Vadoma: The special creatures of Africa
Category: History | Uncategorized
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” -Dr. Seuss
The Vadoma are a tribe living in the Kayemba region in the north of Zimbabwe, especially in the Urungwe and Sipolilo districts around the basin of Mwaza in Utanda river, a tributory of the Zambezi river valley. They are the only traditional hunter-gatherers indigenous to Zimbabwe and are famous for the inherited ectrodactyly existing among some Vadoma families. Historically, the Vadoma lived a nomadic lifestyle and dwelt in the mountains hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering fruits and roots. Until recently when they abandoned their hunter-gathering lifestyle and left the mountains for the lowlands, the Vadoma people spent hundreds of years living nomadic lifestyle despite colonization and land reform policies after Zimbabwe’s independence.
The Vadoma people have a distinct physical feature that made their history and lifestyle very interesting to study. They have a rare genetic disorder referred to as ” Ectrodactyly or Lobster claw syndrome ” which affects one in four children within the population. Ectrodactyly can affect either the hands or feet. The middle three toes are absent and the outer ones are turned inward and big. The affected Vadoma people are able to walk despite their condition but a little difficulty may occur depending on the shape. Running is also usually difficult for those affected, although it helps them in climbing trees. This condition make people derogatorily refer to them as the “ostrich people” particularly with the tradition of origin given by the Vadoma elders. The Vadoma people claim that their remote ancestors were birdlike beings who came from the stars and mixed their DNA with early earth women to produce offspring. They stated that their ancestors came from the star systems of sirius and first established colonies on a planet with our solar system that they refer to as Litolafisi.
However, ectrodactyly is an inherited dominant genetic mutation. Some have theorized that the mutation may have adaptive benefits if it aids in tree climbing. It is more likely, that the defect remains prevalent in the Vadoma because of small genetic pool among the Vadoma. It is against tribal laws for members to marry outside the group
Ectrodactyly is an autosomal condition that occurs at lower rates throughout the world and can be caused by a number of human gene defects with the most common being a mutation of chromosome number 7. It may also associated with hearing loss. It is reported however that those with the condition are not handicapped and well-integrated into the tribe. Generally, ectrodactyly itself is fairly rare, occuring in 1 in 90,000 births. Limb defects occur in roughly 1 in 1000 births, only slightly less than the rateof identical twins. The Eastern Shona Kalanga of the Kalahari deserts also have a number of members with ectrodactyly and maybe related.
Being different is your biggest value, embrace it. Why would it even matter if anyone else thought negatively towards you? If you’re happy with the way you are, that’s all that should matter. Wear your flaws as a badge of honour. Learn from the Vadoma people.
” The Vadoma tribe: The Ostrich people of Zimbabwe”, Trabloid (www.trabloid.ng)
” Vadoma: The Ostrich people of Zimbabwe who have just two toes”, The Zambian oberver ( www.thezambianoberver.com)