The Bantu

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LESSON PLAN
GRADE 11 HISTORY.
TOPIC: BANTU MIGRATIONS INTO CENTRAL AFRICA BEFORE
1800.
OBJECTIVES: Pupils should be able to:
Define the term “ Bantu”
Define the term “ Migration”
Explain the origin of the Bantu.
Explain the causes of the migration and settlement of the
Bantu
Describe the ways of life of the Bantu.
ORIGIN
Bantu is a common term used to refer to the over 400 different ethnic groups of Africa stretching from south of the Sahara desert to South Africa that have similar languages and to some extent customs. Their movements are called migrations their large scale movements over long distances. It is important however to understand that these movement did not occur at once. They took place in phases.

The Bantu speaking people were part of the Iron Age people from the Middle East. They settled along the banks of the River Nile. Later, they moved to North Africa and occupied some areas in the Sahara grasslands. From here, they moved to the area around Lake Chad, Nigeria and the Cameroon highlands area called the Benue-Cross region. However, some settled in the great lakes region in east Africa.

These people were given the name ‘Bantu’ because of the
similarities that were noticed in their languages. For example, the prefix ‘ba-’ and the suffix ‘-ntu’ was common among the languages they spoke. To illustrate this, look at the table below which shows translations of the word ‘person’ and ‘people’ into some Zambian Bantu languages:

1

Language
Lozi
Tonga
Bemba
Kaonde
Tumbuka

Singular
Mutu
Muntu
Umuntu
Muntu
muntu

Plural
Batu
Bantu
Abantu
Bantu
antu

CAUSES

The drying up of the Sahara grasslands. This led the groups that practiced agriculture to migrate in search of new fertile land and water for farming.
There was population increase. This created pressure on the
causing others to migrate in search for new land.
Occupation, agriculture, hunting, blacksmith etc.
Succession disputes in some cases led to the migration of some groups. This normally happened when a king died and members
of the royal family quarreled about who should succeed.
Convicted people or criminals migrated in order to run away
from being punished or killed.
Tribal wars caused migrations as defeated tribes ran away from powerful ones for safety.
Slave trade contributed to the migrations in that in order to avoid being attacked and sold as slaves, some groups were
forced to migrate to new areas.
Some groups or individuals migrated merely for adventure.
They did this so that they could explore and see what other
lands were like.
Ambition
Another reason that led to the Bantu migrations was
that of expansion. Some rulers wanted to expand their
kingdoms and therefore migrated in search of new areas.

2

THE COURSE AND EXAMPLES OF THE GROUPS THAT
MIGRATED

1. = 3000 - 1500 BC origin
2 = ca.1500 BC first migrations
2.a = Eastern Bantu, 2.b = Western Bantu
3. = 1000 - 500 BC Urewe nuclus of Eastern Bantu
4. - 7. southward advance
9. = 500 BC - 0 Congo nucleus
10. = 0 - 1000 AD last phase

3

First group
Passed through Congo Forest, avoided Zaire River and settled in Katanga or Shaba.
This was about the 5th century.
They settled here because of the fertile land, good rainfall, minerals, and grazing land.
Interacted with the Portuguese who introduced them to new
crops like, maize, sweet potatoes, and bananas.

Second group
Migrated around the 14th century.
Settled western side of Lake Malawi.
The descendants of this group are the Tumbuka, Nsenga, Kamanga and Tonga of Malawi.
Another group of the Shona, Rozwi, and Karanga took a short cut, crossed the Zambezi River and settled in Mashonland.
Third group
This group had the Sotho and Nguni and went north east via Tanzania through the western side of Lake Malawi.
They settled in Mashonaland.
Here, they were forced out by the Rozwi, Shona and the Karanga. The group went to settle in South Africa.
This was between 9th...
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