Northern ǃKung
Native toNamibia, Angola
RegionOkavango and Ovamboland Territory
Language codes
ISO 639-3vaj – inclusive code
Individual code:
knw – Ekoka ǃKung

Sekele is the northern language of the ǃKung dialect continuum. It was widespread in southern Angola before the civil war,[1] but those varieties are now spoken principally among a diaspora in northern Namibia. There are also a number of dialects spoken in Northernmost Namibia.

Sekele goes by a number of names. "Sekele" itself derives from Vasekele, the Angolan Bantu name. It is also known as Northern ǃKung (or equivalently "Northern ǃXuun", "Northern Ju" and several other variants). Two of the Angolan varieties have gone by the outdated term ǃʼOǃKung (or ǃʼO ǃuŋ [ǃˀoːǃʰũ] "Forest ǃKung") and Maligo (short for "Sekele Maligo"). There are several Namibian dialects, of which the best known is Ekoka.


There is a division between the northernmost dialects, formerly known as Angolan ǃKung and sometimes simply as Northern ǃKung, the more southern dialects of northernmost Namibian, known as Western ǃKung or North-Central ǃKung, and Kavango ǃKung to their east.

(N1) Maligo (ǃxuun, kúándò ǃxuun "Kwando ǃXuun"; SE Angola)
(N2) ǃʼOǃKung (ǃʼo ǃuŋ "Forest ǃXuun"; eastern C Angola)
(W1) — (ǃxūún, ǃʼālè ǃxòān "Valley ǃXuun"; Eenhana district, N Namibia)
(W2) ǀʼAkhwe (ǃxūún, ǀʼākhòè ǃxòān "Kwanyama ǃXuun"; Eenhana, N Namibia)
(W3) Tsintsabis (ǃxūún; Tsintsabis, Tsumeb district, N Namibia)

The Okongo, Ovambo and Mpunguvlei dialects may duplicate (W1) and (K) or be additional forms.

A dialect of Angolan Sekele currently being investigated by linguists has been labeled Mangetti Dune ǃKung, and is spoken by a resettled diaspora community of 500–1000 in Namibia and South Africa in the settlements of Mangetti Dune and Omtaku (Omatako?), east of Grootfontein, Namibia, halfway to the Botswana border; and in Schmidtsdrif, west of Kimberley, South Africa.


Angolan ǃKung

Mangetti Dune ǃKung has clicks with four places of articulation, /ǃ ǀ ǁ ǂ/. (A reported distinction between dental lateral and postalveolar lateral clicks has not been confirmed by further research.)

These come in the same eight series as in Grootfontein ǃKung, here represented with the palatal articulation:

Lingual /ᵏǂ ᵏǂʰ ᶢǂ ᵑǂ ᵑ̊ǂʰ/
glottalized /ᵑ̊ǂˀ/
linguo-pulmonic /ᵏǂχ/
linguo-glottalic /ǂ͡kxʼ/
Western (North-Central) ǃKung


  1. ^ Gordon Jr. & Grimes 2005


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