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Matimu, Tinxaka ta Vutsonga

Why does Munghana Lonene FM insist on labeling us as “Vatsonga-Machangani”?

As speakers of Xitsonga, we can all agree ku we are currently experiencing an identity crisis. We don’t agree on our collective name, but we acknowledge that we are one and speak one language.

Kambe, xana hi Vatsonga kumbe Machangani or both?

Each year, Munghana Lonene FM attempts to answer this burning question with the help of Tsonga Historians and Royals, but we never come to a conclusion on who are we; which is weird, hi rixaka ra njhani ro ka ri nga titivi?

Now, why does Munghana Lonene FM insist on labeling us as “Vatsonga-Machangani” on a regular basis? Is it ignorance, arrogance, propaganda, playing it safe or a collective?

In order to answer this, you have to understand the following;

  1. Referring to all Xitsonga speakers as Vatsonga is politically and historically correct.
  2. Xitsonga is a language group of over 10 major dialects.
  3. Vatsonga are an ethnic group linked by a common language and culture, thus the saying, Mutsonga a hi wa rimhondzo (Tsonga is not a lineage).

  1. Machangani are a Xitsonga speaking group of Ndwandwe origin.
  2. Xichangani is not a language according to linguistics and Hosi Eric Nxumalo, leader of the Amashangaan Royal Authority.
  3. Machangani in the Tsonga ethnic group are an independent group, and Machangani in the Swazi Kingdom are subjects of the Kingdom.

  1. Vatsonga is inclusive of Machangani and 13 other major groupings.
  2. Vatsonga-Machangani is a double barrel tag created and popularized during the era of Gazankulu Homeland.
  3. Machangani once requested a homeland separate from Vatsonga.
  4. Vatsonga-Machangani double barrel is a consolidation of two groups that share a colonial history and speak one language.

Munghana Lonene’s station license from ICASA clearly stipulates that the principal language of MLFM is XITSONGA. Munghana Lonene FM exists to cater for Xitsonga speaking people, which are;

  • Machangani
  • Vabila
  • Vahlanganu
  • Vahlave
  • Vahlengwe
  • Vakhosa
  • Valambya
  • Valenge
  • Valoyi (Varozwi)
  • Vandzawu
  • Vankomati
  • Vatembe (Varhonga)
  • Vaxika
  • Vaxingwidzi

The correct name of our language according to the constitution of the Republic South Africa is XITSONGA. On Air and online, Munghana Lonene FM and some of its employees refer to us as HALF-ETHNIC-GROUP-HALF-TRIBE, and at times refer to Xitsonga as Xichangani.  

If we are said to be one nation, why are Machangani getting a special mention on our collective name? Did the government get the name of our language group wrong? Why emphasize on one group when they are already part of the collective? Would we be comfortable as a collective if tomorrow we were referred to as Vatsonga-Van’wanati? Would Machangani agree to being labeled as Valoyi (Varozwi)? If the other Tsonga groups are expected to celebrate, embrace and protect “Vuchangani”, clearly the same rules should apply, right?

The word Tsonga is inclusive of everyone, hambi u pfa eVumbai, eVukaranga, kumbe KwaNongoma, u nga va Mutsonga, hikuva Mutsonga a hi wa rimhondzo. MLFM is playing a dangerous game by “unconsciously” fueling our identity crisis and marrying an inclusive collective to one group. There is no crime or discrimination in using Tsonga without special mention of Shangaan. However, it is very disrespectful that several times over the years Machangani have publicly refused to be categorized as Vatsonga without a shame or any backlash.

N’we Vatsonga, there will be no nation building until we are clear on who we are…

  • Mhe ndzi Cheleni, nyimba ya Hosi Zarhi, ndzi Muhlengwe.
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  1. Khalanga Pat xitshembiso i xitshembiso xo vitana Sunduza Mhinga na Magezi Sithole siku ra kona a hi kombela ku ti bitcoin ti nga vi kona ti ta ngena siku leri nga ta landzelaka

    Xo hetelela hi kombela nkarhi lowu wa afirika wa vulavula engeteriwa ku va tiawara timbirhi loko swiendleka ixikombelo khalanga . I mavasa kk ka thomo village

  2. This is so wrong in so many ways. Firstly, all tsongas are shangan but not all shangaan are tsongas. Shangan people could be rhonga, tsonga, hlengwe, ngomani, ndau, chopi, even ndwandwe. Soshangana and his troops were zulu/ndwandwe and they conquered and rulled over all these tribes mentioned above to establish the Gaza kingdom which soshangani established and named after his grandfather. The dominant tribe in the shangan kingdom is the ndwadwe tribe by lineage, however the dominant language spoken is xitsonga, this despite Soshangani enforcing zulu language and customs in his kingdom. Shangan word is derived from soshangan and it is a nation not a language, the language spoken by all shangan people is predominantly xitsonga. Although the language itself has been altered by soshangani’s influence, so much so that you will find a lot of zulu words in the modern day xitsonga and hence most will still argue that the language is nolonger pure xitsonga but xichangani (that’s another argument altogether). So, if you still want to segregate yourselves as machangani just know that you are all machangani whether tsonga, rhonga, ndau or whatever. non of these tribes had indipendence under his chieftancy soshangan or the latter being Ngungunyani, Soshangani’s grand son. If tsongas want independence from shangan people they must first identify themselves, which is impossible to do. Even if they do successfully segregate themselves, they would be so small that they will not be recognised in the country or anywhere else for that matter. This continuous stunt by some shangan people to segregate themselves is shameful and weakening the shangan nation (note that I say some shangan people because not even these people can know for sure if they are tsonga). Even the zulu kingdom is built under similar concept of incorporating sub clans into one powerful tribe. Why is it dificult for shangan people to accept thenselves for who they are. The shangan language(xitsonga) is recognised today in the country because machangani stood together as one. Without standing together you will be nothind but a bunch of small clans that will not be recognised in the country and will eventually cease to exist. Stop causing division amongst yourselves

  3. Mavulandlela, you got it all wrong. The language that you speak today is more Shangani than it is Tsonga. Mungana lonene itself for instance, is a Shangan name not tsonga. All the words that are similar to nguni words in our today Xitsonga are actually Shangaan words. This is so because Soshangana enforced the ndwandwe language and customs to Tsonga people.


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