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Nyakyusa also known as “Sokile”, “Konde”, “Nkonde”, “Wangonde”, “Ngonde”, “Niakiusa”, “Nyakusa”, “Sochile” Pitek, Emily


The Nyakyusa are a group of Bantu-speaking people who inhabit the northern coastal plain of Lake Malawi and the section of the East African Rift Valley extending northward up the southern flank of Mount Rungwe. The Nyakyusa are linguistically and culturally similar to the Ngonde, who live on the northwestern coastal plain of Lake Malawi. After the establishment of European colonial regimes (ca. 1870s), the Ngonde became a part of the British Protectorate of Nyasaland (known as Malawi after independence), and the Nyakyusa were incorporated into the German colony of Tanganyika (Now Tanzania). After World War I, Tanganyika passed to the British, who assumed the territory under a League of Nations mandate and administered it until independence. (Kenny, 2011). The Nyakyusa religion is best characterized as a system of shared beliefs and ritual practices that are interwoven with Nyakyusa society at large. The major elements of their religion include ancestral spirits, mystical powers, and the presence of witchcraft. A sizeable Christian minority coexists in Nyakyusa society as a result of missionary influence; this entry focuses on the native beliefs shared among the majority of the population ca. 1930, before the more extensive incorporation of Christian ideas.

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