Stories and poems

Updated: November 21, 2012

The oldest surviving collection of Kalanga narratives is that made by W.C. Willoughby around 1911 or 1920.  The manuscript of his “notes and records of the Bakalanga” was edited and printed in Kalanga: Retrospect and Prospect, ed. Catrien van Waarden (1991)

The largest collection of traditional Kalanga material is Nau dzabaKalanga: A History of the Kalanga (Pretoria: Univ. South Africa, 1983): vol. 1 material recorded by Masola Kumile from the 1920s to 1960s, then transcribed, translated and edited by P J Wentzel, with vol. 2 commentary by Wentzel.

Much material on the “Oral traditions of the Bukalanga and Bakhurutshe” was also collected by C. Van Waarden in 1984. The unpublished transcripts are on file at the National Archives and National Museum in Gaborone.

Extraordinary work has been done in the last 15 years by the Mukani Action Campaign and its partners, which has produced over 40 publications.

Now online sites giave a new opportunity for stories, poems and blog comments in Kalanga, esp. on sections of the Bakalanga website or YouTube channels.

Primers and Readers

Ipelete mu Ndebo ye Tjikalanga (1926). London Missionary Society. 38 p. — Doke describes it as: “A Second Reader (illustrated) in the Lilimia dialect. Prepared by Rev. J. Whiteside, with native helpers, principally for use in the Tati Concession area of Bechuanaland.”  Reprinted 1935, 1945. Vryburg, South Africa: London Missionary Society. Tiger Kloof.

Ndevo yenombe luvizho and other Lilima texts: Edited with English translation and notes by George Fortune (1949). Cape Town: Univ. of Cape Town. Communications from the School of African Studies (New Series No. 21), 86 p. — Originally M.A. Thesis. Based on texts written in 1943 by Dintweng Kousu and Khudu Moloi in Francistown.

Zwidiyo zo Kutanga: A Kalanga Primer (1957), Lobatsi, Bechuanaland Book Centre for the London Missionary Society, Revised editions 1962, 1964. 44 p.

Tjipeletana tjabana: a Tjikalanga reader (1960). Lobatse: Bechuanaland Book Centre for the London Missionary Society. Revised edition 1964.

Atibaleni—Lukwal Gokutanga Gwebana (Kalanga Primer — 1st Book for Children) (1986). Zimbabwe Ministry of Education. Bulawayo.

Other items of interest

Tjedza: Light, a Kalanga magazine by the Society for the Promotion of the Ikalanga Language. 1988-1991.

Constitution (1986). Gaborone: Society for the Promotion of Ikalanga Language.

KEZILAHABI, E. (2006). Butjenjedu gwe Bantolo: Ngano dze ikalanga. Gaborone : Mukani action campaign-society of writers, 125 p. [UB]

MGADLA, Part T. (2008). Kalanga Culture. Thabi Dzinwe dze Chilenje che Ikalanga. Gaborone: Botswana Society, 24 p. — a children’s book with colour illustrations.


  • (1978). Denje buya (Maboko ye Ikalanga). Iowa City: private printing. 10 p.   Reprinted 1991 Daily Press Gaborone, 2000, 31 p. — poems in Kalanga
  • (1994). Kozipa senimitetembelo yakatetembega mu Nshangano we Bubili we kukwagwa kwe Ikalanga, in K.W. Pahlen ed. Proceedings and Background of the Second Kalanga Orthography Conference.
  • (no date). Mpandamiti: A drama in Ikalanga.
  • (no date). Tetembegwa kwa She Christopher Masunga e bugwa mu itulo. Gaborone: Daily Press.
  • (2001). Tetembegwa: kwa Chief John Madawo Nswazwi, 1875-1960. Private printing. 20 p.
  • (no date). A Profile of Keetile and Ruth Malikongwa (Kalanga Edition).

MOATSWI, Samuel I. (2012). Teedza Koga: To gwadzisa mbadu — seka indapo! Gaborone, 55 pp. — original poetry. (article)

NOTE: Hachipola reports that at the Zimb. Ministry of Education CDU, there are two books: Atibaleni and Tshinyunyi.