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Daily Xitsonga, VVX

Types of Tsonga Greetings (Ancient & Formal)

Vatsonga have unique ways of greeting each other. Vatsonga use greetings to acknowledge their origins, roots and status. Greetings afforded to an elder, a Royal, and an ordinary man differs. The greetings also have unique context in relation to gender.

  • “Diswiteni”

An ancient Tsonga greeting that Vatsonga used before migrating south into the coast, some people on the coast of Mozambique still use this greeting. This greeting is mostly used by Cilenge variant speakers; its similiar to Rixile/Gicile.

  • “Avuxeni”

This is a universal Tsonga Greeting which is used as reference to the origin of Vatsonga; Vuxa (East) and Vurhonga (Dawn) are in reference to our roots as Vatsonga. A Mutsonga can use this greeting at any time, Avuxeni is used like Ahoy! by Rastafarians.

  • “Xewani”

The greeting is normally directed to a group of people and used in a formal way.

  • “Ndzawini”

This is a royal greeting; it means Lion’s den or Lioness’ den. It is a way of recognizing Vatsonga as royals, everyone in the Tsonga groupings is regarded as either Hosi (Chief) or Hosikati (Queen). Ndzawini is used when one enters the household, whether there is someone in view or not.

Vatsonga have accustomed Tsonga greeting with Western greetings. Western greetings translated into Xitsonga:

  • Good Morning – Rixile
  • Good Afternoon – Inhlikani
  • Good Afternoon (after 2pm) – Indzhengha
  • Good Evening – Riperile


This is a special greeting commonly used by speakers of Citshwa or Xihlengwe variants; it’s strictly in reference to Rixile (Good Morning).

  • “i Mahlanga”

The greeting is used in reference to Good night or to mean I will see you again.

  • “Vaxumi”

The greeting is mostly used by Vatsonga as way of greeting those who are at work or those who come from work.

  • “Hoyee!”

A greeting directed at a person who has achieved something or a sign of welcoming someone that you have missed for a longtime.

  • “Hoyo-hoyo”

It can be used as greeting to welcoming someone; a baby born in a family or a visitor.

Diswiteni Maxaka ya ngu;

Ha Mi Losa!

Mi xewetana njhani emugangeni wa ka n’wina?

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