oa Africa Insight - Meaning and function in Shangana-Tsonga musical instruments

Volume 15, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



The Shangana-Tsonga of the northern Transvaal and Mozambique utilize a broad and interesting range of indigenous musical instruments. In the chordophone class there are the xizambi notched friction bow, the xitende braced gourd-bow, the xipendana thick-handled bow, and the mqangala hollow cane-bow. In the aerophone class there are the xitiringo three-hole transverse flute, the herdboys' nanga whistle, and the mhalamhala kudu antelope horn. In the membranophone class there are the ncomane flat round herbalists' drum, the ndzumba drum used during girls' initiation, the xigubu drum of the boy's drumming school, and the large ngoma of the social beer -drink. In the idiophone class there are the timbila thumb-piano, the mohambi xylophone, and the marhonge fruitshell-leg-rattle.

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