Some Thoughts on Malawian Ethnic Groups

The other day I was contemplating the ancestors and  national character as it were. While reading a Ph.D thesis on the Yao people, I read that the Yao, the ethnic group that my maternal grandfather belonged to were warriors and were prided for their intellect. I’m keen to learn about the other tribes in Malaŵi, and about what their characteristics are. Could those characteristics have been passed down over the ages?

Issues around ethnic groups are often complex, to my understanding. Three ethnic groups are featured among my parents; Yao, Lomwe and Sena. How do I decide which one I am? Some of the tribes in Malaŵi are matrilineal, others patrilineal, so it’s not always easy to determine whether one should follow their father’s or parent’s side.

Interesting site that talks about the main tribes of Malaŵi. I know there are more but this is a good start:


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