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The Indigenous Tshwa and Doma People of Zimbabwe

2023-03-29
Lingua:English
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In today’s show, “The Indigenous Tshwa and Doma People of Zimbabwe,” we will learn about two ethnic groups which belong to some of the oldest cultures of South Africa.

There are approximately 2,600 Tshwa San who live primarily in western Zimbabwe. Tjwao (formerly spelled Tshwao) is the dialect spoken by the Tshwa people and it was traditionally taught orally. Traditionally, Tshwa families were fairly small, consisting of parents and two or three children. They lived in larger groups of 25 to 50 people who shared similar traditions. Although the different groups had territorial units of land, they shared access to resources such as water, trees, medicinal plants and stones.

When taking resources from another group’s land, it is customary to first request permission from the custodians. Unfortunately, many Tshwa families do face food insecurity with low crop yields and unpredictable weather patterns- a common issue faced by our world today. With climate change rampant, this has taken a large toll on the communities.

Let’s now explore the Doma ethnic groups of Zimbabwe. The Doma people, also called vaDoma, Dema or Wadona, largely live in the Kanyemba region located in northern Zimbabwe. Mythological stories describe the Doma having emerged from a baobab tree before walking out onto the land. The people once lived in the mountains and followed a predominantly nomadic lifestyle.

The most difficult challenge that the Doma face today is food insecurity. Supreme Master Ching Hai (vegan) has noted the food security issue that is happening around the world. She has cautioned humankind about this problem for decades and expressed much concern about the increasing lack of food stability caused by the animal-people agriculture industry.

Despite the challenges the Doma people face, they have a strong sense of community and a culture of inclusivity. This is demonstrated through their respect and acceptance of those who look different and have unique conditions such as Ectrodactyly. The plight of the Doma is slowly being addressed. A school is being built in Mariga and plans are underway to build roads and a bridge at the Mwazamutanda River which will become impassable during the rainy season. The Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI) and its member organizations have also provided donations of clothing, shoes and stationery for the children.
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