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Umxhanxa, Nhopi – simple traditional delicacy

By Rejoice N. Mathema

It’s been noted that majority of our citizens, especially the youth, do not really take into consideration the value of tradition and therefore do not pay attention to the delicious traditional foods that we have in our country. Here are some of the simple traditional foods that you can try at home and enjoy!


Pumpkin pudding is traditionally seen as a meal for young children. It is a porridge of sorts and is made from mashed up pumpkins, water squash (shamba), mealie-meal and peanut butter. While it is a naturally sweet dish, sugar can be added  to further sweeten the taste. It is a light meal and can be served as dessert, snack, side dish or lunch. Fresh cream and cinnamon are commonly added to pumpkin pudding to add some depth to the flavour.

To make pumpkin pudding:

  • You boil the pumpkin and water squash together in a medium-sized pot
  • Mash the mixture to a desired consistency
  • Add cream, butter and peanut butter before serving.
  • Enjoy!!



A traditionally Ndebele dish. It is a seasonal dish often served in winter time after harvest time. It is often eaten for lunch.

To make umxhanxa:

  • Take a yellow watermelon (ijodo), peel and slice, remove seeds then boil for 30 minutes.
  • Boil the maize in a separate pot until the hard grains soften, which takes up to two and a half hours.
  • Mix together the cooked watermelon and  maize and add sugar to taste.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Rejoice is a young food scientist. She writes here in her capacity and can be contacted at

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