Koena tribe

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Bakoena/Bakuena/Bakwena ("those who venerate the crocodile") are a large tribe in Southern Africa. They form part of the Sotho-Tswana people and can be found in different countries such as Lesotho, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland. Their main languages are Sesotho and Setswana.

Their earliest known history is that Koena was the younger brother of Mohurutshe and left his home with his followers because he did not want to be ruled by his sister. This occurred in the area of what is now Pretoria in the 1100s. Kuena and his followers settled at Tebang now called Hielderberg. At Tebang he had a son named Napo who further led the tribe to cross the Lekoa or Vaal river and settled at Ntsoana-Tsatsi with the Bafokeng.

"Koena" ("Kwena") is a Sesotho/Setswana word meaning "crocodile", and this animal is their totem.