The ostrich people are a shy people and tend to stay in more rugged areas such as the Zambezi river valley



The people of the Vadoma tribe are sometimes called ostrich people due to an unusual deformity of their feet.

The Vadoma tribe, also known as Wadoma (or by the singular, Mudoma), is found in the Urungwe and Sipolilo districts, west of Zimbabwe, Africa. The ostrich people are a shy people and tend to stay in more rugged areas such as the Zambezi river valley, away from the majority of other people.

This genetic condition is called ectrodactyly. The foot is missing the three middle toes and the two outer ones are turned in, which is why the Vadoma people are also called the “two-toed” tribe. The foot itself is said to resemble that of an ostrich’s foot, thus the name, ostrich people.

Ectrodactyly is an autosomal dominant condition which is the result of a single mutation on the number seven chromosome.

Not everyone in the tribe has this condition, but the ones who do are said to have been accepted into the group without any difficulty and that they are excellent tree climbers as a result of this physical irregularity.

Because they are isolated, and due to a small gene pool among them, this tribe experiences this genetic condition of being two-toed much more often than other tribes in Africa.

The language of the Vadoma is Chikunda (Portuguese) and the language of the Mkorekore tribe, which is KoreKore.

The ostrich people live successfully off of the land by hunting, fishing, trapping wild animals and by gathering honey, roots and wild fruits. Their living accommodations are simple huts made from reeds and twigs.

Information on this rather secret tribe with two toes is difficult to find, even in reference books.

The first white man to supposedly encounter the Vadoma was Charles Sutton, in the year 1951. Working for the British South Africa police, he heard stories of these bushmen who ran from the first sight of an intruder and he was very curious about them.

He eventually found a tribesman from Mozambique who possessed knowledge of the local area, and together they headed out for the Chiruwa hills. Charles says they met the head of the Vadoma tribe and they sat and drank homemade beer together.

After they had talked for a time, the tribesman beat on a drum and the Vadoma people, men, women and children, came out of seemingly nowhere and gathered round them. Charles reported that the head tribesman, when asked why they didn’t want to be around other people, told him that they were content with they way they lived, since it was all they knew.

The government is attempting to assimilate the people of this small African tribe, the Vadoma, into mainstream society by providing not only clinics to help them physically, but schools as well to educate them.

The ostrich people are not convinced the integration is in their best interest, and thus far, the government has been unsuccessful to convince them otherwise. As a result, the Vadoma tribe remains a well-kept secret and continues to maintain the genetic disorder which gives them the names of ostrich people or the

two-toed tribe

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