Tsonga Traditional Food

Tsonga people are renowned for their excellent cuisine. Tsonga traditional food includes xigugu, tihove (a type of samp), vukhanyi and mopani worms. Read on to learn more about these popular Tsonga dishes.

tsonga traditional food

Popular Tsonga Traditional Food and Drink

Below we outline some of the most popular Sepedi dishes and beverages. Read on to learn more about this tasty traditional South African food.


Xigugu (she-goo-goo) is a delicious, protein rich snack that will keep you full until your next meal. This traditional dish is made with dry maize kernels that are crushed into a powder using a pestle and mortar.

Another good source of protein, xigugu is typically eaten as a snack in between meals. When combined with Tinyawa or Nindluwa, however, it can become a full meal. That said, most people prefer to eat it with additional garnishing.

The xigugu is a dense food that will make you feel full after eating it. You can prepare and store the xigugu in the fridge or freezer, and it will last for months if sealed tightly.

Mopani Worms

The mopane worm, a brightly coloured caterpillar with little spikes on its back, gets its name from the tree it feeds off of most, the mopane.

The caterpillars are hand-picked mostly by women and children from the trees in the Mopane woodlands. Once collected, they are squeezed of their guts before being sundried, which preserves them until the next harvest.

Although mopane worms have only been harvested for personal use in the past, it has now become a booming industry that supports many rural communities.

mopani worms
Mopani Worms on Rice


This dish is made with dried corn kernels, peanuts, ground nuts and beans. It can be eaten alone or as a meal with meat.


This alcoholic beverage is made by squeezing the juice from marula fruits. The sealed juice is left to ferment for some time.

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