Mageu (Setswana spelling), Mahleu (Sesotho spelling) Maxau ( Khoekhoe spelling), maHewu, amaRhewu (Xhosa spelling) or amaHewu (Zulu and Northern Ndebele spelling) is a traditional Southern African non-alcoholic drink among many of the Khoekhoe -Damara and Nama people, Sotho people, Tswana people and Nguni people made from fermented mealie pap. Home production is still widely practised, but the drink is also available at many supermarkets, being produced at factories. Its taste is derived predominantly from the lactic acid that is produced during fermentation, but commercial mageu is often flavoured and sweetened, much in the way commercially available yogurt is. Similar beverages are also made in other parts of Africa.
Nutritionally, it is similar to its parent mealie meal, but with the glucose metabolized to lactate during fermentation. Commercial preparations are often enriched (In South Africa, the term ‘fortification’ is only allowed legally for specific, government-sanctioned nutrition programs, e.g. that of bread) with vitamins and minerals. Although typically considered non-alcoholic, very small amounts (less than 1%) of ethanol have been reported as a contaminant.