origins and Admixture of Malagasy: New Evidence from High-Resolution Analyses of Paternal and Maternal Lineages
/ref> 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. With the arrival of European colonialists, the Zanzibar Sultanate came into direct trade conflict and competition with Portugal, 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.


List of Bantu groups by country


Use of the term "Bantu" in South Africa

In the 1920s, relatively liberal South Africans, missionaries, and the small black intelligentsia began to use the term "Bantu" in preference to "Native". After World War II, the National Party (South Africa), 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. 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 Indian South Africans, Indians). 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.Defining the term 'Bantu'
/ref> Examples of South African usages of "Bantu" include: # 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. # 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. # The abstract noun ''Ubuntu (philosophy), ubuntu'', humanity or humaneness, is derived regularly from the Nguni languages, Nguni noun stem ''-ntu'' in Xhosa, Zulu, and Ndebele. In Swati the stem is ''-ntfu'' and the noun is ''buntfu''. # 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.


Gallery

File:Kongo people2.jpg, Kongo people, Kongo youth and adults in Kinshasa,
Democratic Republic of the Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or the Congo, and formerly Zaire Zaire (, ), officially the Republic of Zaire (frenc ...

Democratic Republic of the Congo
File:Kikyuyu-woman.jpeg, A Kikuyu woman in Kenya File:Mozambique001.jpg, A Makua people, Makua mother and child in Mozambique File:Bubi children.jpg, Bubi people, Bubi girls in Equatorial Guinea


See also

* African Pygmies * Bantu mythology *Bantu music * Congoid * Demographics of Africa * Genetic history of Sub-Saharan Africa * History of West Africa *
Khoisan Khoisan , or (), according to the contemporary Khoekhoegowab The Khoekhoe language (), also known by the ethnic terms Nama (''Namagowab'') , Damara (''ǂNūkhoegowab''), or Nama/Damara and formerly as Hottentot, is the most widespread ...

Khoisan
* Languages of Africa * List of ethnic groups of Africa


Notes


References

* Christopher Ehret, ''An African Classical Age: Eastern and Southern Africa in World History, 1000 B.C. to A.D. 400'', James Currey, London, 1998 * Christopher Ehret and Merrick Posnansky, eds., ''The Archaeological and Linguistic Reconstruction of African History'', University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1982 * April A. Gordon and Donald L. Gordon, ''Understanding Contemporary Africa'', Lynne Riener, London, 1996 * John M. Janzen, ''Ngoma: Discourses of Healing in Central and Southern Africa'', University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1992 * James L. Newman, ''The Peopling of Africa: A Geographic Interpretation'', Yale University Press, New Haven, 1995. . * Kevin Shillington, ''History of Africa'', 3rd ed. St. Martin's Press, New York, 2005 * Jan Vansina, ''Paths in the Rainforest: Toward a History of Political Tradition in Equatorial Africa'', University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1990 *
Jan Vansina Jan Vansina (14 September 1929 – 8 February 2017) was a Belgian historian and anthropologist regarded as an authority on the history of Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent A continent is one of ...
, "New linguistic evidence on the expansion of Bantu", ''Journal of African History'' 36:173–195, 1995


External links


bantu vibes
a Facebook page for Bantu people {{Authority control Bantu peoples,