The Yao are a major African people in the southeastern part of the continent. Their population spans southern Malawi, portions of Mozambique, and parts of Tanzania and Zambia. According to their oral traditions, the Yao are descended from people who left an area around a mountain that was called Yao, located east of Lake Malawi, in the 9th century because of famine and moved westward to the shores of Lake Malawi. By 2008, there were nearly 3 million Yao living in southern Africa.

The Yao's philosophy and culture have become intertwined with the extremely bountiful area in which they live. Lake Malawi is in the Great Rift Valley, and in some places it is one of the deepest lakes in Africa. The lake is the third ...

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