Tumbuka people

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The Tumbuka are a Bantu ethnic group living in Northern Malawi, Eastern Zambia and Southern Tanzania. Their God is called Chiuta, who is the Supreme Creator. The language of the Tumbuka is called chiTumbuka – the 'chi' meaning 'the language of the' just like 'ki' in 'kiSwahili' or 'se' in 'seTswana'. A Tumbuka will call another watumbuka, meaning one of the tribe of Tumbukas.

In northern Malawi the Tumbuka are ruled by village chiefs. Since the 18th century chiefs from the Chikulamayembe Dynasty are traditional supreme leaders of the Tumbuka people there.[1]

The World Almanac (1998) estimates approximately 2,000,000 Tumbuka speakers exist in the aforementioned three countries. Ethnologue estimates a total of 1,332,000 Tumbuka speakers, including 940,000 in Malawi and 392,000 in Zambia, with no Tumbuka presence listed for Tanzania.[2]

Tumbuka is a Bantu language, similar to Swahili in structure and vocabulary.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shadreck Billy Chirembo (1993). "COLONIALISM AND THE REMAKING OF THE CHIKULAMAYEMBE DYNASTY 1904 - 1953". The Society of Malawi Journal (Society of Malawi - Historical and Scientific) 46 (2): 1–24. JSTOR 29778687. 
  2. ^ Ethnologue report for language code

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