Kalanga people

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Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Zimbabwe 700,000[1]
 Botswana 150,000[1]
African Traditional Religion, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Other Bantu peoples

The Kalanga, also known as the Bakalanga, 'Bakalaka', are one of the first Bantu speaking tribes to migrate to present day Botswana, followed by the Bakgalagadi and then the Batswana (Bakwena who then split). The Kalanga had first settled in Mapungubwe in South Africa, the first Kalanga state. They later moved to the Great Zimbabwe ruins site in Masvingo Zimbabwe. After sometime they moved to Khami finally ending up in Botswana. However wherever they went they left relics of their masonry and at every site a group of the Kalanga remained. The Khami state occupied south-western Zimbabwe (now Matabeleland) and adjacent parts of present day Botswana.


The Kalanga, or western Shona, are closely related to the Mashona. They mainly inhabit Zimbabwe and Botswana. When they arrived in northeastern Botswana and southwestern Zimbabwe, they had already split from the Shona. They are estimated to number around 600,000 today.[citation needed]

The Kalangas are one of the largest minority groups in Botswana. The 1946 census indicated that there were 22,777 (40% of the numerically largest district) Kalanga in the Bamangwato (Central) District.[2]

The Kalanga are linked to such early African states as Mapungubwe, Khami, and the Rozvi empire. By 1690, the Portuguese had been forced off the plateau and much of the land formerly under Mwenemutapa was controlled by the Rozwi. The Kalanga dynasties fractured into autonomous states, many of which later formed the Rozwi empire. Peace and prosperity prevailed over the next two centuries, while the centres of Dhlo-Dhlo, Khami, and Great Zimbabwe reached their peaks. The Mwenemutapa citadel and palace were taken over by the Rozwi, whose Changamila extended his control over the mining area.

The fall of the Kingdom of Butua came as a result of a series of invasions, beginning with the Bangwato Kgosi Kgari's ill-fated incursion of around 1828 and culminating in the onslaught of Mzilakazi's Amandebele.


  1. ^ a b Lewis, M. Paul (2009). "Kalanga 'The cultural people'". Ethnologue. SIL International. Retrieved October 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ Mpho, 1987: This excluded those in the North-east District

BAKALANGA VILLAGES -Tutume -Maitengwe -Nswazwi -Nshakazhogwe -Matenge -Makaleng -Tjizwina -Hulela -Mpatane -Mathangwane -Masunga -Gambule -Vhukwi -Zwenshambe -Matobo -Marapong -Masingwaneng -Tsamaya -Mosetse -Dagwi -Nkange -Senete -Gulubane -Themashanga -Kgari -Moroka -Sechele -Letsholathebe -Kalakamati -Goshwe -Plumtree -Gweru -Francistown -Palapye Madlambudzi

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