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[pronunciation?], also known as the Bakalanga[pronunciation?], Bakalaka[pronunciation?], 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).

Present day, the Kalanga and the Karanga, the largest group of the (Eastern) Shona, are two different groups. In historical tradition, the groups are sometimes confused; as the Shona sound r generally represents an l-sound of other languages, "Kalanga" and "Karanga" etymologically are merely phonetic variants of the same name.


The Kalanga, or western Shona, are not related to the Mashona. They mainly inhabit Zimbabwe and Botswana. Probably, they were split from the Venda by the civil war in the 16th century. They are estimated to number around 850,000 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 and/or Karanga are linked to such early African states as Mapungubwe, Khami, and the Rozvi empire.

They first settled in Mapungubwe in South Africa, the first Kalanga state. They later moved to present day Masvingo region and the Torwa dynasty founded an empire, Great Zimbabwe was the capital of. Peace and prosperity prevailed over the next two centuries. In the 15th century, the centre of power moved to Khami, in the 17th to Danangombe (Dhlodhlo). The moves were accompanied by changes of the dominance from one clan to another. In the 17th century, the Rozvi state under Mwenemutapa became a powerful competitor, controlling most of the mining areas. The Rozwi even repelled Portuguese colonists from some of their inland posts.

In south-western Zimbabwe (now Matabeleland) and adjacent parts of present-day Botswana, Karanga/Kalanga states survived for more than another century. 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 Mzilikazi's Amandebele.

Finally, Zimbabwe plateau and Lowveld as well as Botswana basin were subdued to British rule by Cecil Rhodes.

Bakalanga villages and towns[edit]

-Tutume -Maitengwe -Nswazwi -Nshakazhogwe -Matenge -Makaleng -Tjizwina -Hulela -Mpatane -Mathangwane -Masunga -Gambule -Vhukwi -Zwenshambe -Matobo -Marapong -Masingwaneng -Tsamaya -Mosetse -Dagwi -Nkange -Senete -Gulubane -Themashanga -Ntoli -Nlphwane -Gampo -Khame -Kgari -Moroka -Sechele -Letsholathebe -Kalakamati -Goshwe -Plumtree --Francistown -Palapye -Madlambudzi -Ndlolwane -Masendu -Pagani -Makhekhe -Gala -Bilingoma -Sihore -Malalume -Malopa -Bambadzi -Hingwe- -Jutjume -Makhulela -Tjihanga -Mbalambi


  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


  • David N. Beach: The Shona and Zimbabwe 900–1850. Heinemann, London 1980 und Mambo Press, Gwelo 1980, ISBN 0-435-94505-X

External links[edit]