KontreiKiekies Kinderogies - The eyes of a child

Rina Greeff

Jansenville, South Africa

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Artist's Description

’n Foto van ’n Xhosadogtertjie op ’n plaas naby Cradock in die Oos-Kaap van Suid-Afrika.

A picture of a fiveyear old Xhosa girl on a farm near Cradock in the East Cape of South Africa.

The Xhosa people of today have developed from an early clan of the Nguni people. Their oral traditions tell us that the name ‘Xhosa’ comes from a legendary leader called uXhosa. The Xhosa comprise a set of clan lineages, among whom the main groups are Bhaca, Bomvana, Mfengu, Mpondo, Mpondomise, Xesibe, and Thembu. They are the most southern group of the Black migrations from Central Africa into the southern Africa areas.

The Xhosa people speak a language called “Xhosa” which is known as a “click” language, having three basic clicks. The Nguni languages are unique in the use of click sounds as consonants. These sounds were borrowed from the Khoisan languages of the original inhabitants of the area, the Khoikhoi and San families. Xhosa is very close to Zulu and the two are largely mutually-intelligible. The x in Xhosa represents a click like the sound used in English spur a horse on, followed by aspiration (a release of breath represented by the h). In English the name is commonly pronounced with an English k sound for the x.

The Xhosa were herders and farmers. But today they are involved in a wide range of activities and livelihoods. Children are usually named by their fathers or grandparents and all names have special meanings. When a woman marries, her mother-in-law gives her a new name. When children are old enough to attend school, they are often given an English name.

Camera HP Photosmart C945

Artwork Comments

  • Maree Clarkson
  • Rina Greeff
  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • Rina Greeff
  • Magriet Meintjes
  • Rina Greeff
  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • Rina Greeff
  • Johanna26
  • Rina Greeff
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