The foods eaten by the people of Swaziland

The Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, has a rich culinary history shaped by its geography, culture, and various external influences. Over the last 500 years, food in Eswatini has remained deeply rooted in traditional agriculture, though it has also evolved with the times. Here's an overview:

Pre-Colonial Period:

  1. Maize and Sorghum: These were staple crops, used for making porridge and beer.
  2. Root Vegetables: Tubers like yams and sweet potatoes were cultivated and consumed.
  3. Wild Fruits: Indigenous fruits like marula were harvested seasonally.
  4. Meat: Hunting was a common practice, providing meat from antelope, deer, and other game.
  5. Fish: In areas near water bodies, fishing was a crucial source of protein.

Colonial Period:

  1. Introduction of New Foods: European colonizers introduced new foods like pumpkins, tomatoes, and potatoes.
  2. Livestock Farming: Beef and chicken farming were expanded under European influence.
  3. Sugarcane: The introduction of sugarcane led to new ways of sweetening foods.

Post-Colonial to Modern Times:

  1. Maize: Maize porridge, often called "emasi," made with fermented milk, remains a staple.
  2. Meats: Goat, chicken, and beef are common, often prepared as stews or grilled.
  3. Vegetables: Leafy greens, beans, and groundnuts (peanuts) are significant components of the diet.
  4. Fruits: Tropical fruits like bananas, oranges, and mangoes are popular.

Traditional Dishes:

  1. Sishwala: Thick maize porridge often served with meat or vegetable stew.
  2. Incwancwa: Fermented porridge made from maize meal or sorghum.
  3. Sidvudvu: A dish made from pumpkin and groundnuts.
  4. Umncweba: Dried, uncooked meat (biltong).
  5. Emasi etinkhobe temmbila: Ground maize mixed with fermented milk and groundnuts.

Modern Influences:

  1. Western Cuisine: Due to globalization, foods like pasta, bread, and fast food are increasingly common.
  2. Supermarkets and Processed Foods: Industrialization and urbanization have made processed foods more accessible.
  3. Health Trends: There is a growing awareness of the importance of a balanced diet, leading to the increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.


  1. Mageu: A traditional non-alcoholic drink made from fermented mealie meal.
  2. Tjwala: Traditional beer made from maize or sorghum.
  3. Modern Beverages: Tea, coffee, and sodas are commonly consumed.

While modern influences are undeniable, traditional foods continue to play an essential role in the daily lives of the Swazi people. Whether it's a celebratory feast or an everyday meal, the food of Eswatini offers a rich combination of traditional and modern flavors.

Back to blog

For those eating a modern diet, we recommend adding the below vitamins to your daily routine.