THE HISTORY OF XHOSA TOPONYMS IN MBEMBESI
This article discusses the history of eight Xhosa toponyms in the Mbembesi area of Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland Province. The main objective of the study is to unravel the history of the Xhosa people by investigating their toponyms, guided by the conviction that they are reservoirs of their history and not just mere tags or labels. The research follows a qualitative methodology employing purposive sampling techniques and snowballing. The study uses the Afrocentric theory, largely the nommoic creativity principle. The theory underscores that African people’s history and culture is of great significance and is about the strategic creation of concepts, thus, it should be studied and told from an emic perspective. The study’s main findings include, among others, the realisation that Xhosa toponyms in Mbembesi are to a large extent descriptive locatives, with some linked to the various clans found among the Xhosa and the geophysical features in the areas, while some have to do with the chiefs of the various clans in the villages. The study, therefore, concludes that Xhosa toponyms are reservoirs of the history of the Xhosa people and are a vital component of their cultural heritage as the bulk of them have been handed down from generation to generation.