August 11, 2013

0790 SOUTH AFRICA - Shangaan warriors

The Tsonga people inhabit the southern coastal plain of Mozambique, parts of Zimbabwe and Swaziland, and Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province of South Africa. The Tsongas are a diverse population, generally including the Shangaan, Thonga, Tonga, and several smaller ethnic groups. Actually depending on the ethnic groups included in Tsongas can say that are between 4.5 and 13 million, so they are a minority in one country, but a majority in the subcontinent. Although many of them are Christians, many also adhere to their own traditional religion, which entails constant attention to the propitiation of ancestral spirits.

It seems that ancestors of the Tsonga originate further north, and entered to the former Transvaal during the 18th century, as traders who followed rivers inland, where they bartered cloth and beads for ivory, copper and salt. The Shangaan tribe came into being when King Shaka of the Zulu sent Soshangane (Manukosi) to conquer the Tsonga people in the area of present-day southern Mozambique, during the Mfecane upheaval of the 19th century. So the Shangaan are a mixture of Nguni (a language group which includes Swazi, Zulu and Xhosa), and Tsonga speakers, which Soshangane conquered and subjugated. Young Tsonga men were assigned to the army as mabulandlela (those who open the road), adopted Shaka's military system and taught the Zulu ways of fighting.

The Tsonga-Shangaan homeland, Gazankulu, was carved out of northern Transvaal Province during the 1960s and was granted self-governing status in 1973. This bantustan's economy depended largely on gold and on a small manufacturing sector. Traditionally, each Tsonga family had its own 'village' composed of a few houses and a kraal, surrounded by the fields and grazing areas. From 1964, the government started resettling the people in rural villages of 200 to 400 families. These resettlements brought tremendous changes in the life of the people, some for the better (roads, schools, water, etc), some for the worse (scattering of the enlarged family, lack of privacy, problems with cattle, distance form the fields).

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series Beadwork, about which I wrote here.

The second is part of the series Fauna and Flora - Fish, designed by Chris van Rooyen and issued on November 1, 2000:
• Paracanthurus hepatus (0.05 ZAR)
• Acanthurus lineatus (0.10 ZAR)
• Pygoplites diacanthus (0.20 ZAR)
• Pomacanthus imperator (0.30 ZAR)
• Rhinecanthus aculeatus (0.40 ZAR)
• Cephalopholis miniatus (0.50 ZAR)
• Acanthurus leucosternon (0.50 ZAR)
• Chaetodon auriga (0.70 ZAR) - It's on the postcard 0790
• Lactoria cornuta (0.80 ZAR)
• Forcipiger flavissimus (0.90 ZAR) - It's on the postcard 2394
• Centropyge bispinosus (1.00 ZAR)

This is a post for Sunday Stamps #133, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is: really colorful stamps. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.

Tsonga people - Wikipedia
Shangaan-Tsonga - Kruger National Park official site
South Africa 8th Definitive Issue - Beadwork - Definitive World

Sender: Ruhan Robinson (direct swap)
Sent from Boksburg (Gauteng / South Africa), on 26.07.2013
Photo: Denny Allen 

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