Meaning of toyi-toyi in English:


Pronunciation /ˈtɔɪtɔɪ/

nounplural noun toyi-toyis

South African
  • A dance step characterized by high-stepping movements, typically performed at protest gatherings or marches.

    ‘The documentary also captures the archetypal South African war dance, the toyi-toyi.’
    • ‘‘For us, the toyi-toyi was like a weapon of war,’ says one of the activists in the film.’
    • ‘A senior staff member present during the toyi-toyi pleaded with police not to arrest the students, saying it would make the situation worse.’
    • ‘There was no toyi-toyi for houses, shortage of medicines at clinics, insufficient learning materials for schools and student class boycotts.’
    • ‘This, she and others attending the event said, was the first ever recorded toyi-toyi in Xhosa history.’

verbverb toyi-toyis, verb toyi-toying, verb toyi-toyiing, verb toyi-toyied

[no object]South African
  • Perform toyi-toyi dance steps.

    ‘when the accused were brought back to court they were singing and toyi-toying’
    • ‘In Port Elizabeth, close to 3000 teachers, nurses, police officers, prison warders and clerks marched on the city hall, carrying banners, toyi-toying and singing about having ‘empty stomachs’.’
    • ‘When the Daily Dispatch arrived at the school yesterday afternoon, pupils were toyi-toying inside the school premises.’
    • ‘This are the very guys who are toyi-toying for more money whilst the quality of their work leaves a lot to be desired.’
    • ‘I understand why these guys are toyi-toying, but this is going to affect me greatly.’
    • ‘Does the art world not toyi-toyi, or find a suitable equivalent if it wants something badly enough?’


Ndebele and Shona; probably introduced into South Africa by ANC exiles returning from military training in Zimbabwe.