The Tonga mainly occupy both the valley and plateau above the Zambezi River in the Southern Province of Zambia and the adjacent borderlands of northern Zimbabwe. Subsistence relies on plow agriculture and raising livestock. Cotton is grown as a cash crop and commercial fishing is practiced along the river. Traditional society was organized into matrilineal clans with big-men exercising minimal power over neighborhoods of less than a thousand people. In post-colonial Zambia, councilors are elected at the ward, district and provincial level. Missionary presence since the turn of the nineteenth century has produced a blend of Christian doctrines with traditional beliefs in ancestral and communal spirits.
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Africa --Southern Africa
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Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF World Cultures and are referenced by author, date of publication and eHRAF document number.
The ethnography in the Tonga file focuses on the Gwembe Valley and Plateau Tonga. Elizabeth Colson has written the major ethnographies on both groups. For the Gwembe Tonga see Colson (1967, document no. 1) and the Plateau Tonga (1949, no. 16; 1958, no. 15). Colson also examines spirit possession among the Gwembe Tonga (1969, no. 12), land tenure (1966, no. 10) and resettlement (Colson 1971, no. 4). Thayer Scudder’s work focuses on Gwembe Tonga subsistence activities and ecology (Scudder 1962, no. 2; 1971, no. 5; 1972, no. 9). Barrie Reynolds provides a comprehensive volume on their material culture (Reynolds 1968, no. 3) and three studies examine how their resettlement has affected changes in kinship relations with consequences for widows (Cigett 2005, no. 13), the power of men (Lancaster 1967, no. 14), and sharing (Araki 2001, no. 17).
chitimene -- beer working bee -- Use Labor And Leisure ( 461 )
cikolo -- poison -- Use Pharmaceuticals ( 278 )
katongu -- neighborhooduse category -- Use Settlement Patterns ( 361 )
malweza -- taboo -- Use Avoidance And Taboo ( 784 )
masabe -- spirit -- Use Spirits And Gods ( 776 )
masoto -- illicit intercourse -- Use Sex And Marital Offenses ( 684 )
muganga -- witch finder -- Use Sorcery ( 754 )
mukowa -- matrilineal group -- Use Lineages ( 613 )
mukwaasi -- inlaws -- Use Siblings In Law ( 607 )
munzi -- village -- Use Community Structure ( 621 )
sikatongo -- ritual leader -- Use Magicians And Diviners ( 791 )
zelo -- bad spirit, or ghost -- Use Spirits And Gods ( 776 )