Makua people

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A Makua mother and child in Mozambique.

The Makua are a Bantu ethnic group of Southeast Africa, Southern Africa and in Central Africa and the largest ethnic group in Mozambique, and also have a large population across the border in the Masasi District of Mtwara Region in southern Tanzania. They live in the region to the north of the Zambezi River. The Makua are also present in the Republic of the Congo precisely in the district of Makoua. The total Makua population is estimated to be about 1,160,000, with 800,000 living in Mozambique in 1997 and 360,000 in Tanzania in 1993.[1]


The Makua have lived in the area of Northern Mozambique at least since the fifteenth century. Between 1580 and 1590 the Makua revolted against the Portuguese.[2]


By 1973, one observer estimated that 50% of the Makua were animists, 35% were Sunni Muslims and 10% were Roman Catholics.[3] The first inland Makua conversions to Islam were noted in 1771.[4] Since 2005, there have been over 10,000 churches among the Makua groups.

The Makua Diaspora[edit]

Other Makua people were known to be residing in South Africa in a Durban city called Bluff. However, due to the Group Areas Act, they were forcibly removed from Bluff and settled in Bayview, Chatsworth, Durban in 1960. Although the majority of the Makua people in South Africa were settled in Bayview, some live in Wentworth, Marianhill, Marianridge, Umlazi, Newlands East and West, Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The Makua people in South Africa are mostly Muslims[citation needed]. The Makua language, a Bantu language, is still predominantly spoken among the people, alongside Afrikaans and Zulu (in South Africa), Portuguese in Mozambique, some Swahili by the elders of the community but still spoken by many on the Tanzania-Mozambican border, and English in South Africa and Tanzania.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Pg 120. The Portuguese Period in East Africa. By Justice Strandes. 1971. Nairobi. Kenya.
  3. ^ Kathleen E. Sheldon (2002). Pounders of Grain: A History of Women, Work, and Politics in Mozambique (illustrated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated. pp. 15–16. ISBN 9780325071015. 
  4. ^ Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb (1993). The Encyclopaedia of Islam: MIF-NAZ. Brill. p. 246.