The Beauty of BaKalanga Culture

The BaKalanga or TjiKalanga speaking people are predominantly found in areas of South-Western Zimbabwe, northern and north-western Botswana. In Zimbabwe, the BaKalanga have been around the areas of Bulilima-Mangwe, Tsholotsho, and Matobo Districts for over a thousand years. In this documentary, we get to learn about the history, food, rain-making functions, and important cultural lessons about the BaKalanga. Interesting to note is the role played by their last king, Tjibundule in encountering soldiers from the Mutapa State, the importance of rain-making ceremonies and shrines such as Manyangwa, Njelele, Zhilo to name but a few. For the BaKalanga, rain-making ceremonies have been part of their culture since time immemorial and this ritual is performed just before the start of the rainy season. The Wosana plays an important role in asking for rain.

Within the food dimension, we get to learn the importance of Nzembwe (pearl millet) within their culture, the modalities involved in preparing nyembe (leaves of black-eyed beans), and the diverse fruit collection involving matamba, matogwe and n’hehe. On the breakfast side, we get to learn how the juice of mpale (dried melon) was utilized as a form of tea, which was consumed with Tjimoni (a mixture of beans, groundnuts and peanuts) or Samoni. Our guests also share their personal experiences growing up and how herding cattle was an important life lesson, both for girls and boys. Cattle wasn’t just seen as livestock but an important platform for learning several life lessons like; patience, time management and discipline.

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