Tsonga People Culture

  • Music and Dance
    1. With the love for music, the Shangaan- Tsonga people have developed a number of musical instruments. The “Mhalamhala (Kudu horn) flute that produces a breathless, raspy, but haunting sound. The “xitende” is a long thin bow tied on each end by a taut leather thong or wire which runs across a gourd. This was often used to alleviate boredom on long journeys.
    2. The Shangaan-Tsonga are well known for their traditional dances such as Muchongolo, songs and dances by both elderly male and female citizens.


    1. Xigubu
    1. Songs and dances by both young male and female.


    1. Mkhinyavezo
    1. Done by elderly women only on special official occasions such as the inauguration of a Hosi “Chief” or any other official ceremony.


    1. Thawuza
    1. By middle aged women, they dress colourfully with “xibelani” traditional gathered skirt, singing and dancing for any cultural occasion or social gatherings.




    1. Mugubu
    1. Done by men of all ages wearing hides, holding spears and shields as in the times of battles. This type of cultural/ traditional dance is only done when a new hosi (Chief) is installed or inaugurated and there after the songs and dances are discontinued.




    1. Traditional Healers groups
    1. Traditional healers have their own association and during the (national) traditional festivals they perform dances. Besides, traditional healers perform their rituals and call upon the ancestors (spirits) in divination to determine the causes of illness, calamities nad search for the ways to end such evils.


    1. Ceremonies performed at different times of the day. During religious ceremonies, the family gathers at a special area to pay homage to the ancestral spirits (ku phahla) food and drinks is offered to the ancestors to thank them for providing for the people. This is usually done at the graveside or a place specially designated for that.
    1. In the Shangaan-Tsonga tradition, the storyteller is the grandmother or elderly woman of the family who is respected as transmitter of the old stories. The old woman called Garingani, or narrator, begins her storytelling by saying “Garingani wa Garingani” “I am a narrator” after which the crowd chats her name after each line of the story, by saying “Garingani”.