This website has existed in various forms since 2010. We have received numerous messages since starting:

Sainab Stella Twaibu Waison says

I am so happy to find this site. I am a Yawo born in Zimbabwe and my dad left when I was only nine years old to go to Malawi but I grew under Chiyawo culture. I have been to Malawi only once to find my dad Ajabu Twaibu Waison. I hope to come back very soon. (2016)

Ileme Machemba says

I am so delighted let alone surprised, to know that there are so many of us out there. I have just read about our KING MACHEMBA and definitely want find where he is RIP. I have never been more proud; guys, lets keep communicating. I was born in and am of Malawian origin. (2016)

Habiba Dinala says

My name is Habiba my surname Dinala a South African born Yawo, I’m so proud to see Yawo people being proud of who they are, my father is late but he Used to so proudly say ngune wachiYawo. And that made me to alwys want to find out more about the Yawos. By the way there is so many of us born in SA. (2015)

Saidihbb says

I’m Saidi wali Maluwa a Zulu Yao born in South Africa some forty years ago.

My Dad Maluwa was born in Lu ab in Beira Mozambique to Wochi wali Mpando from Mwenye Che Mpando.

My grandmother namely Anganijao abiti Chitenje abiti Chizekula was born in the late around 1896 whom I was very lucky to have met in 1984 is a direct paternal aunt to the late famous Chief T/A Katuli,Mkuwele Ngolojele in Mangochi.

I’m also very proud to say that my mom on the other hand is a Lemba descendant Zulu and Zulu too by surname.

I was indeed very lucky to visit my relatives in Malawi and learn alot especially about the fisrt most famous female Yao Chief BIBI NGOLOJELE and other stories from them in my early youth.

I would like to express my gratitude to “THE I AM YAO PRJECT” for taking the great interest in regard to their project.


Douglas James Mpoto says “Ngusaka kulikumbusya ja kumusi–ko.” (2014)

Pedro Domingos Trigo says in reference to the mp3 audio Bibles we had posted about

Olá. Nós gostamos muito deste aparelho. Já estamos a usar há dois anos com bons resultados. É a ferramenta que usamos para o evangelismo e para o discipulafo dos novos convertidos. Deus vos abençoe. (2014)

Cuthbert wadi Sobekwa says in reference to the sweet potato literature

tinembe mchingeresi

Correction of “Mbataata sya ciyaawo sya Majooni"

To me its sounds like this potato has got two identities hence its only a potato, history say this type of potato was introduced to us by one of the settlers called “Jooni” (John in English), by that time we had a type called “Kaliwila or Kaliwiwila” so because we dint know it by its original name it was baptised “Jooni”. Just like Irish Potato because it was introduced by the Irish people from Ireland.

To the point there is no potato which is named after the tribe (that is tribalism) Where i come from we call it Mbatata ja Jooni. (Mbatata sya Jooni in plural). Kwangali mbataata sya utundu wawandu iyayi. Mbatata ni mbatata basi. (2014)

Juma Ali Saiti says “Its great to have This piece of information and am proud of my Yawo People.” (2013)

Casten says “aliwuli kumusiko osope.” (2013)

Flammable says “this is nice, proud to from yao tribe.” (2013)

Hassan Idruss says in reference to San B’s music videos

proud to belong to yao tribe, help me please how can i download more yao music vedios? (2013)

Ayami Clement says

My name is Ayami Clement, from T/A Chowe Bugudadi Village Mangochi District. I am happy to share our views like this with my fellow yao trib. I would be great if the world can support the development. (2013)

Rah Chitumbo says

my name is Rah Chitumbo, ayao born in Zambia Luasaka educated in Mumbwa distrct primary school and junior secondary school. my father comes from the heart of Lichinga Malica, mozambique and mother further as we go to lake Malawi mbandesi.

when at i thought we are the most backward race but now i have seen not really the case.

I am a happy yao man living in Nampula city mozambique working in the United Nations.Through fighting to know where my parents came from lead to mozambique motherland.

I thank all the brothers who are concerned with our origin of our parents lets come together to preserve our yao culture. (2013)

Amisi Mbwana says

It is good when the people of my tribe put their heads together to record our own history and achievements. I am happy and proud of this. My father was Yao from Mpondas Mangochi and my mother Zimbabwean and I am very proud to call myself Yao.  I like this initiative yet at the same time I would like to stress that it should not only be about prominent people but all the Yaos at large, it is good to praise and uplift achievers but in Yao we say “Chilambo vandu”.

Blantyre , Chiladzulu and Zomba are areas with a serious presence of people and Chiefs of Yao origin yet the culture and language is dying, I have met some ignorant Yao people staying in Malawi who think it is cool not to be able to speak Yao their own mother tongue. It is a shame yet I can not really blame them because this was a result of wrong influences from the colonial times by the British and the christian churches which later crept on into the Kamuzu era whereby Yaos were looked down on. Magic, whichcraft and ignorance were all associated with our tribe then. I remember growing up and being mocked for being circurmcised could not bath with others because I was made to think that I was abnormal. There has always been a mystery about our tribe to the extent that my current wife only believed after meeting me that ”we Yaos dont eat dead people’s intestines during sadaka” as alleged by many lol. The problem is our history has been written on our behalf by others. The roles of our gallant fighters was down played by the former colonisers whose aim was to annihilate our tribe gunning down our chiefs and people hiding behind an anti slavery drive. Religion also played a major role in splitting our tribe and confusing our history, up to date I get shocked when I meet people who do not consider me Yao simply because I am not a Moslem and also those who can not call themselves Yao because they have converted to Christianity.

What is the true qualification of a Yao? I believe it is high time that a line was drawn between being a Yao and any religious affilliations. We should stop calling others Ayao sanga and Ayao vakulya mapuku because the bottom line is we all belong together. Arabs and Europeans brought us these religions which we embraced but should not be our identity, my biggest challenge to the Yaos is who really are we? Where did we come from? What are the real Yao tottems, how do we relate with the Makondes, Lomwes and Bisas who are supposed to be our natural cousins. How did Chinamwali start is it a Moslem thing or it was just part of our culture? Look into the value and essence of these initiations and how they can apply to our current situation.

There is HIVand AIDS prevalence nowadays we could also look at how to incoporate awareness of such into our cultural norms. Look at our social and marriage systems and inherittance practices and find the best ways to apply them now to our benefit. vaChiYao vangalusa! balabala jelejo. By the way I once visited a village behind Malosa Hospital in Machinga the origin of Mr Kumakanga and I feel it is unfair to exclude that man considering the book writing contribution he did to the education system of Malawi, and next to his place was also Makhumula Nkhoma a prominent Yao and also please chief Somba of Blantyre, che Mpinganjila, chief Sosola CheNyambi, Che Liwonde, cheKawinga, cheMataka vaKumwembe to name a few. (2013)

Hussein Phiri says

Well done comrades keep up the good work. I am a yao born & bred in zim. Teacher by profession, currently studying for a degree in educational management. (2013)

Gideon says

This is quite interesting indeed, I am proud to be a yao, born in Mangochi, Kella village. Leaving in Cape Town,  previously served as business associate at Macquarie bank Limited (Australia bank) together with the Thabo Tembo a son of John Tembo. Currently I am working in hand with South African magnet hotelier tycoon, Sol Kerzner. We have to be proud among ourselves as we are the only friendly culture, I guess in Malawi where we warmly can easily accommodate the other tribes. Kwende tukamulane a chakulungwa pakunyadira mtundu wetu. (2013)

Frank says “Ana jamani awiche nyimbo sine, proudly yao.” (2013)

Seenat Mirazi says

Hello. I need your assistance. I’m a 33 year old lady based in south Africa. My mom is south African and my dad is Malawian from Mangochi. I have an urge to trace my dads route back to Malawi culturally. What are we suppose to do as young men and women. In fact I would like to visit malawi. (2012)

Banks Mdala Kachinda says

Yakutesya lungw’anutu yeleyi achakulungwa: kwaune basi kwamba kutogolera. Am a Yao frm Dedza in T/A Tambala’s area. This is a good initiative but we need to add more as most information is flawed n shallow. (2012)

Rodreck Zimbili says

I’m looking for the origin of my father Goodson Wamuwa or Namuwa who migrated to Zimbabwe by then Rhodesia. He was born in Chiradzulu Malawi in 9-03-1930. My name is Rodreck Zimbili. I believe he is of the Yao tribe. Pliz help. (2012)

William Kachingwe says

have liked this site, and as a yao am very sure am gonna learn more… I am doing my research on Yao tribe and very sure indeed I will benefit more from this site. (2012)

Chiteleka says

Greetings. I have bumped into this page by mistake. I must say i am really happy. I am Yao. I live in Holland. I was born in Zimbabwe. there is a huge Yao community in Zimbabwe and most of us are second or third generation. Our grand parents migrated from Malawi. One this they left a heritage for us, the fact that we are Yao. We have tried to maintain our language and values. I went through jando and so were my sisters for msondo, all in a foreign land. indeed we must maintain our identity and value whom we are. In Zimbabwe, there could be more that 100 000 Yao people.My father tells me his parents hailed from CheMdoka Village, in Mangochi , T/A Namavi. Here is a facebook page for Yao people born in Zimbabwe ( (2012)

Daniel Dube says

The most important thing for the Yao people is to claim our heritage back. For this we need to celebrate our independece as a people, our economic enterprise and indeed rich traditions. Our people have began to mass large amounts of wealth. This wealth can only translate into tribal strength if yaos have connections and networking that designed for development of ourselves and our families and our people whereever they may be. Tribal confidence will come when we celebrate and create our own heroes, do our own sports, our own trade associations and build a practical education infrastructure that is focussed on things we do best and opening new horizons for the tribe. (2012)

Yusufu Zimbiri says

We are scattered all over southern africa. What I have observed about my tribesmen in countries where Chiyawo is not widely spoken, there is an identity crisis. Generally in every Yawo family, two or three intelligent children are born. Most of these children, though Muslims, because of the environment, lose touch with their language. I speak this language with easy but my children cannot understand even a single word. However, I am made to believe that the pupils in Malawi’s Mangochi region and those in Lichinga Province in Mozambique learn other vernaculars at school at the expense of their mother language (Yawo). Its time for us to take an initiative to ensure that we preserve our culture. Please note that I take solace in the fact that Yawo people are wonderful, humble and intelligent though our elders did not attend formal education. (2012)

George Makanjila says “quite interesting!!!!!!” (2012)

Dr. Daniel Dube says

Che Mkochi, Obviously, the website is a good start. I think that what would be good is indeed if we take charge in giving a good account of ourselves whether we are in Mocambique, Tanzania or Malawi. We have a very rich heritage. We are a unique people and have influenced the history of East Africa. Many Yaos have been shy or embarrassed to identify themselves as Yaos. Most recently, I have just found a key Malawian to have been a Yao, Dr. Attati Mpakati who was assasinated by Dr. Banda.

There is a nascent organization in Malawi; called Ndamo Sya Ayao which is being developed to promote Yao culture. If we achieve our aims and make a cultural center. You will certainly be in the arts section.

Dr. Daniel Dube

Yambone yosope. (2012)

Che Laije Mkochi says in reference to the Famous Yawo page

I think this list of famous yao’s is not worth. You should have done a thorough research before you came up with this list. Thats Y pipo blame Yao’s saying , Yao’s like short cuts.

Let me remind you that the current Head of the Pennysilvania Police is Ramon Suman, a yao from Machinga but born in the USA. When you talk about musicians, what about Martin Siwedi who played guitar in most of Tracy Chapmans earlier music heats. We have Yao fim actors here in the USA and I am one of them. (2012)

Cubilas Jose Manuel Messope says in reference to the Famous Yawo page

Obrigado pela iniciativa, gostei de cadastrar me num site dos ayaawos, mais em Mocambique existem outras figuras famosas num panorama politico, musical, academico, etc, nao sou o primeiro ministro, como por exemplo o Professor Catendratico Armindo Ngunga. Bom dia para todos os povos ayaawos e os simpatizantes desse povo. Abraco. Cubilas Messope (2011)

Ibrahim Mpache says

Interesting site I would like something about the yao people and their life in the morden day zimbabwe and possibly a documentary.
I liked your site. (2011)

MATLAKALA KWETEPE JOHN says in reference to the Yawo language page


Herbert Magombe says

Sikomo a chakulungwakulungwa. Mtundu wetu wa chiyao nditu ukusosekwa ukumulaneje. Soni, pakusosekwa kutenda ndondomeko jati wandu’we wa chiYao tukumbuchileje utamilo wetu ligongotu wanache wakupagwa kuyaka kuno, wajinji ngakuwecheta chiYao.

Sosileje soni jele bungweji jimanyichije kwabasi kuti wandu ajimanyilireje. Pana wandu wa chiYao wabasi wampakajile jele bungweji nikamusyanaga yakutenda. (2011)

Dr. Daniel Dube says in reference to the Famous Yawo page


This website is a great development! I hope that Yaos shall come out and express themselves and not be ashamed to claim our heritage. We remain an industrious people, business minded and unbeknowst to many people we have a complex culture of education , travel and trade dating back several hundred years. Our people number in millions in South Africa, and yao descendants unfortunately, assimilated in large numbers also number over a million in Zimbabwe.

Your list leaves two great names; the great lawrence Makata who was a representative of Nyasaland in the failed federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. I am also noticing the abscence of one of Africa’s greatest poets, Professor Jack Mapanje.

Daniel (2011)

Mwamadi ‘Achando’ Julius says

This is amazing. Have never ever had a dream of seing Yao people interacting using this modern system of communication let alone the world wide web. I find the material hereon, interesting and encouraging to me as a Yao mother tongue speaker. Thanks alot for coming up with such an idea. Will be surfing and sharing Yao material more frequently. keep it burning. Mbiteeee! (2010)

Benjamim da Silva Amral Guilherme Macunguel says

I am proud of seeing a YAO web page! I am YAO from Niassa – Lichinga, i would like to get to know more about our real History (Ancestors, Habits/Customs, Origin of common cultures, religion, food, kingdom, etc). Niassa is the biggest province of Mozambique and a part of it YAO is the best people. I feel like to improve my accent and vocabulary. It would be very important to share information regarding to our all YAO people on net, sometimes we meet. I thank you a lot to be YAO and wish to empower myself to uplift my mother tongue and upgrade and consolidate my network family (YAO). (2010)

Ishmael Rashid Grant says

I am very very happy for this initiative. Yes as Yao people, we need to know where we belong, what big things did our leaders do? and as a tribe, where do we stand and emulate the good things and keep the candle burning for our tribe, our areas, our people and our leaders. (2010)

Amidu Jagaji says

My name is Amidu Jagaji and iam coming from Mjale village T/A kalembo and i would like to inform you that our culture should come together and have a stetegic plan that will focus on the eeds and the challenges most of the yao youth are facing here in Malawi due to religion and political difference and its very un fairr for some of us who have been side line by various organisation due to our yao name and it is my desire that we should also move follwed to regoster an organisation that will also focus on the challeges that the yao community is facing so that there can be equality of resource rather than just focusing on the only tribe that some one believe and for your own information let us work hard in empoering the youth in tribe so that we can also read this countyry like what Muluzi did. (2010)

Ishmael Rashid Grant says

I am very very happy for this initiative. Yes as Yao people, we need to know where we belong, what big things did our leaders do? and as a tribe, where do we stand and emulate the good things and keep the candle burning for our tribe, our areas, our people and our leaders..! (2010)

Hassan Muhammad Kulesi says in reference to the Famous Yawo page

I apriciate the innitiative.
I just want to a few names who ve not been included.
That includes
John chilembwe
Lali lubani
Husein mwalabu
others to follow (2010)

RAFEEQ ISMAIL MAHMOUD says in reference to the Famous Yawo page

am proud of this initiative. I belong to this society. where I stay, yawos are regarded as the most backward people. but am now proud to know that we are also educated and productive people also. (2010)

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