Language: The Bantu are a group of people known more as a language group than as a distinct ethnic group. The Bantu people are characterized by the word "ntu" in their languageand have similar social characteristics. These people are divided into three categories and each category has its own language as shown in the table below. There are many other languages.Bantu Languages
Southern Zulu, Swazi, Xhosa, Tswana, Basuto, Venda, Ndebele or Matabele, Pondo, Pedi
Central Shono, Bemba, Lozi
Eastern The Baganda, the Basoga, the Banyoro, the Batoro, andthe Banyankole in Uganda.
The Kikuyu, Luhya, Akamba, Meru, Embu, Taita, Giryama, Digo, Pokomo in Kenya
Nyamwezi, Chagga, Yao, Segeju, Zaramo inTanzania,
Today, among thedifferent black language groups, the most widely spoken language is Arab-influenced Swahili, which is used as a lingua franca (a language used in common by different peoples to facilitate commerceand trade) by up to 50 million speakers on the eastern coast of Africa.
Ethnic groups descended from the Black settlers include the Shona, the Xhosa, the Kikuyu, and the Zulu, of the EasternBantu language branch; and the Herero and Tonga peoples, of the Western language branch.
In the African culture, chiefdoms were based on control over cattle, which gave rise to socialsystems of protection (patronage) and hierarchies of authority within communities. The exchange of cattle formed the basis of polygamous marriage arrangements. This system operated on the basis ofsocial power built through control over the labour of kin groups and dependants.
The development of metalworking skills promoted specialisation of products and trade between regionsfollowed. The different chiefdoms settled in different patterns; dispersed homesteads were found in the fertile coastal regions to the east, and concentrated in towns in the desert fringes to the west.
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