The waYao, or Yao, is a major ethnic and linguistic group based at the southern end of Lake Malawi, which played an important part in the history of East Africa during the 1800s. The waYao are a predominantly Muslim people group of about 2 million spread over three countries, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. The waYao people have a strong cultural identity, which transcend the national borders. Historically the Yao have been a forgotten and excluded people.
Living in remote villages tucked away in a mountainous region of Eastern Africa, over a million people are proud to be known as the Yao People. Practicing subsistence agriculture they maintain their rich culture, strong family ties and genuine hospitality.
The Yao have lived in northern Mozambique (formerly Portuguese East Africa). A close look at the history of the Yao people of Mozambique as a whole will show that their ethno geographic center is located in a small village called Chiconono, in the northwestern Mozambican province of Niassa.
Active as slave traders for the Arab they faced social and political decline with the arrival of the Portuguese in today's Niassa Province, that established the Niassa Company and settled in the region founding cities and towns, and changing a slave trade economy to a production economy.
The Yao ` by their own. As Muslims, the Yao could not stand with the Christian populations' way of life, which however, offered Christian education and taught the Portuguese language to the Muslim ethnic group with little feedback. Currently, there are a minimum estimated 450,000 Yao people living in Mozambique. They largely occupy the eastern and northern part of the Niassa province and form about 40% of the population of Lichinga. More info about Yao People