The Pedi
South African Culture

Pedi was previously used to describe Sotho-speakers of Mpumalanga and Northern Province in South Africa. More recently, these groups have been renamed Northern Sotho. 

©Dr Peter Magubane
Pedi initiates circle an elder.

The Pedi, as more narrowly understood, are part of the Highveld Sotho who live on the plateau around Pietersburg. Other Northern Sotho subgroups, over many of whom the Pedi once held sway, are the Lowveld Sotho along and below the Drakensberg Escarpment, and the Eastern Sotho in the Mapulaneng district, towards Lydenburg.

Development in Pedi Society

Subsequent to their defeat at the hands of the British, the Pedi were relegated to a series of officially designated reserves. Foremost amon...more

Gender Division in Pedi Society

Pedi culture traditionally distinguished sharply between the sexes at all levels. This affected every sphere of their lives, from the knots ...more

History of the Pedi

By the height of their power the Pedi or Maroteng, under the leadership of Thulare (about 1790—1820), were launching frequent, successful ...more

Individual Development of the Pedi

Like other Bantu-speaking peoples, a Pedi marriage (lenyalo) does not just legalize a relationship between individuals: it is a group concer...more

Pedi Arts and Crafts

Important Pedi crafts include pottery, house-painting, woodworking (especially making drums), metalsmithing and beadwork. Traditional music ...more

Pedi Social Organisation

Like the Sotho and Tswana, the Pedi, in pre-conquest times, lived in large villages divided into kgoro groups centred on family clusters fav...more

Political Organisation of the Pedi

The Pedi once held sway over most of the area flanked by the Limpopo, Vaal and Komati rivers. Their power centralized in what is today known...more

The Female Pedi Initiation Process

On the day the male Pedi bogwera initiation session ended, the byale (the girls' initiation) began. Only girls who had undergone a puberty c...more

The Male Pedi Initiation Process

The timing of initiation, which was (and is) always in midwinter, was dependent on the presence of a high-ranking son or grandson of a chief...more

The Pedi of South Africa

According to oral tradition, the Pedi can be traced back to the Maroteng, an offshoot of the Kgatla, today an important component of the Tsw...more