The Tonga people of Zambia and Zimbabwe (also called 'Batonga') are a Bantu ethnic group of southern Zambia and neighbouring northern Zimbabwe, and to a lesser extent, in Mozambique. They are related to the Batoka who are part of the Tokaleya people in the same area, and also to the Tonga people of Malawi. In southern Zambia they are patrons of the Kafue Twa.
The Tonga of Zimbabwe
The BaTonga people of Zimbabwe are found in and around the Binga District, Binga village the Kariba area, and other parts of Matabeleland. They number up to 300,000 and are mostly subsistence farmers. ln Zimbabwe the language of the Tonga people is called chitonga.
The Tonga People were settled along Lake Kariba after the construction of the Kariba Dam wall. They stretch from Chirundu, Kariba town, Mola,Binga to Victoria Falls. Like any other tribes in Zimbabwe, the educated ones relocated to inner cities in search of jobs and better education. In the named places, we found different tribes in Zimbabwe socialising together.
The Tonga language of Zambia is spoken by about 1.38 million people in Zambia and 137,000 in Zimbabwe; it is an important lingua franca in parts of those countries and is spoken by members of other ethnic groups as well as the Tonga. (The Malawian Tonga language is classified in a different zone of the Bantu languages.)
Tonga also speak Shona in Zimbabwe, English in Zambia and Zimbabwe, and Portuguese in Mozambique as second languages.
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