Vadoma Tribe: The Tribe With Rare “Two-Toes”


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Africa is a continent that has shown its uniqueness in numerous ways, and in every moment, you appreciate nature for its beauty. Today we talk about the Vadoma Tribe.

This tribe in Africa has a rare genetic condition known as Ectrodactyly or Lobster claw syndrome, which is the absence of one or more fingers or toes at birth.

The Doma or Vadoma (singular muDoma), also known as Dema is the only hunter-gatherer tribe living in the Kanyemba region in the north of Zimbabwe, especially in the Urungwe and Sipolilo districts around the basins of the Mwazamutanda River, a tributary of the Zambezi River Valley.

Their official language is called Dema and they believe that their ancestors emerged from a baobab tree and walked upright to hunt and gather fruits. This amazing secluded tribe is the only non-agricultural society in Zimbabwe.

Regarding their toes, the inherited dominant genetic mutation affects only the feet of one in four children within the vaDoma population.

Their middle three toes are absent and the two outer ones are turned in. The inherited dominant genetic mutation affects only the feet of one in four children within the vaDoma population.

This rare condition is why the tribe is referred to as the “two-toed” or “ostrich-footed” tribe.

Marriage in the Vadoma Tribe

It is forbidden for members to marry outside the group and as a result, the rare two-toed condition does not spread to other tribes.

Those with the condition are not considered disabled in the community and it is believed that their toes enable them to climb trees better.

Sad Reality Regarding the Doma tribe

The Doma people are reported to have resisted incorporation into the Korekore Shona kingdom of Mutapa prior to the European colonization. This has sadly cost them fertile land to grow crops.

They currently live their nomadic lifestyle in the Chewore Safari Area which has now become their mountain homeland. They are also seriously facing threats from game rangers who are cracking down on poaching.


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