Celebrating Queens, Leaders and Founding Mothers of Vatsonga





It goes without saying that culture is evolutionary. Cultural evolution may occur because of various factors, from internal and external. There has been lots of talk, which present African cultures as strictly Patriarchal. Interestingly, the arguments are forwarded by those that study Africans from a non-African perspective.

In the original Tsonga analogy, Vutsonga isn’t defined by what is classified as strict Patriarchy. Vutsonga, within the true sense, may be a cultural identity supported Egalitarianism; the Xitsonga language is noted as “Ririmi ra manana” (Mother tongue), or “Ririmi leri ndzi nga ri mama eveleni” (a language I sucked from my mother’s breast).




Having a female ruler among Vatsonga was never an enormous issue, until the eu and therefore the Shangaan (Nguni-Ndwandwe) invasions. In fact, before European and Shangaan invasions, earlier contact between Arabs, Persian and Indians with Vatsonga, left them in shock. it absolutely was quite common among Vatsonga to possess female traders, which was a taboo among the Arabs, Persians and Indians.

The maxim which says, “Mutsonga a hi wa rimhondzo”, not only explains that Vatsonga are born from different Patriarchs, but also explains that Vatsonga also are born out of Matriarchs.




It is well narrated, among Vahlengwe, how the ruler of the Hlungwani tribe, in his death bed, gave power (Ndzalama – Royal Pebble) to his daughter so she could pass it to her son. N’waZinjivha / N’waMaledza, matter of fact may be a great Matriarch of the Vahlengwe; she was married to Bangwana, son of Xinyori (Forefather of Vahlengwe), and bore Mantsena (Cawuke / Mavasa), the nice Hlengwe Patriarch. it’s the fruit of her womb which gave the globe great people just like the celebrated South African musician Dr. Thomas Chauke and therefore the Zimbabwean revolutionary hero, Justin Chauke.

Europeans and Shangaans were shocked and perplexed when Hosikati (Queen) Xikhumbani led a military of the Bila tribe. Having been appointed as Heir to the crown by her own father and grandfather, Hosi N’wanteva, Hosikati Xikhumbani fiercely resisted Shangaan occupation of her land and guarded her people against Shangaan slave raiders. Woman she was, she refused defeat until she was killed by a Shangaan regiment that drowned her within the river. The village called Xikhumbani, in Limpopo District in Mozambique, is called after this glorious Queen.




In the late 1800s, from 1897 precisely, within the last Gaza war against The Khoseni, Hosi Xongela had joined of his military strategists as his sister, Nganakati Xipisani. In fact, she led her own regiment against the invading Shangaan regiments, and held still, and managed to repel them. Xipisani wasn’t only a mere military officer, or a mere royal princess, she was an excellent leader. She became the Supreme after Hosi Xongela died; Tsonga history records her because the last sovereign Khoseni Ruler, and therefore the last Tsonga ruler to resist both Shangaan and European invasions, up to 1904.

One of the foremost ancient Tsonga kingdom’s, is that the Tembe Kingdom. After Mfecane, some Tembe rulers had opted to pay tribute to the Zulu so as to avoid another war (The Tembe had fought against the Mthetwa and an excessive amount of blood was shed). round the 1870s, when King Nosiyingile died, his brother, Muhena, allied himself with the Zulu to usurp the throne. Queen Zambili, the late King’s wife, put up a large resistance against Muhena and his Zulu allies; she defeated them and secured the throne for her son, who was a minor. Her power and legitimacy, wasn’t only by the spear, but Vutsonga legitimised her.




In Tsonga analogy, the Matriarchs, and families of the Matriarchs play an important role in everyone’s existence; Sisters, Aunties, Grandmothers are royalties. Even though, a lineage or a genealogy, as per generic Tsonga customs is carried through the male, it’s quite common in Tsonga analogy for a female to hold on the genealogy of her father, within the same way she will be able to persevere her father’s royal duties.

The case of Hosikati N’wamitwa (Queen of the House of N’wamitwa of the Valoyi grouping) claiming to be the legitimate heir by virtue of blood irrespective of her gender, could be a much recent example of how Vutsonga recognises and validates the Matriarch Power. Her victory in an exceedingly modern court of law was informed by genuine Tsonga cultural rules regarding the position of the Matriarch.




Most importantly, had it not been for Tsonga women who were forced into marriage with Shangaan men, the Xitsonga language would be dead or changed into some loose creole. The Shangaan had tried to kill Xitsonga by forcing captured Tsonga men to talk Nguni (isiLala) only. All Amabulandlela (Tsonga men turned foot soldiers for Amashangaan) had accepted to kill Xitsonga, it’s Tsonga women who held their feet on the bottom. By preserving our language, those women played an enormous significant role.

Another striking feature is that the indisputable fact that in Tsonga analogy, whenever an individual enters a household, the foremost correct salutary form is: “Ndzawini”, which is of course, a salute to the Lioness, because in Tsonga analogy, the household belong to the girl, though it’s the man’s name. it’s under this idea, where the saying: “Dzana ra vavanuna ri endla xivandlana, kambe wansati u endla muti” (100 Men can make platoon, but a girl makes a home”, has validation of a woman’s role in Tsonga cultural founded. In Tsonga analogy, a person has his manhood validated by a lady, and by how he relates with the lady. In Tsonga analogy, a person only becomes a person after he marries a wife, regardless of how old he’s, all single men are boys and are excluded when elders and men meet.




In Tsonga cultural founded, women form every a part of the entire social organization. Women are the central nerve, nothing of significant matter is undertaken without proper and bonafide consent of the Matriarchs; be it marriage, Royal rituals, Coronations, burials etc.

Sourced from Viv Mag Lifestyle

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