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Matimu, SheTsonga

Seven Amazing Tsonga Heroines


Hosikati Xikhumbani

Daughter of Chief N’wateva, she was elected to be Queen by her father and grandfather, King Henhla of Bila Dynasty. Queen Xikhumbani was a wise, courageous and principled woman. She led the Bila clan with wisdom; she was also a keen farmer and trader.

When the Amashangaan Nguni invaders attacked her people, she mobilised her army to fight to the end. She was betrayed and captured; but when the enemy army asked her to surrender, she chose death by drowning and they drowned her. The land called Ka Xikhumbani in Mozambique is named after this great woman of noble character.

Josina Maxele (sometimes spelt Machele or Machel)

Image: flickr.com

Born Josina Muthemba; Josina was born in the Muthemba royal family, which resisted both Nguni and Portuguese invasion.  A great revolutionary woman, who stood against Portuguese imperialism, by taking up a gun and fighting; she also fought against the colonial patriarchal mentality among Black people, she became Samora’s second wife by choice.

In her honour, 7th April, the day of her death, has been made a national holiday in Mozambique.

Coincidentally, she is of the same lineage with Queen Xikhumbani.

Nxalati Charlotte Golele

A distinguished Xitsonga language linguistic; she has worked with many institutions in the linguistic field. She has championed the evolution and development of Xitsonga as a literal language beyond the confines of colonial demarcated national borders.

She made a significant contribution in the development and writing of the Mahungu Lamanene Xitsonga Bible, which is used by the Bible Societies of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. She also had a major role in the drafting of the new Harmonisation of Tsonga Orthography, which; if applied, will be in use in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

She is also a respected author of Xitsonga language books.

Paulina Chiziyane

Image: blackwomenofbrazil.co
Image: blackwomenofbrazil.co

A respected heroine, who has used her writing skills to echo the sentiments of the ordinary women in Mozambique; she had joined the liberation movement against the Portuguese colonial power, but withdrew from active politics. Citing the fact that even the new post-colonial state; Mozambique was in contradiction with the reality of Black people in general, and Black women in particular.

Paulina Chiziyane is an award winning champion of modern Mozambican literature.

Hosikati Zambili (Also spelt Sambili/Sambiri)

She was the wife of King Nosiyingili of the Tembe Dynasty. She ruled at the time when the Tembe Kingdom was divided by, and among the Portuguese and the British. She is the mother of King Ngwanase, who led an uprising against colonialism in the late 1800s. When the war of occupation had defeated Blacks, Queen Zambili’s land was cut into two pieces; British Tsongaland (South Africa), and Delagoa Bay (Mozambique). British Tsongaland was then annexed to Natal, then to Zululand in the Bantustan era.

Maria Mutola

Image: zimbio.com
Image: zimbio.com

She is a retired athlete, who was the most feared female athlete in the 800m run during her days; she is famously known as “Maputo Express”. She is one of the 4 athletes to compete at 6 Olympic Games. She is a three-time world champion in this event and a one-time Olympic champion. She is the only athlete in the whole world to ever win Gold for;

  • 800 Metres in Olympics Championships
  • World Championships
  • World Indoor Championships
  • Commonwealth Games
  • Continental Games
  • AndContinental Championships

Before Akani Simbini became a champion, Maria Mutola was the first Mun’wanati to pave the way.

Maria Mutola also plays soccer.

Hosikati Xipisani

The courageous warrior queen of the Khoseni Dynasty; she was King Magudzu’s daughter. She became Queen after the death of her brother, King Xongela, who had been resisting both Portuguese and Amashangaan invasions. Queen Xipisani, is, in the true historical sense, the last sovereign ruler of the Khosa Dynasty before the Khoseni Kingdom was divided between Transvaal and Mozambique.


Which Tsonga heroine did we leave out? Email us on admin@vivmag.co.za

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