Tswana man from Botswana holding his baby in an affectionate way.

Tswana man from Botswana holding his baby in an affectionate way.

Tswana man from Botswana holding his baby in an affectionate way.

Tswana people are Niger-Congo or Bantu-speaking people including all the Sotho-Tswana clans residing either in Botswana, Lesotho or South Africa, any member of the Sotho-Tswana clans that trace their origin from Kgosi Mokgatle, citizen of Botswana regardless of linguistic or ethnic origin, members of the eight major Sotho-Tswana clans as defined in the Chieftainship Act of Botswana and members of the Sotho-Tswana clans that reside in Botswana, South Africa that speak a standardized dialect of the Sotho-Tswana called Setswana sometimes also referred to as the Western Sotho.
The ethnonym Batswana (Western Sotho) is thought to be antonyms that come from meaning of the Sotho-Tswana word “tswa”, which means “to come out of”. The name would be derived from the word “Ba ba tswang” eventually shortened to the word Batswana meaning “The Separatists” or alternatively “the people who cannot hold together”.

The Sotho-Tswana group includes the Basotho of Lesotho and the Orange Free State, to whom the term 'Sotho' has come to be more specifically and almost exclusively applied. This group is sometimes referred to as the 'Southern Sotho'. A third group comprises the Northern Sotho who at times have been incorrectly referred to as the Bapedi. One of the chief characteristics of the Sotho-Tswana clans is the tendency to break up and hive off.
Currently there are over 16 million Tswanas living in Batswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The largest population of Tswanas live in South Africa. Botswana is a country of Be-Tswana people, one member of this country is Mo-Tswana and their language is Se-Tswana.


Tswana dancers from Botswana. They speak Setswana {’Sechuana’} and Sesotho sa Lebowa. Setswana is sometimes referred to as Beetjuans, Chuana (hence Bechuanaland), Coana, Cuana, or Sechuana. It is spoken across South Africa and is one of the 11 official languages recognized by the South African Constitution, it is also the national and majority language of Botswana. In 2006 it was determined that over 3 million South Africans speak Setswana as a home language.Tswana was the one of the first written Sotho languages. The earliest example being Heinrich Lictenstein’s 1806 text called Upon the Language of the Beetjuana. Followed by John Cambell’s Bootchuana words (1815) and Burchell’s Botswana in 1824.
The languages of the Sotho-Tswana and other Bantu-speakers have a number of common features - they are agglutinative in construction, nearly all the words ending in vowels or with a nasal consonant, nouns do not indicate masculine or feminine gender, and these nouns are highly alliterative in character owing to an elaborate system of noun classes functioning in much the same way that gender does in European languages.
Also, there are similarities in idiom which are not easy to express in a precise manner

BY: Kweku Darko Ankrah

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