The Lemba of Southern
There are about 80,000 Lemba today, most of whom live around the city of Louis Trichardt in the Northern Province (formerly Transvaal) of South Africa, and in villages in the southwestern region of Zimbabwe. Some Lemba live in the densely packed black township of Soweto, in the shadow of the South African capital of Johannesburg.
Soweto teems with more than two million black workers, many of whom are poor by South African standards. Most houses in Soweto are squat, square and hidden behind barb wire security fences that are ubiquitous in contemporary South Africa.
The land of Northern South Africa and southwestern Zimbabwe rolls with green, rocky hills. There is a lot of rich farmland in those hills, but Lemba who are farmers, especially those in Zimbabwe, are wary of droughts that threaten to plague the area. Even the most fortunate Lemba farmers struggle to bring in their crop, fighting the element (and occasional political unrest) to maintain their traditional Lemba way of life.
lemba | history | the setting | religious life | secular life
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