50 Meaningful Unisex Tsonga Names and Their Meanings

The Tsonga tribe is one of the most amazing tribes in South Africa. From their clan structures to culture, traditional beliefs, and attires, they stand out from other ethnic groups and are always proud of who they are. Tsonga people mostly live in South Africa and Southern Mozambique. In South Africa, they are highly concentrated in places like Mpumalanga and Limpopo. In addition to other things, this ethnic group has special names that distinguish them from other people. If you are searching for unisex Tsonga names, we’ve got you covered.

Unique Unisex Tsonga Names and The Meanings Attached to Them

Tsonga names are generally unique and have deep meanings. They are historically and traditionally formulated and speak volumes of where the bearer comes from, the circumstances surrounding his/her birth, and more.

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Though there are thousands of names that are unique to the people, the ones we listed below are considered most desirable within the Bantu ethnic group due to their meaningfulness.

1. Hlawulani

  • Meaning: Choose (The Right Path)
  • Origin: Tsonga

2. Hlawuleka

  • Meaning: Chosen/ Perfect
  • Origin: Tsonga

3. Hlulani

  • Meaning: Be Victorious
  • Origin: Tsonga

4. Felani

  • Meaning: The One Worth Dying For
  • Origin: Tsonga

5. Fumani

  • Meaning: Be Wealthy
  • Origin: Tsonga

6. Endlani

  • Meaning: Deed
  • Origin: Tsonga

7. Engetelo

  • Meaning: Addition (of Goodness)
  • Origin: Tsonga

8. Entelo

  • Meaning: Depth
  • Origin: Tsonga

9. Dzunisani

  • Meaning: Praise
  • Origin: Tsonga

10. Khensani

  • Meaning: Give Thanks
  • Origin: Tsonga

11. Khomeleni 

  • Meaning: Forgive
  • Origin: Tsonga

12. Khongelani

  • Meaning: Pray
  • Origin: Tsonga

13. Khinkhi

  • Meaning: Eventful
  • Origin: Tsonga

14. Kulani 

  • Meaning: Grow
  • Origin: Tsonga

15. Matimba

  • Meaning: Power/Strength
  • Origin: Tsonga

16. Matimu

  • Meaning: History made
  • Origin: Tsonga

17. Masungulo

  • Meaning: Beginnings
  • Origin: Tsonga

18. Mheho

  • Meaning: Direction
  • Origin: Tsonga

19. Mixo

  • Meaning: Dawn/Morning
  • Origin: Tsonga

20. Mfanelo

  • Meaning: Noble Duty
  • Origin: Tsonga

21. Mahlori

  • Meaning: Wonders
  • Origin: Tsonga

22. Xihlamariso 

  • Meaning: Surprise
  • Origin: Tsonga

23. Xivono

  • Meaning: Vision
  • Origin: Tsonga

24. Amukelani

  • Meaning: Accept/Recognize
  • Origin: Tsonga

25. Amukelo

  • Meaning: Acceptance
  • Origin: Tsonga

26. Andzisa

  • Meaning: Multiply (The Good)
  • Origin: Tsonga

27. Andzani

  • Meaning: Grow (In Numbers)
  • Origin: Tsonga

28. Andzisani

  • Meaning: Multiply (The Good)
  • Origin: Tsonga

29. Andziso

  • Meaning: Growth
  • Origin: Tsonga

30. Makungu

  • Meaning: Plan
  • Origin: Tsonga

31. Khomeleni 

  • Meaning: Forgive
  • Origin: Tsonga

32. Khongelani 

  • Meaning: Pray
  • Origin: Tsonga

33. Khinkhi 

  • Meaning: Eventful
  • Origin: Tsonga

34. Kulani 

  • Meaning: Grow
  • Origin: Tsonga

35. Landzani

  • Meaning: Follow
  • Origin: Tsonga

36. Langutani 

  • Meaning: Behold
  • Origin: Tsonga

37. Mahlori

  • Meaning: Wonders
  • Origin: Tsonga

38. Lwandle 

  • Meaning: Sea
  • Origin: Tsonga

39. Langavi

  • Meaning: Flame
  • Origin: Tsonga

40. Yerhu

  • Meaning: Ours
  • Origin: Tsonga

41. Xisungulo

  • Meaning: The Beginning
  • Origin: Tsonga

42. Xikombiso

  • Meaning: Example
  • Origin: Tsonga

43. Xilombe

  • Meaning: Sweet Voice
  • Origin: Tsonga

44. Xiluvelo

  • Meaning: Throne / Shrine
  • Origin: Tsonga

45. Xitshembiso 

  • Meaning: Promise
  • Origin: Tsonga

46. Rhulani

  • Meaning: Be Peaceful
  • Origin: Tsonga

47. Rindzela 

  • Meaning: Expect (Something Good)
  • Origin: Tsonga

48. Ringeta

  • Meaning: Keep Trying
  • Origin: Tsonga

49. Risima

  • Meaning: Value
  • Origin: Tsonga

50. Rito

  • Meaning: Voice of Honour
  • Origin: Tsonga

Five Most Common Tsonga Names and Their Meanings

  • Xikhongelo – meaning: Prayer
  • Tengisa – meaning: Purify
  • Dzunani – meaning: Be proud
  • Ahlulani – meaning: separating the good from the bad’
  • Tintswalo – meaning: mercy

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Do Tsonga People Give Their Children Names Based On Circumstances?

Yes, they do just most tribes in Africa. They believe that when a child is born and named, it is his spirit that is named, not necessarily his soul. In Xitsonga culture, children are named based on circumstances surrounding their birth some of which include wishes of the child, traditional beliefs, social aspects of the family, hopes, or the expression of gratitude to a particular deity.

See also
The Venda People - Culture, Traditional Attire & Music

Question 2:  Do They Have Naming Practices As Well?

The Tsonga people have several naming practices which have been in existence for years.  Traditionally, it is the paternal aunt of a newborn baby that gives him or her a name after delivery. But the child does not have one, it is the duty of his parents or grandparents to find a name for him or her. If the child has an aunt, the person is expected to play several roles in his life from his young age to the time the child dies.

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Understanding The Zulu Culture, Traditional Attire & Food

Some of his aunt’s roles including performing traditional rites when the child is about to get married, and also go to initiation school, where they are initiated into manhood or womanhood.

Question 3: What Are Their Naming Practices?

There are five known ways children are named in Xitsonga culture. They include:

a. Naming a child after chiefs

The Vatsonga sometimes give their children the names of their chiefs. They do with the hope that the child will emulate the chief and pattern his life just like him. Parents who do such go for chiefs who are celebrated for their good deeds and kind gestures to people and their subjects. Names of chiefs that can be given to children include but not limited to Xikundu, Muhlava, Nghunghu, Mawewe, Nyana, Mhinga, and Soshangane.

b. Naming a child after ancestors

The second naming practice that Vatsonga associates with naming a child after their ancestors as a way of paying homage to the ancestor or keeping his name going. Some of the names of ancestors that children bear include Malenga (of Ma-luleke clan) and Xinyori(of Cawuke clan).

c. Naming a child after circumstances surrounding his birth

Most parents give their name their children names base on the situation or condition of things at the time they were born. A man may decide to give his child a name that is associated with greatness if he experiences a breakthrough or wins something big at the time of the birth of the child.

Some Tsonga names people bear base on circumstances surrounding their arrival in the world are Vu-lolo (laziness), Swicele (quarrels), Rivengo (hatred), and Vukwele (jealousy), Tintswalo (mercy), Munene (goodness), and Khensani (be thankful).

d. Visitors naming a child

In Tsonga, a traveller or visitor may be given the opportunity to christen a newly born child. This doesn’t happen all the time. However, in cases where it happened, the visitor always comes back to pay the child a visit once a year. While coming he is expected to bring along wonderful gifts to consolidate the name that he gave the child.

e. Naming according to the birthplace

Besides allowing visitors to name a child, in Xitsonga culture it is common to find children who were named after the place their mother had them. For instance, if a child is born on the way to a hospital or under a fig tree may be named Ndleleni (on the way) or Nkuweni,  which is derived from the noun ‘nkuwa’ (fig tree).

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