Koena tribe

  (Redirected from Bakwena)

Bakoena/Bakwena ("those who venerate the crocodile") are a large clan in Southern Africa. They form part of the SeSotho-SeTswana 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 a grandson of Masilo I, the king of Bakoena around AD 1360. Koena and his followers settled at Tebang, now called Heidelberg. Around AD 1500, Bakoena started spreading in the region, from the Lekwa or Vaal river to Kalahari (Botswana). Kgabo II led a small group of Bakoena to found a tribe on the lands of the Bakgatla tribe which they drove away. As the result of a split, several tribes were formed and settled in a circular way, with the paramount Kwena settling at Ntsoana-Tsatsi with the Bafokeng around AD 1580.

"Koena" ("Kwena") is a Sotho/Tswana word meaning "crocodile", the crocodile(kwena) is also their totem.

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