WaYeyi People of Bostwana and Namibia.
By: Kwame Selikem Okatakyie Yeboah
WaYeyi People can be found in Bostwana and Namibia, they are also referred as Yeyi or Bayeyi People, they are part of the Bantu Speaking People and they are related to the Lozi People. It is said their language was strongly Influenced by the San People this Include the clicks, they grow crops such as Sorghum, Maize and Tobacco, Wayeyi under go Intiation known as Inshembiro which is a Intiation for the girls this Intiation also Include song, dancing, poetry, literature, artefacts they built RUETA a Culture Center. According to their Oral history they were the first Bantus who migrated to Present day Okavango delta, then moved to Present day Bostwana from Central Africa in the late 19th Century, It is believed the Tswana and Batwana conquered the land, later It is believed Setswana became one of the widely spread or dominant language, Others believed Wayeyi were originally known as Bayeyi and were part of the Kingdom of Lozi in the 18th Century and they migrated then settled in Ngamiland in Present day Botswana, they came acrossed Bakhakwe People, It is said Hankuzi intermarried with their women, It is said they have connection to Lozi and traced to the North during the Lozi Kingdom they traded mineral resources, tabacco for Iron. In the early 19th Century It is said Batswana arrived in Present day Ngamiland, Wayeyi were considered to be agricultural laborers during that period It is claimed Batswana offered them protection and WaYeyi once became a powerful household. In their tradition, they Inherit from their matrilineal line so they believed the Son of a Sister becomes a King, In Wayeyi Concept, God lived among human beings It is believed God became angry became human beings were wicked so before the arrival of Europeans they already believed In the Concept of Paradise, due to this Situation God left for Paradise, Ancestors are the guardian Angels and they strongly Influence the affairs of the living. According to Anthropologist Andrew Murray Wayeyi came to Present day Bostwana from Central Africa into present day Namibia around 1000 AD,
Wayeyi were the first Bantu Speakers to emigrate to Okavango delta, they found Basarwa also referred as Khosian of Xanikhwe ethnicity because of the lengthy stay with Basarwa to have clicks, the first group was led Chief Hankuze, they settled in Ncame also known as Lake Ngami where they hunted and did fishing, here they also met the Khosian then the second group was led by his brother called Qunku and his brother called Qunkunyane , this group came to delta and settled at Tubu and later Gumare, Karawanga referred as Nokaneng, Tijau referred as Tsau or Rlou. They later met with the Hankuze People, Matsharatshara led the last group with his brother with his brother known as Matshara and they came through Sankuyu, Matlapaneng area and finally settled in Botei area with Khoesan group, the three leaders were brothers Mataharatshara the eldest, followed by Hankude the 2nd born and Qunku the 3rd and last born. It is believed in Present day Namibia Matsharatshara stay behind as his brothers as his brothers fled to Lozi into Botswana and he is the descendant of Muyeyi Matsharatshara who was the 1st ruler of Wayeyi so the name of this ethnic group originated from his name which is Wayeyi but later others used the term Yeyi. In their Culture their main producers of the baskets are the women, the closed baskets with lid are used for storing grain, seed, sorghum beer, the large open shaped baskets are used used by women for food and other items, In their Culture they wear leather dresses called Mohamboro, Mawayawaya is a tradional cloth made up with reeds, they perform cultural dances such as Matoti, Madokota and KharaKhara, their staple food is known as Mwende also known as tswii a delicious recipe and their baskets are made up from palm trees. Seperu group of Wayeyi others used reeds as a dance tool, their speed and they way they moved their waists when performing. Women wear an attire which is made up of a number of Skirts that they tilt in the air, displaying the differernt colors underneath them , their traditional drummers would beat, clap their hands and sing louder during ceremonial celebrations.
The Chieftainship and the names of Provincal Chiefs.
1. Shikati- Beetsha
2. Shikati- Toteng
3. Shikati- Sehitwa
4. Shikati- Gumare
5. Shikati – Etsha
6. Shikati- Sepopa
7. Shikati- Shakawe
8. Shikati- Tsao
According to Thomas Larson account on Wayeyi People or Yeyi or Bayeyi People of Ngamiland, The Bayeyi of Ngamiland of Bostwans are a matrilineal, Bantu Speaking People It is believed they came from Ba Rotse Empire of Present day Zambia, the term ” Bayeyi” designates the people. The root word ” Yeyi” is used when speaking of one or several persons of the ethnic group, their language, which has Incoporated numerous San words with their clicks is called Seyeyi of the many tribal groups which make up the multi racial population of Ngamiland, Yeyi are the mosy numerious and creating objects is a technique that has been passed down to the generations of the Wayeyi clan and people who praticed for the past such as creating objects from wrought Iron by forging metala into hoes and axes, an acacia tree bellows made from cow hide known as Mouba It is believed it provide Oxygen to keep the Charcoal fire not, the fire which is used to smelt the metal, Sound of a hammer can he heard from a distance, Once a hammer lands on short piece of a broken rail the black smith knows very well it will
mend into any objects and this is where they make different Instruments and almost every one in the family knows how to pump up “Mouba” , but It is not everyone thst csn mend metals into objects such as hoe, spear or axe.