Zemba language

Native toAngola, Namibia
EthnicityHerero, Tjimba
Native speakers
30,000 (2009–2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3dhm

Zemba (Dhimba) is a Bantu language spoken mainly in Angola where the language has about 18,000 speakers, and also in Namibia with some 4,000.[4] It is closely related to Herero, and is often considered a dialect of that language, especially as the Zemba are ethnically Herero.

There are various spellings and pronunciations of the name: Zimba, Dhimba, Tjimba, Chimba, etc. However, when spelled Tjimba or Chimba in English, it generally refers to the Tjimba people, non-Herero hunter-gatherers who speak Zemba. The spelling Himba should be distinguished from the Himba people and their dialect of Herero.

Ethnologue separates Zemba as a distinct language from Himba, which according to the language map of Namibia it retains under Herero proper.[5] Maho (2009), however, sets up a Northwest Herero language, which includes Zemba; from the map, it would appear to include Himba and Hakaona as well.[3]


  1. ^ Zemba at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Zemba". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ a b Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ Zemba language at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  5. ^ Zemba at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)