How to make Munkoyo,Thobwa and Chibwantu

Munkoyo is a non-alcoholic beverage in Zambia. It is found among many tribes in Zambia.  Different tribes enjoy different types of traditional beverages like Thobwa and Chibwantu. It is a refreshing beverage that can be enjoyed especially in the hot season as a cold drink. Recipes of how to make Munkoyo, Thobwa and Chibwantu all use a fermentation process so as to improve its taste. The fermentation takes place with the aid of the Munkoyo root.  It gets alcoholic as it ferments. One needs to be careful when taking highly fermented Munkoyo as it can cause a stomach upset. Here is the recipe of how to make Munkoyo, Thobwa and Chibwantu the traditional way.

How to make munkoyo thobwa and chibwantu

How to make Munkoyo, Thobwa and Chibwantu

For Munkoyo, you will need;


2 cups of mealie meal (you can use Roller Meal or Breakfast).


A handful of munkoyo root for fermentation



A big pot

A wooden spoon

A sieve


  1. Place water in a large pot and leave it to warm up
  2. Slowly stir in the mealie meal
  3. Leave the porridge to boil on medium heat, until it starts to change colour to a slight yellow.
  4. Remove from heat and leave to cool
  5. Soak the Munkoyo roots in water.
  6. Take the Munkoyo roots and stir in the porridge until all lumps are gone, if it’s too thick you can add some water.
  7. Leave it to ferment for 24 hours. Leave it to ferment, do not cool in the fridge
  8. After 24 hours you must sieve the Munkoyo.
  9. Take the sieved Munkoyo and put in a clean bucket and set it aside for another 2-4 days then after that you can put in a fridge to cool
  10. It is now ready to serve
  11. Serve with sugar
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How to make Chibwantu

Chibwantu is another type of Munkoyo common among the Tonga tribe of Sothern Province

Here is the recipe of how to make Chibwantu. You can use the common Munkoyo roots


1 cup Mealie meal

Munkoyo roots (at least 5)

3 cups of Masembe (Crushed Maize Meal)




  1. Soak the Munkoyo sticks in medium sized water about 3 hrs before making the Chibwantu.
  2. Wash the Masembe
  3. Put some water in a pot. When it starts boiling, add the Masembe and stir the continuously with a wooden cooking stick.
  4. When it starts to thicken like a porridge, make a paste of mealie meal and water in a separate bowl then add it to the mixture while stirring continuously.
  5. Let it cook for about 30 -45 minutes
  6. Cool for at least 1 hour and stir the mixture from time to time
  7. Remove from the pot and after it cools, mix the cooled Masembe porridge with the Munkoyo water and sticks, mashing the lamps in the water until it is well mixed.
  8. Leave it to rest for about 2 to 3 days for fermentation to take place.
  9. When it has fermented, remove the Munkoyo sticks
  10. Ready to serve


How to make Thobwa

Thobwa is a Zambian traditional drink similar to Munkoyo. It is thicker and unlike Munkoyo uses another ingredient such as sorghum or millet. It is popular in the Eastern Province of Zambia. It is now being made and sold as a powder in prepacks. It can be found in almost all supermarkets. With the ready-made Thobwa, you only need to add water and it is ready to serve. As for the traditional Zambian recipe, here is how to make Thobwa.

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Maize meal

Chimela (made from fermented maize, millet or sorghum)




  1. Make a thick porridge of maize meal using water and roller meal
  2. Let this porridge cook thoroughly
  3. Dilute it with water and then let it cool
  4. Once the watery porridge has cooled completely, add the Chimela and stir thoroughly
  5. Leave overnight for fermentation to occur
  6. The following day, start boiling the Thobwa porridge for about 3 -4 hours
  7. Continue to boil until there are no more bubbles on top of the bubbling brew
  8. Remove it from the heat and cool
  9. Add sugar and serve




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