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Xhosa cultural cuisine



The traditional breakfast is soft porridge made of mealie meal and water which is called isidudu. Cooking takes about 10 to 15 minutes on a medium heated stove. It has a number of varieties which I'm sure is a very clever way of making it less boring. In my younger days it was the only thing we ate for breakfast as we could not afford the variety of breakfast cereals so popular these days.You either have it white or reddish brown depending on the mealie meal used. You can have it plain tasting or fermented with sugar. Soft porridge is best served hot and you can cool it down after adding your preferred ingredient/s for taste.

The variety of ingredients has grown over time with new products that have been introduced to the consumer market. You can enjoy it with milk, peanut butter and for those who don't have time for the fermenting process, vinegar or lemon but always with sugar. Fermented soft porridge has a ting of lemon sourly taste. Mealie meal is mixed with water and left in a container for 3 days and this mixture ferments over this period. After the fermentation process is over it's the cooked like your ordinary soft porridge and served.

Umbhako & Umkhupha

There are two kinds of bread, one is called umbhako and the other one umkhupha. The different names are directly related to the methods used to cook them. Umbhako is cooked over hot coals with an animal fat base (nowadays Margarine and butter are more popular) around the inside of baking pot to make sure that the dough does not stick to the sides. Umkhupha is basically steamed bread. Both of them are most delectable whilst hot especially with a spread of margarine but are most enjoyable with ulusu (tripe and intestines).


It is considered very disrespectful in the Xhosa culture to make eye contact with an elder while being reprimanded.

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iziduko (clan names) Xhosa Kingdom Nongqawuse Hole in the wall Ukoluka (Initiation)



Nkosi sikelel'iAfrika was composed as a hymm by Enoch Sontonga (1873 - 1905), a Xhosa clergyman born in Uitenhage of the Methodist mission school in Nancefield near Johannesburg. It became a Pan-African liberation anthem which was adopted as National Anthem by five African countries including South Africa which uses a portion of the Anthem.

1779 - 1879

The Xhosa wars which were also known as Africa's Hundred Years War or Cape Frontier Wars were a series of 9 wars between the Xhosa's and White settlers. These wars were sparked by competition for land from the White settlers who decided to spread inland from the Cape Colony which they had established to supply ships en route to and from the East Indies.

1730 - 1792

The first documented Xhosa king was King Gcaleka who ruled from 1775 to 1792 but before him there were 12 Kings from which he ascended the throne. The first known Xhosa king was King Ntu followed by King Nguni, King Xhosa, King Malangana, King Nkosiyamntu, King Sikhomo, King Togu, King Ngconde, King Tshiwo and King Phalo. The present King of amaXhosa, King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu, was sworn in on the 15th May 2015 at Nqadu Great Place in Willowvale, Eastern Cape. It is the first coronation of a Xhosa King in 50 years.