Christmas in Africa

Christmas in Africa

Christmas in Malawi

Moni Wa Chikondwelero Cha X'mas(Merry Christmas)

Malawi was for many years occupied by the British and thus has inherited Christmas traditions from England. One big difference though is that it doesn't snow in Malawi except at the top of Mt. Malanje. Also during December temperatures range from around 80 to 70 degrees f. The British influence means that Malawi not only celebrates Christmas Day on the 25th of December but also Boxing Day on the 26th of December. Children await the arrival of Father Christmas instead of Santa Claus. Of course a celebration includes a large traditional meal.

Christmas in Lesotho

Sesotho- Litakaletso tse monate tsa keresemese le mahalohonolo a selemo se secha(Merry Christmas and a happy New Year)

Like Malawi, Lesotho was a part of the British empire for several years and thus has inherited Christmas traditions from England. Because of the altitude snow is common in Lesotho but not in December, so don't go looking for a white Christmas here. People here will often go to church where they sing hymns on Christmas eve.

Christmas in Botswana

TSWANA- A e nne ngwaga ye ntsha ya letlhôgônôlô.
Like Malawi and Lesotho, Botswana also has a British influence which leads to things like having a Pantomime at Christmas time. A pantomime is a comical, musical, and very vocal (unlike Mime). Based loosely on fairytales, it manages to fit in an old maid (played by a man) and a young hero (played by a woman). Somewhat like melodrama's performed in the United States, it usually envolves audience participation(booing the villian etc.)

Christmas in South Africa

South Africa Christmas is a summer holiday. It is a day where inside peoples houses they hang cotton wool and tinsel while outside they are going to the beach, rivers and mountains. Many families celebrate with an outside meal or braai. English speaking children sing carols, put out stockings for Father Christmas. Africans on Christmas day have a day of eating good and exchange gifts of enjoyment. The festival held is like a carnival with a week of singing, dancing and feasting. Schools are closed for five weeks of summer holidays and many people head to the mountains or coast.



  • 4 Cups Water 
  • 2 Cups plain corn meal

Method: Pour 4 cups of water into a medium size cooking pot. Heat the water for 3 - 4 minutes or until warm. Using one tablespoonful at a time, slowly sprinkle 3/4 cup of the corn meal into the pot while stirring continuously with a cooking stick. Keep stirring slowly until the mixture begins to thicken and boil. Turn the heat to medium, cover the pot, and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.

Cautiously remove the top. Slowly, a little at a time, pour into the pot 1 and a quarter cups of corn meal and briskly stir with the cooking stick until smooth and thick. Stir vigorosly. Sprinkle a little more corn meal and stir if you desire the nsima to be thicker or less if you want softer nsima. Cover, turn the heat off and let nsima sit on the stove for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Serves 4 people
Should be served hot with a vegetable, bean, meat or fish dish.


  • 1/2 lb lamb or chicken 
  • 2 Tbs. Olive Oil 
  • 1 Large Onion; Chopped 
  • 1 Clove Garlic; Peeled & Minced 
  • 1 Bunch Swiss Chard; Chopped & Separate White Parts from Green 
  • 1/4 cup peanut flower/ chopped peanuts (groundnuts) 
  • 2 Yams; Peeled & Thickly Sliced 
  • 10-oz. can Whole Tomatoes 
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste 
  • 1/2 cup Raw Rice 

First cut meat into small pieces, braise meat briefly over a grill or in a large skillet. In a large cooking pot over medium heat warm oil and saute onion, garlic and white stems of chard until wilted, about 5-minutes. Add chopped greens and continue to saute. Add groundnuts, yams, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Continue to saute for 3 to 5-minutes. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add rice to the well. Pat rice down with a wooden spoon until moist. Add meat, cover and cook until rice is complete, about 25-minutes. Check mixture occasionally and add water 2 Tbs. at a time if rice is dry and starting to stick during cooking.

Malawi is blessed with a large lake where fish provide food for a great deal of the population.
Here's a great recipe for Malawian Chambo(fried tilapia in spicy gravy)

Many more recipes available on Recipes Wiki.

Songs / Hymns

Lord Bless Africa
Lord, bless Africa,
May her spirit rise high up
Hear thou our prayers
Lord bless us.
Lord, bless Africa

May her spirit rise high up
Hear thou our prayers
Lord bless us
Your family.
Descend, O Spirit
Descend, O Holy Spirit
Lord bless us
Your family.
[Lovedale Press :1934]

Morena Boloka Sechaba sa Heso
Morena boloka sechaba sa heso
O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho,
Morena boloka sexhaba sa heso,
O fedise dintwa le matshwenyho.
O se boloke, o se boloke,
O se boloke, o se boloke.
Sechaba sa heso, Sechaba sa heso.
O se boloke morena se boloke,
O se boloke sechaba, se boloke.
Sechaba sa heso, sechaba sa heso.

Ma'kube njalo! Ma'kube njalo!
Kude kube ngunaphakade.
Kude kube ngunaphakade!
[Morija Mission : 1942]

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo
Yiva imathandazo yethu
Nkosi Sikelela Nkosi Sikelela
Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw" uphondo lwayo
Yiva imathandazo yethu
Nkosi Sikelela
Thina lusapho lwayo.

Yihla moya, yihla moya
Yihla moya oyingcwele
Nkosi Sikelela
Thina lusapho lwayo.
[Lovedale Press : 1934]


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