The Ntwana

© Dr Peter Magubane
Female Ntwana initiates.
Although classified as Northern Sotho, the Ntwana are believed to be of Tswana (Western Sotho) origin. They can be traced to the Bakwena-Bamangwato and were probably related to the Rolong. Until they purchased Kwarrielaagte in 1903, the Ntwana were constantly migrating from area to area, mixing with other groups. It was only when the Ndebele chief Mzilikazi attacked groups in the then Transvaal in the 19th century that the Ntwana, searching for protection, became influenced by Northern Sotho groups, particularly the Pedi.

Marriage in Ntwana Society

Marriage among the Ntwana is not an individual affair but a group concern, legalizing the relationship between relatives. It also confers adult status on the bride and groom....more

Ntwana Homesteads

The dwellings at Kwarrielaagte reflect the overall sense of community and solidarity among the Ntwana....more

Ntwana Rites of Passage

The role of Ntwana women as wives and mothers is reflected in changes in the traditional dress worn at different stages of development....more

The Ntwana People of South Africa

Kwarrielaagte in Mpumalanga province of South Africa is the chief village of the Ntwana. Purchased from a white farmer at the beginning of this century...more

The Ntwana Women

Women in particular epitomize and reflect the unchanging ethos of the Ntwana. Their modes of dress, the objects they produce and the rites they perform reinforce their role as the upholders of tradition...more

Traditional Beliefs of the Ntwana

For the Ntwana, rain is not merely the physical source of regeneration. It is also the symbol of spiritual fertility and a sign that nature and society are in harmony....more