Definition of Tsonga in English:



  • 1A member of a people living in the Limpopo province of South Africa, southern Mozambique, and southern Zimbabwe.

    Also called shangaan
    • ‘Southern tribes include the Tsonga, the Karanga, the Chopi, the Shona, and the Nguni.’
    • ‘Only the Tsonga / Shangaan, however, have continued their beadwork traditions to the present day.’
    • ‘King Shaka sits proudly next to Chief Ngungunyani of the Tsonga and Moshoeshoe of Basotho - all gesturing towards the realisation of African Nationalism.’
    • ‘For example, the Tsonga are associated with the mbila, a traditional instrument played along with drums and horns; often Tsongan music is used to accompany the tribe's traditional dance forms.’
  • 2[mass noun] The Bantu language of the Tsonga, which has about 3 million speakers. It is one of the official languages of South Africa.

    • ‘In the north, the Bantu languages of Yao and Makua predominate; in the Zambezi Valley, it is Nyanja is the dominant languages; and in the south, Tsonga is spoken.’
    • ‘Until 1994, with AFRIKAANS, it was one of the two official languages; in that year, nine indigenous languages became official: Ndebele, Pedi, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu.’
    • ‘The leaflets have been published in seven of the eleven official language, namely: Afrikaans, Tsonga, Sesotho, Zulu, English, Venda and Xhosa.’


  • Relating to the Tsonga or their language.

    • ‘He said among the endangered cultures were the Tsonga culture of Tamba initiation, the Dry Stone Settlement and the Khoisan culture.’
    • ‘An additional 24 African DNA samples (from the Nguni, Sotho-Tswanga, and Tsonga groups of South Africa) were provided.’
    • ‘Khomanani is a Tsonga word meaning ‘caring for or supporting each other’.’
    • ‘The piece is layered with narrative, some implied, others drawing from Tsonga mythology central to his discourse.’


A local name, from either Tsonga or Zulu.