The Tswana
South African Culture

©Dr Peter Magubane
A male Tswana initiate.

The Tswana are part of the Sotho, with three broad divisions — Basotho - Southern Sotho, Pedi - Northern Sotho, and Tswana - Western Sotho.

The Tswana historically lived on the Highveld, with the Basotho. From the mid 1800s, many Sotho chiefdoms in the western Highveld began to regard themselves as part of a larger Tswana group in the colonial Bechuanaland - now Botswana.

This accounts for variations in dialect, social structure and culture among the many Tswana groups that persist today.

Marriage in Tswana Society

Traditionally a man's first wife was selected for him; if he could afford more than one wife, he chose others himself....more

Rural Life of the Tswana People

Tswana settlements are quite unusual in Southern Africa for their large but compact size, a result, at least in part, of their arid environm...more

Status in Tswana Society

A Tswana woman is a perpetual minor who is subject to the authority of male guardians (her father, brother or maternal uncle until marriage;...more

The Diversification of the Tswana

According to oral tradition, they were among the Bantu-speakers who came from the vicinity of the East African Great Lakes (Victoria and Tan...more

Tswana Social Organisation

The Tswana in South Africa previously fell under the Bophuthatswana Bantustan's homeland administration....more