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People of the Zambezi

The vast majority of people who live in Zambezi Region are distributed along the riverbanks, alongside the major roads and in and around the main centre Katima Mulilo and the villages of Sibinda, Sangwali, Linyanti, Chinchimane, Bukalo, Ngoma and Isize. There are two main tribal groups, the Fwe in the west and the Subia in the east.

In addition to hunting and fishing, the people of the Zambezi till the soil, planting maize, millet, beans, sweet potatoes, groundnuts, pumpkins, melons and also sugar cane. They are also gatherers and pastoralists, with well-structured usage of the communal grazing areas. Their isolation and remoteness have been responsible for their continued dependence on this traditional subsistence economy.

As a result of their historical social interaction with Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, the majority of the people of the Zambezi learned to speak English. In addition, numbers of the men worked for some time on mines in Johannesburg, and hence learned to speak Fanagalo. This is the only region in Namibia where minimal Afrikaans is spoken.

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