Some notes on the early history of the Tembe, 1280 AD-1800 AD
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The Tembe tribe, which resides south of Maputo Bay, originates from the present day Zimbabwe and is also linked through archaeological evidence to the ancient state of Mapungubwe. It migrated to Mozambique and later occupied the land south of Maputo Bay, straddling between Mozambique and South Africa, from Mkhuze and Maputo. The list of its rulers has been confused over the years due to the repetition over various generations of most of the names and distortion of some of the names to suit the Tsonga language (or its Rhonga dialect), which the Tembe adopted in later years. A close look at the names, however, does give a chronology of the history of the tribe from its breakaway from the Mapungubwe. Therefore, the focus of this article is on the time of the breakaway to the end of the 18th century, when it was in its apogee with a recognised kingdom. It looks into the migration route from Mapungubwe and the succession history of the ruling lineage during this period. The article helps to boost the understanding of the Tembe’s Kalanga links and could help assist future research of other Kalanga migrations to the south around the same period.