Jewish Tribe in Zimbabwe Holds Many Secrets
The Lemba have prided themselves on their ancestry for 2,500 years. Recent DNA evidence has proven that the Lemba people of Zimbabwe are indeed Jewish. According to legend, prior to the destruction of the Second Temple, their ancestors left Judea and settled in what is now Yemen, later migrating to East Africa. While many stayed in Ethiopia, the Lemba migrated farther south and now number 80,000 in central Zimbabwe and parts of South Africa.
While their religion is no longer traditional Judaism, they carry on very similar customs, including wearing yarmulkes, refraining from pork and other foods forbidden by the Torah, and even placing Stars of David on tombstones.
Perhaps most tantalizing is their famed relic, the “ngoma lungundu,” roughly translating to “drum that thunders.” Carried from the Holy Land, it is now believed to be a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, made while the Lemba were in Yemen. Thought to have been lost in the aftermath of the Zimbabwean Civil War, it has only recently been rediscovered and is now on display in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital.
For more about the ngoma lungundu, click here.
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