Did you know?
baPedi potters use fresh riverbank clay, burnishing their products with seedpods.
South Africa's baPedi people are part of a 7-million-strong Sotho-speaking group that lives mostly in the Limpopo and North West provinces in the north of the country.
Their origins can be traced back to the Sotho people who migrated south from the Great Lakes more than 500 years ago, followed by generations of social unrest during the time of the Difaqane (‘the scattering of the people’) and later clashes with Boer Voortrekker settlers of the old Transvaal.
The baPedi traditionally lived in round huts of clay and cow dung, roofed with long grass. Their traditional choice of food (which is still popular today) is specially cooked spinach (morogo), samp, milk and maize.
A protein delicacy is roasted mopane worms, which, when toasted over an open fire as a dinner starter, have delighted many a visitor with their crispy crunch and nutty aftertaste.
BaPedi music – with home-crafted drums and flutes – is being revived by rural musicians in song and dance performances countrywide.
Modern baPedi cultural offerings include the excellent television production of Ntlolerole – Death of a Queen, based on Shakespeare's MacBeth and laced with mythological references to the African Rain Queen legends, all in the sonorous, deeply musical sePedi language.
The most joyous time in a baPedi village is when a 1st-time mother gives birth in her original family's home. She returns to her husband's home with the newborn baby and a party ensues.
If there are means available, her husband might even build her a new homestead in celebration of her 1st child. And when the village chief's wife has a baby, there is likely to be feasting and gift-giving within a week of the birth.
Although baPedi men sing about hunting lions as part of their work-song repertoire, killing a big cat, fortunately, is no longer a pre-requisite to becoming a man in this ever-evolving culture.
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