Bakoena/Bakuena/Bakwena ("those who venerate the crocodile") are a large tribe in Southern Africa. They form part of the SeSotho-SeTswana people and can be found in different countries such as Lesotho, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland. Their main languages are Sesotho and Setswana.
Their earliest known history is that Koena was a senior son of Masilo1 the king of Bakoena around 1360 Ad. Kuena and his followers settled at Tebang now called Hielderberg. Around 1500 Ad Bakoena started splitting in the region from Lekoa or Vaal river to Kalahari (Botswana). Kgabo11 led a few group of Bakoena to found Bakgatla tribe a junior chief of the clan. As the result of a split several tribes were formed and settled in a circular shape with the paramount kwena settling at Ntsoana-Tsatsi with the Bafokeng around 1580 AD