Sunday, March 7, 2010
British scientists have succeeded in proving the Lemba tribe of Zimbabwe and South Africa descended from Jewish ancestors
Scientists conducted DNA tests on a large sample of the Lemba people, which confirmed Semitic origins dating back more than two millennia. The 80,000 Lemba tribe members abstain from eating pork, wear yarmulke-like skull caps, conduct ritual animal slaughter, and even put a Star of David on their gravestones. The report says the tribe has an oral tradition that links them to the ancient Jews. They also circumcise their male children, which is not a common practice in Zimbabwe, but is one of the basic principles of the Jewish faith. Members of the priestly clan of the Lemba even have a genetic element also found among the Jewish priestly line - known as Cohen. In addition, the report says, the Lemba have a sacred prayer language that combines Hebrew and Arabic, which indicates their roots were in Israel and Yemen. The tribe even uses a religious artifact they say connects them to their Jewish ancestry - a replica of the Biblical Ark known as the ngoma lungundu, meaning "the drum that thunders," which they say was made by Moses. The tribe's oral tradition says that centuries ago a small group of men began a long journey carrying the ngoma lungundu from Yemen to southern Africa. The Ark went missing during the 1970s and was eventually rediscovered in Harare in 2007.