BACKGROUND INFORMATION, ACCORDING TO THE WIKEPEDIA
The name “Tsonga” includes Tsonga, Tswa, and Ronga. The 6 main dialects identified by HP Junod are: N’walungu (Luleke, Valoyi), Hlave, Nkuna, Gwamba, Nhlanganu, Djonga, Machabe, and Bila.[clarification needed] The “Tsonga” people are grandchildren of “Gwambe na Dzhavana”.[who?]
Tsonga is spoken by about 1,972,000 people in South Africa’s Limpopo province as well as Gauteng Province and Mpumalanga Province, as well as 1.5 million people in Mozambique, and 25,000 people in Swaziland. There are also 100,000 speakers inZimbabwe.
In South Africa most of Vatsonga were concentrated in places like e.g. Nkowankowa, Giyani, Malamulele, N’wamitwa, Muhlava, Hlanganani (Elim) in Limpopo and Bushbuckridge (ka Mpisana) and others in Mpumalanga. There are also large numbers in the Northwest, KwaZulu-Natal (Tembe) and Gauteng provinces. Basically they can be found anywhere in the old Transvaal.
Tsonga is an official language in South Africa. It has been suggested to be made official in Zimbabwe according to the new constitution. All Tswa-Ronga languages are recognised in Mozambique. It is not official in Swaziland.
WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE VATSONGA (TSONGA) AND MACHANGANA (SHANGAAN)?
The following excerpts from an article from Fana, www.fanathepurp.co.za , is one of the best to shed more light on this. Very enlightenigng.
There is still a huge amount of confusion with regards to differentiating who or what is Shangaan or Tsonga. Before we can understand Tsonga history, it is fair to clarify how Shangaans became Tsonga. The term Shangaan is used interchangeably with Tsonga; however the meaning is one but only to those of the Tsonga tribe.
Who is Tsonga then?
The Tsonga tribe originates from East Africa; we are a tribe without a king. We moved down to the south of Africa, namely Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. We grew our tribe through assimilating other tribes such as Vakalanga (Valoyi), Ndlovu and the Shangaans to name a few. Today, all Tsonga tribes share one identity even though origins differ. The issue is with the term or category, even though linguistics groups us as one. Tribal divisions make other Tsonga groups reject the title Shangaan or Tsonga. This is an issue of identity, even though our origins, culture and languages are similar. The Shangaan tribe is accused of wanting to yet again attempt to rule the whole Tsonga tribe by replacing its existence. The Shangaan tribe shadows other Tsonga tribes; also the other Tsonga tribes such as Vandzawu and VaTshwa refuse the term Tsonga.
The core of this discussion is origin and context of the tribe and term Shangaan. (Read more on his website given above)
USEFUL TSONGA TERMS AND PHRASES
Being a Mutsonga myself, I have tried to contribute by compiling this list which is non-exhaustive in an effort to assist the understanding and learning of the Tsonga language. Not enough documentary and work is being done to preserve this language. I will definitely welcome feedback and more information to expand this topic and effort.
- Good Morning = “ Avuxeni “ – also generally used as an equivalent of “Hello” anytime of the day mainly when you have not seen or spoken to the person before.
- Good day ( midday) – “Inhlekanhi”
- Good afternoon – “Indzengha” ( some translations confuses the Good afternoon and Good day for “inhlekanhi”
- Good evening – “ Riperile ” or “ imadyambu”
- Good night – Vusiku lebyinene or Etlela kahle ( sleep well)
Time of the Day
- Dawn – Mahlambandlopfu
- Morning – Mixo or mpudzu
- Day – Siku
- Night – Vusiko
- North – N’walungu
- South – Dzonga
- West – Vupeladyambu
- East – Vuxa (Vuxeni)
Days of the week
- Sunday – Sonto
- Monday – Musumbunuko
- Tuesday – raVumbirhi
- Wednesday – raVunharu
- Thursday – raVumune
- Friday – raVunthlanu
- Saturday – Mugqibela
Months of the year
- January – Sunguti (Beginning/Genesis). Symbolic start of the cycle.
- February – Nyenyanyana (Baby birds). Many young chicks are observed to hatch during this month.
- March – Nyenyankulu (Grown-up / bigger birds). Birds have matured to near adult or adult stage.
- April – Dzivamisoko (Setting up traps). “Misoko” are “birds traps”. Herdboys usually set these traps this month to catch the matured birds – birds hunting season.
- May – Mudyaxihi ( “eat per your choice “ – Cornucopia – Abundance of food and crops). People are spoilt for choice owing to the available varieties of food crops which are being harvested from the fields.
- June – Khotavuxika (Start of the cold season). This is the beginning of the cold season.
- July -Mawuwani (Light breeze). The cold days become a little windy giving a “woo” sound mainly from the many artefacts that the Tsonga people used to keep.
- August – Mhawuri (Gale winds). The winds are much stronger .
- September – Ndzhati ( from Ndlati , meaning Lightning). This is the time when rain is often accompanied by thunder and lightning. Superstition has it that an animal falls from the sky signifying the advert of rain.
- October – Nhlangula (An edible plant bears fruit). Many trees, in particular the ‘nhlangula’ tree has ripened and bears its fruit.
- November – Hukuri (Chicken egg-laying period ). Month during which many chicken are seen laying and hatch their many eggs.
- December – N’wendzamhala (Ending). Everything comes to an end; with impala breeding in large numbers, hunting season begins.
Numbers 1- 100, 1000, 1 million,
- One N’we
- Two Mbirhi
- Three Nharhu
- Four Mune
- Five Ntlhanu
- Six Ntsevu
- Seven Nkombo
- Eight Nhungu
- Nine Nkaye
- Ten Khume
- Eleven Khumen’we
- Twelve Khumembirhi
- Thirteen Khumenharhu
- Fourteen Khumemune
- Fifteen Khumentlhanu
- Sixteen Khumentsevu
- Seventeen Khumekombo
- Eighteen Khumenhungu
- Nineteen Khumenkaye
- Twenty Makumembirhi
- Twenty one Makumembirhin’we
- Twenty two Makumembirhimbirhi
- Twenty three Makumembirhinharhu
- Twenty four Makumembirhimune
- Twenty five makumenharhuntlhanu
- Twenty six makumembirhitsevu
- Twenty seven makumembirhinkombo
- Twenty eight makumembirhinhungu
- Twenty nine makumembirhikaye
- Thirty makumenharhu
- Thirty one makumenharhun’we
- Thirty two makumenharhumbirhi
- Thirty three makumenharhunharhu
- Thirty four makumenharhumune
- Thirty five makumemunentlhanu
- Thirty six makumenharhutsevu
- Thirty seven makumenharhunkombo
- Thirty eight makumenharhunhungu
- Thirty nine makumenharhukaye
- Forty makumemune
- Forty one makumemunen’we
- Forty two makumemunembirhi
- Forty three makumemunenharhu
- Forty four makumemunemune
- Forty five makumemunentlhanu
- Forty six makumemunetsevu
- Forty seven makumemunenkombo
- Forty eight makumemunenhungu
- Forty nine makumemunekaye
- Fifty makumentlhanu
- Fifty one makumemunen’we
- Fifty two makumemunembirhi
- Fifty three makumemunenharhu
- Fifty four makumemunemune
- Fifty five makumemunentlhanu
- Fifty six makumemunetsevu
- Fifty seven makumemunenkombo
- Fifty eight makumemunenhungu
- Fifty nine makumemunekaye
- Sixty makumetsevu
- Sixty one makumetsevun’we
- Sixty two makumetsevumbirhi
- Sixty three makumetsevunharhu
- Sixty four makumetsevumune
- Sixty five makumetsevu nthlanu
- Sixty six makumetsevutsevu
- Sixty seven makumetsevunkombo
- Sixty eight makumetsevunhungu
- Sixty nine makumetsevukaye
- Seventy makumenkombo
- Seventy one makumenkombon’we
- Seventy two makumenkombombirhi
- Seventy three makumenkombonharhu
- Seventy four makumenkombomune
- Seventy five makumenkombo nthlanu
- Seventy six makumenkombotsevu
- Seventy sevenmakumenkombonkombo
- Seventy eight makumenkombonhungu
- Seventy nine makumenkombokaye
- Eighty makumenhungu
- Eighty one makumenhungun’we
- Eighty two makumenhungumbirhi
- Eighty three makumenhungunharhu
- Eighty four makumenhungumune
- Eighty five makumenhungu nthlanu
- Eighty six makumenhungutsevu
- Eighty seven makumenhungunkombo
- Eighty eight makumenhungunhungu
- Eighty nine makumenhungukaye
- Ninety makumekaye
- Ninety one makumekayen’we
- Ninety two makumekayembirhi
- Ninety three makumekayenharhu
- Ninety four makumekayemune
- Ninety five makumekaye nthlanu
- Ninety six makumekayetsevu
- Ninety seven makumekayenkombo
- Ninety eight makumekayenhungu
- Ninety nine makumekayekaye
- One hundred dzana
Tsonga Useful phrases
- My name is … – Vito ra mina i…
- I love you – Ndza ku rhandza
- You are beautiful – U sasekile
- My lover – murhandziwa
Seasons of the year
- Spring – Ximun’wana
- Summer – Ximumu
- Autumn – Xixikana
- Winter – Xixika
Other wild animails