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Archaeology and Early Venda History

Jannie H. N. Loubser
Goodwin Series
Vol. 6, Goodwin's Legacy (Jun., 1989), pp. 54-61
DOI: 10.2307/3858132
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3858132
Page Count: 8
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Archaeology and Early Venda History
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Abstract

Two schools of thought have dominated interpretations of Venda history: an early school suggesting a central African origin for the 'real' Venda, and the current school emphasizing local origins. The paper presents an archaeological evaluation of the competing hypotheses. Dated ceramic styles and settlement patterns strongly suggest that Shona-speaking people ruled north of the Soutpansberg at least since the twelfth century, while Sotho speakers probably lived in the Soutpansberg since the early fourteenth century. By the mid-fifteenth century Shona-speaking immigrants from Zimbabwe settled in the northern Transvaal and interacted with the local Shona and Sotho inhabitants. As a result of this interaction, Shona and Sotho communities developed a common Venda identity by the mid-sixteenth century. The archaeological results thus support the current notion of local origins.

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