The Tswana people are a Bantu-speaking ethnic group native to Southern Africa, with the largest number of ethnic Tswana people located in modern-day South Africa. They are one of the largest ethnic groups in the country, and the Tswana language is one of eleven official languages in South Africa. The Tswana people are the westerly division of the Sotho, a Bantu-speaking people of South Africa and Botswana. The Tswana comprise several groupings, the most important of which, numerically speaking, are the Hurutshe, Kgatla, Kwena, Rolong, Tlhaping, and Tlokwa. They numbered about four million at the turn of the 21st century.

Language and Culture

The Tswana language is closely related to Sotho, and the two are mutually intelligible in most areas. Tswana is sometimes referred to as Beetjuans, Chuana (hence Bechuanaland), Coana, Cuana, or Sechuana1. It is spoken across South Africa and is one of the 11 official languages recognized by the South African Constitution, it is also the national and majority language of Botswana. In 2006 it was determined that over 3 million South Africans speak Setswana as a home language.

The Tswana people have a rich cultural heritage that is still celebrated today. Historically, the Tswana have lived in a grassland environment, practicing animal husbandry and subsistence agriculture based on corn (maize) and sorghum. Tswana material culture reflects the widespread intrusion of European goods and standards. Traditional housing forms range from the traditional circular single-roomed dwelling with conical thatched roof to multiroomed rectangular houses with roofs of corrugated iron. Transport varies from ox-drawn sledges to motor vehicles. European dress prevails.

The Tswana people have a rich tradition of music and dance. The traditional music of the Tswana people is characterized by the use of drums, rattles, and other percussion instruments. The dance is an important part of Tswana culture, and it is used to celebrate important events such as weddings, funerals, and other social gatherings. The Tswana people also have a rich tradition of storytelling, which is used to pass down their history and culture from generation to generation.

Beliefs and Practices

The Tswana people have a rich spiritual tradition that is still practiced today. The Tswana seek medical help from a number of sources, including clinics and hospitals, traditional practitioners, and Christian healers. Most Tswana today belong to African Independent churches that incorporate Christian and non-Christian practices, beliefs, and symbols. More immediate and having a greater influence in daily affairs were the ancestors, Badimo. The Tswana people believe in a supreme being, Modimo, who is responsible for the creation of the universe and all living things. They also believe in the existence of ancestral spirits, who are believed to have the power to influence the lives of the living.

The Tswana people have a rich tradition of traditional medicine, which is still practiced today. Traditional healers, known as sangomas, are highly respected members of Tswana society. They are believed to have the power to communicate with the ancestors and to use this power to heal the sick. Traditional medicine is still widely used in Tswana society, and many people prefer it to Western medicine.


In conclusion, the Tswana people have a rich cultural heritage that is still celebrated today. They have a rich tradition of music, dance, and storytelling, and their spiritual beliefs and practices are still an important part of their daily lives. The Tswana people have made significant contributions to the cultural heritage of South Africa, and their traditions and customs continue to be celebrated and passed down from generation to generation.