n Ekklesiastikos Pharos - The Bhuba : a paternally inherited Jewish priesthood in Southern Africa?

Volume 92, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1018-9556



The recently much publicised genetic results of the Lemba placed the Lemba of Southern Africa in the spotlight (Thomas et al 1998; 2000; Soodyall 2010). From DNA samples, taken specifically from the Bhuba, the priestly family of the Lemba, a very close relation has emerged between them (the Bhuba) and those of the Cohanim (priesthood) in Israel and all over the world. Much has been written about the Lemba, but very little about their priestly family, the Bhuba, who show 53% presence of the CMH (Cohen Modal Haplotype). Are there any remnants of the ancient priesthood still to be found among the Bhuba? Scanty information is available about the Bhuba and we therefore need to rely heavily on oral traditions of the Bhuba collected during a recent field study mainly in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces (specifically in the Phusela and Sekwamokgope areas). To my knowledge the oral traditions of specifically the Bhuba have never been recorded in these areas before. Utilising written sources, oral traditions, archaeology, genetics, linguistics, ethnography, musicology, art, botany and other techniques brings respect and maturity to the field of African historiography, which has been at the cutting edge of methodological innovation (Lord 1991). But to use such a diverse methodology has also brought controversy, particularly regarding oral traditions, not to mention genetic results.

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