The name Xhosa is a general term, used for an assortment of noble clans of Nguni descent, the Pondo, Bomvana, Thembu and the Xhosa tribe itself. The Xhosa-speaking peoples or Cape Nguni inhabit the Eastern Cape, from the KwaZulu-Natal border to the Eastern Cape Zuurveld.
Historically they were hunters, herders and subsistence farmers, who were organized in more or less politically independent chiefdom clusters, each recognizing a paramount chief. Xhosa, like Nguni, a linguistic rather than an ethnic term, was the dialect spoken in the valleys of the Fish, Keiskamma and Buffalo rivers.
The first group of Nguni immigrants to arrive in South Africa consisted of the Xhosa tribe - made up of the Gcaleka, Ngqika, Ndlambe and Dushane clans, the Thembu and Pondo. Later a second group of Nguni speakers arrived into Zululand, but were chased out by King Shaka. They were known as Mfengu and became assimilated within the Xhosa nation. These early immigrants formed the backbone of the Xhosa nation, the second largest group of people in South Africa. They are a justifiably proud nation, as they have never been enslaved or defeated by any other tribe.