Original Research

Ubuntu and mourning practices in the Tsonga culture: Rite of passage

Hundzukani P. Khosa-Nkatini
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 44, No 1 | a2682 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v44i1.2682 | © 2023 Hundzukani P. Khosa-Nkatini | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 August 2022 | Published: 31 May 2023

About the author(s)

Hundzukani P. Khosa-Nkatini, Department of Safety and Security Management, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology and National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Pretoria, South Africa


The article focusses on ubuntu and mourning rituals practised in the Tsonga culture. Tsonga cultures and rituals have been proclaimed as being different from province to province with a few similarities. The rituals referred to in this research do not however encompass the belief systems of all Tsonga people in South Africa. This study discusses ubuntu in the Tsonga context and how they partake in the processes of bereavement, grieving, mourning, death rituals, mourning practice and unveiling of the tombstone. This article addresses some challenges and the theme of liturgical inculturation in the Tsonga mourning processes. The study also addresses the necessary liturgical aggiornamento needed in the Tsonga mourning processes. It covers the social and religious aspects of the process Ubuntu and mourning practices in the Tsonga culture.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The contextual perspective challenged by this research is the understanding of ubuntu and mourning rituals of the Tsonga people in accordance with their culture. This research made use of a literature review based on mourning rituals, which solidifies this research as a study within Practical Theology because it is a liturgical inculturation study.


Tsonga; Ubuntu; culture; rites; rituals; mourning; practices


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