Makonde (Chi(ni)makonde)

Makonde is Bantu language spoken by the Makonde people in southeast Tanzania and northern Mozambique along the river Ruvuma. According to Ethnologue there are 900,000 Makonde speakers in Tanzania, and 360,000 in Mozambique. In Tanzania the Makonde live mainly in the Province of Cabo Delgado, and particularly in the Mtwara, Newala and Masasi districts of the Mtwara Region. There are also some Makonde speakers in Kenya.

Makonde is also known as Chimakonde, Chinimakonde or Matambwe in Tanzania, and as Shimakonde or Matambwe in Mozambique. Dialects include Maviha, Maraba and Matambwe in Tanzania, and Vadonde, Vamwalu, Vamwambe, Vamakonde and Mavihaand in Mozambique. The name Makonde means 'dry areas', and the areas where the Makonde people live are mainly dry. Makonde is closely related to Yao.

Makonde alphabet and pronunciation

Makonde alphabet and pronunciation

Apostrophes are used as concords.

Sample text in Makonde

Vanu vohevohe vaidile n'chilambo valendene. Vanijaliwa ulimala vene. Pavele vanu pave na ulongo.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Details provided by Michael Peter F¨stumum


Information about the Makonde language

Bantu languages

Basaa, Bemba, Bulu, Chichewa, Chokwe, Comorian, Digo, Duala, Ewondo, Fang, Ganda/Luganda, Gwere, Herero, Ikizu, Jita, Kiga, Kikuyu, Kimbundu, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Kisi, Kongo, Konjo, Lingala, Loma, Lozi, Luchazi, Makonde, Mandekan, Maore, Mende, Mushungulu, Mwani, Nkore, Northern Ndebele (South Africa), Northern Ndebele (Zimbabwe), Northern Sotho, Nyemba, Nyole, OshiWambo, Ronga, Sena, Shona, Soga, Southern Ndebele, Southern Sotho, Swahili, Swati, Tshiluba, Tsonga, Tswana, Tumbuka, Umbundu, Venda, Xhosa, Yao, Zigula, Zinza, Zulu

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

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