Definition of toyi-toyi in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtɔɪtɔɪ/
South African

noun (plural toyi-toyis)

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

verb (toyi-toyis, toyi-toying or toyi-toyiing, toyi-toyied)

[no object]
Perform toyi-toyi dance steps: when the accused were brought back to court they were singing and toyi-toying
More example sentences
  • 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.


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

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