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, 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 of Mozambique
They live south of Zambezi River and along the border with Zimbabwe.
The Tonga language of Zambia
The Tonga language of Zambia and Zimbabwe is a Bantu Language primarily spoken by the Tonga people in those countries who live mainly in the Southern and Western provinces of Zambia, and in northern Zimbabwe, with a few in Mozambique. The language is also spoken by the Tonga, Ila, Iwe, Toka and...
is spoken by about 1.38 million people in Zambia and 137,000 in Zimbabwe; it is an important lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...
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
The Bantu languages constitute a traditional sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages. There are about 250 Bantu languages by the criterion of mutual intelligibility, though the distinction between language and dialect is often unclear, and Ethnologue counts 535 languages...
Tonga also speak Shona
Shona is a Bantu language, native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe and southern Zambia; the term is also used to identify peoples who speak one of the Shona language dialects: Zezuru, Karanga, Manyika, Ndau and Korekore...
in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, English
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...
in Zambia and Zimbabwe, and Portuguese
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...
in Mozambique as second languages.