Sepedi is also sometimes referred to as Sesotho sa Laboa or Northern Sotho. The language of Sepedi is spoken by approximately 4,208,980 individuals and it is one of the eleven official languages in South Africa.
The Sepedi language is usually spoken in Mpumalanga.  Gauteng and the Limpopo province, but a little bit of it is also spoken in Botswana. This language is a part of the Bantu Group which belongs to the Niger-Congo and it is very closely connected with the Setswana and Sesotho languages. As many religions and cultures do, Sepedi has their own traditions. Many people take a liking to this culture and language because of their wedding ceremonies. The bride and grooms closest family members will get together to discuss the wedding and most importantly, the lebola.

What happens here is the bride’s family, normally her mother and father, request certain items from the groom’s parents in exchange for their daughter. The items that are normally asked for are things like money and livestock, but they can literally ask for anything. If they would like a bottle of brandy, they can ask for that, or a television, whatever they ask for, the groom’s parents cannot refuse otherwise their son may not marry whom he wishes to marry.

A Sepedi wedding is not held at a church, but rather at the bride’s or groom’s home. When the bride is dressed and ready for her wedding, she has to go to the river and collect enough water and wood for the ceremony. Her dress will be made from a cow’s hide and is called a Dintepa; the groom can wear a suit for the big day. When the bride has collected enough water and wood and completed her other tasks, she is now ready to walk to her husband-to-be, but while she is walking her grandmother sweeps the floor in front of her to “clear her way”.

When the couple is married and everyone has been to congratulate them and the ceremony is done, a cow or sheep will be slaughtered and the meat is equally divided to both the families. Then the fun starts; the music played at Sepedi weddings is normally that of kiba music, which only the men are allowed to dance to.

Sepedi (Northern Sotho) Language

Useful Words / Phrases

A few words that might be useful should you visit a place where Sepedi is spoken:
Hello – “Dumela”
Goodbye – “Gabotse”
How are you? – “O kae”
I am fine – “Ke Gona”
Yes – “ee”
No – “aowa”
How much is this? – “Ke bokae”