Not much is known about the ancient history of the Venda people. The language Tshivenda is also mainly regarded as a language isolate. The Venda people first settled in the Soutpansberg Mountains region. The first Venda capital, Dzata's, ruins are still there today. The Tshipani variety of Tshivenda is used as the standard.
The Venda people are culturally closer to the Shona people of Zimbabwe rather than any other South African group. The language also shares features with Shona and Northern Sotho. There has also been some influence on the language from the Nguni languages.
Tshivenda uses a number of diacritical signs in the orthography not found on all fonts. Alternative fonts and more information can be found on this site and at the Africanlanguage.com site. The Tahoma font available for MS Word on Windows seem to work quite well as well.
The Vhavenda (Venda people) live mainly from north to east of Makhado (Louis Trichardt) in the Limpopo province of South Africa.
Family: Bantu (or rather Ntu) Language Family Group: South Eastern Bantu (or rather Ntu) No Subgroup
Tshiilafuri (Western Venda; has traces of Sotho); Tshimanda (Central Venda; commonly used by the Luonde and Lwamondo); Venda proper (found in Tshivhase and Mphaphuli's areas); Tshimbedzi (Eastern Venda); Tshilembethu (North-Easter Venda) and Extreme Eastern Venda (influenced by Karanga from Zimbabwe); as well as Tshironga (Southern Venda) and South-Eastern Venda (shows influence of Tonga and Sotho)
Around 876 409 people in South Africa use it as their home language.