The second group to arrive in Southern Africa after the Khoi and San are the precursor people who made up Vatsonga.
The Sala groups are the first Tsonga group to arrive in Southern Africa, they settled into now (Natal) around 200 AD. This is a distinct group of Vatsonga that moved into the Pongola area and Manguzi before the Nguni arrived. Traces of Sala groupings are found amongst the Mthethwa, Cele, Mukhavele, Magoda and Mthembu. The Mazibuko groups of Vatsonga also have traces of Sala groupings. Sala groupings have always maintained their Tsonga geology throughout the immigration processes and even during the Mfencane displacement.
In conclusion, the area of Kwazulu-natal in the current form is integral part of Tsonga history, the land mass used to be a territory of the Maputsu Tembe Kingdom. Vatsonga have occupied the area before the arrival of Ngunis from the west. Vatsonga have always been coastal people.
The House of Va Ka Tembe is the heart of Tsonga discourse and its survival has to do with the power of Tsonga women who have kept the fire burning for two centuries after the Mfecene displacement and the Berlin border process, which divided the family into South Africa and Mozambique respectively. The Tembe in RSA only have their culture, which is Tsonga, but majority have lost their language due to the Bantustan process that left them in Kwazulu-natal and their children forced to learn Isizulu instead of Xitsonga. The Tembe are the second group to arrive and went further into the Delagoa Bay following Sala groupings. The Tembe arrival of Maputsu can be traced back around 500AD in accordance with Maputsu lineage.
Ndlopfu (Ndlovu) Nkomati groups
The Nkomati groupings can be divided into Mundlovhu, Sambo, Ntimani, Siweya, Maringa, Nzimande and Mathye. This Tsonga grouping has always lived side by side with the Tembe and their main house was first situated in today’s Swaziland near the House of Ngomani and Mnisi. They have very close relations with the House of N’wamba and the Khoseni. These groups assimilated into mainstream Tsonga with Ndzawu origin, and the Tsonga have always regarded Ndzawu as sub group of Tsonga; and as such, the Ndzawu has a language status just like many Tsonga sub groups and are Tsonga in relation to culture. Almost every Tsonga has Ndzawu ancestors.
Khubayi – Ngomani – Xika – Hlanganu- Mnisi
This group arrived into the Southern Africa following the Tembe and they settled in Swaziland before the arrival of the Dlamini royal family, they were displaced when the Dlamini’s (the Dlamini arrived from Xai Xai and their language variant of Mbo was mixed with Ronga and Nguni and it became Siswati as it is known) arrived and they moved into the side of Nkomati to live near Nkomati groups. Some moved with Nkomati groupings into Ladenburg (Mashishi), with some later settling near the Drakensberg Mountains.
The Hlengwe house is divided into two houses:
The house of Madzive
The house of Madzive is mainly found in Mozambique, they are in the Inhambane province (Nyembani), Manica and some in Gaza province. It is considered a senior house of Hlengwe Chauke, it must be noted that they have refused to be labeled Shangaans or Amashangaan throughout because they had minimum interaction with Soshangani people, and had minimum exposure to the propaganda of Gazankulu.
The house of Xigombe is found in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. They have villages with relatively same names in all countries. You will find Mdavula village in RSA and also in Mozambique, or a Xikwalakwala village in Mozambique and also in Zimbabwe.
The Xigombe have always confused themselves in relation to identity due to their Grandfather Mavasa and some have tried to trace their roots in Zululand. Mavasa of Hlengwe has no relation with Mabaso of Khumalo, and some Vahlengwe have referred to themselves as Mlilo in trying to build a close link with vuZulu (Nguni). It must be noted that the Hlengwe are Tsonga and arrived in South Africa around 700 AD. Vahlengwe are the main traders who traded with Indians and Arab traders in Vilankuli and other areas of Vutsonga. When the Hlengwe arrived, the Nguni were still in West Africa.
Mukhari Xilumani (Njakanjaka)
It is regarded as the main house of Vatsonga with a distinct variant of Xidzonga. They arrived into Transvaal around 1100 and settled in Xikopeni and surrounding areas. They had a huge following with clan names like Ngomani, Vukeya, Mashaba amongst the Tsongas that arrived with them from Vutsonga.
Vutsonga byi hlola swo saseka.
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