African women
African woman in the village grinding traditionally some seeds

Bapedi, Marota, Bamaroteng, Basotho and previously also referred to as Northern Sotho can be traced as early as the 18th century. Through migration they settled north of the Vaal River to what is now known as the Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West provinces of South Africa. They formed what is known as dikgoro (extended family clusters) and distinguished themselves as tau (lion), kwena (crocodile) and others which is a symbolic allegiance to that totemic animal.

The Maroteng who were descendants of Tswana speaking Kgatla developed into a powerful Pedi paramountcy through generations, linguistic, and cultural homogeneity between the 16th century and the 18th century. Thulare was paramount chief in the early 18th century and was succeeded by Sekwati who notably battled with Mzilikazi during the Matabele wars. Sekhukhuneland is named after Sekwati’s son, Sekhukhune I.

In this modern age, Bapedi are predominantly found in northern parts of South Africa and a minority group in the rest of the SADC region. They account for close to 5 million people majority in South Africa with minority groups in Zimbabwe and Botswana.

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