Makhuwa language

Makhuwa (Emakhuwa; also spelt Makua and Macua) is the primary Bantu language of northern Mozambique. It is spoken by 4 million Makua people, who live north of the Zambezi River, particularly in Nampula Province, which is virtually entirely ethnically Makua.[7] It is the most widely spoken indigenous language of Mozambique.

Apart from the languages in the same group, eMakhuwa is distinguished from other Bantu languages by the loss of consonant + vowel prefixes in favour of e; compare epula, "rain", with Tswana pula.

Long and short vowels are used for i, e, a, o, u, which is unusually sparse for a Bantu language:

  • omala - to finish
  • omaala - to paste, stick
  • omela - to sprout, bud
  • omeela - to share out

The consonants are more complex: postalveolar tt and tth exist, both p and ph are used. Both x (English "sh") and h exist while x varies with s. Regionally, there are also θ (the "th" of English "thorn"), ð (the "th" of English "seethe"), z and ng. In eLomwe, for instance, the -tt- of eMakhuwa is represented by a "ch" as in English "church".[7]

Makhuwa is closely related to Lomwe.

Native toMozambique, Tanzania, Malawi
Native speakers
6.6 million (2006)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
vmw – Central Makhuwa
mgh – Makhuwa-Meetto
vmk – Makhuwa-Shirima
kzn – Kokola
llb – Lolo
mny – Manyawa
vmr – Marenje
tke – Takwane
xmc – Makhuwa-Marrevone
xsq – Makhuwa-Saka
Glottologmaku1279  Makua–Lomwe; adds Lomwe & Moniga[2]
chuw1239  Chuwaboic; adds Chuwabo[3]
koko1267  Kokola[4]
many1259  Manyawa[5]
A Makhuwa family in Nampula.



Bilabial Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t ʈ c k
aspirated ʈʰ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ h
voiced v (θ)~ð z
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Lateral l ʎ
Trill r
Approximant w j


Front Central Back
Close i iː u uː
Mid e eː o oː
Open a aː



The names of the dialects vary in different sources. The shibboleth or distinctive variant in the dialects is the treatment of the s:

  • eSamgagi dialect: odhiva
  • eSangagi dialect: θtiva
  • eSaaka dialect: ociva
  • eNahara dialect: oziva - all meaning "agreeable, pleasant" [7]

Maho (2009) lists the following dialects:[6]

  • Central Makhuwa (3.1 million)
  • Meetto (Metto) (1.3 million, including Ruvuma)
  • Chirima (Shirima) (1.5 million, including subdialects Kokola, Lolo, Manyawa, Marenje, Takwane)
  • Marrevone (Coastal Makhuwa; 460,000 including eNahara)
  • eNahara (Naharra)
  • eSaka (Saka, 210,000)
  • Ruvuma Makhuwa (Tanzanian Makhuwa, including subdialects Imithupi, Ikorovere)

Mutual intelligibility between these is limited. Central Makhuwa ("Makhuwa-Makhuwana") is the basis of the standard language. Ethnologue lists Central Makhuwa, Meetto–Ruvuma, Marrevone–Enahara, and Esaka as separate languages, and Chirima as six languages.

The population figures are from Ethnologue for 2006. They tally 3.1 million speakers of Central Makhuwa and 3.5 million of the other varieties, though the Ethnologue article for Central Makhuwa covers Marrevone and Enahara, so these might be double counted.

Reading matter in eMakhuwa

Muluku Onnalavuliha Àn'awe - Ipantte sikosolasiwe sa Biblia ("God speaks to his children" - extracts from the Scriptures for children) Aid to the Church in Need. Edição em Macúa / eMakhuwa) Editorial Verbo Divino, Estella, Navarra, 1997.


  1. ^ Central Makhuwa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Makhuwa-Meetto at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Makhuwa-Shirima at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Kokola at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Lolo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Manyawa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    (Additional references under 'Language codes' in the information box)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Makua–Lomwe". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Chuwaboic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kokola". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  5. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Manyawa". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  6. ^ a b Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  7. ^ a b c d Relatório do I Seminário sobre a Padronização da Ortografia de Línguas Moçambicanas. NELIMO, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, 1989.

Angoche is a city of Nampula Province in Mozambique. The city was named António Enes until 1976, after the 19th-century Portuguese journalist and colonial administrator, António José Enes. In administrative terms, since 1998, the city is also a municipality.

Angoche is an old Muslim trading centre, which local tradition states was founded in the 1490s by refugees from the Kilwa Sultanate. Xosa, the son of one of the leaders of the refugees, was made the first sultan. One of the earliest settlements in Mozambique and an important gold and ivory trading post, it posed a serious rival to the Portuguese settlement in Mozambigue until the mid-16th century, when Angoche was eclipsed by Quelimane as an entry port to the interior. However, Angoche continued to play a role in coastal trade and was an important economic and political centre in the region, with close ties to Ilha de Moçambique. In the 19th century, Angoche became the focus of the clandestine slave trade, which continued until the 1860s when the town was attacked by the Portuguese. While effective Portuguese administration was not established until several decades later, the attack marked the beginning of Angoche's downfall, and the town never regained its former status.Today, Angoche is a quiet, somewhat dilapidated district capital with few reminders of its past. Several islands lie offshore from the town. The major language of Angoche and nearby Koti Island is Ekoti, a Makhuwa language borrowing from 15th century Swahili.

Bahá'í Faith in Mozambique

The Bahá'í Faith in Mozambique begins after the mention of Africa in Bahá'í literature when `Abdu'l-Bahá suggested it as a place to take the religion to in 1916. The first know Bahá'í to enter the region was in 1951-52 at Beira when a British pioneer came through on the way to what was then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. The Mozambique Bahá'í community participated in successive stages of regional organization across southern Africa from 1956 through the election of its first Mozambique Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly in 1957 and on to its own National Spiritual Assembly was elected in 1985. Since 1984 the Bahá'ís have begun to hold development projects. The Association of Religion Data Archives (relying on World Christian Encyclopedia) estimated just over 2,800 Bahá'ís in 2005.


Makua may refer to:

Makua (person), an alaafin of the Oyo Empire

Makua people, an ethnic group in Mozambique and Tanzania

Makhuwa language, a Bantu language spoken in Mozambique

Makua languages, a branch of Bantu languages

Makua languages

The Makua or Makhuwa languages are a branch of Bantu languages spoken primarily in Mozambique.

Makua people

The Makua people , also known as Makhuwa, are a southeastern African ethnic group predominantly found in north Mozambique and southern border provinces of Tanzania such as the Mtwara Region. They are the largest ethnic group in Mozambique, and primarily concentrated in a large region to the north of the Zambezi River.They are studied by sociologists in four geographical and linguistic sub-divisions: the lower or Lolo Makua, the upper or Lomwe Makua, the Maua and the Niassa Makua or Medo. They speak variants of the Makua language, also called Emakua, and this is a Bantu-group language. The total Makua population is estimated to be about 3.5 million of which over 1 million speak the lower (southern) dialect and about 2 million the upper (northern, Lomwe) version; given the large region and population, several ethnic groups that share the region with the Makua people also speak the Emakua.

Mwani language

The Mwani language, or Kimwani (pronounced [kiˈmwani]) is a Bantu language spoken on the coast of the Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique, including the Quirimbas Islands. Although it shares high lexical similarity (60%) with Swahili, it is not intelligible with it. It is spoken by around 120,000 people (including 20,000 who use it as their second language). Speakers of Kimwani also use Portuguese, (the official language of Mozambique), Swahili and Makhuwa language. Kiwibo, the dialect of the Island of Ibo is the prestige dialect. Kimwani (sometimes spelled as Quimuane) is also called Mwani (sometimes spelled as: Mwane, Muane) and Ibo. According to Anthony P. Grant: Kimwani of northern Mozambique appears to be the result of imperfect shift towards Swahili several centuries ago by speakers of Makonde, and Arends et al. suggest it might turn out to be a Makonde–Swahili mixed language.

Official language
Indigenous languages
Sign languages
Official languages


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