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Vezo literally means Fishing people. The Vezo people are often referred to as Vezo-Sakalava. They are not an individual tribe, they can be seen as a clan of the Sakalava. Their home is the south western coast of Madagascar, reaching from Morondava in the west to Faux Cap in the south. Morombe is the Vezo capital, a small city between Toliara (Tulear) and Morondava.

Vezo woman in fishing village south of Anakao

For the Vezo the sea is sacred. They believe in an almighty god of the sea, who controls the climate and nature. The Vezo are skilled fishermen and excellent boatmen. Their colourful canoes are related to the Malayo-Polynesian canoe. The Vezo canoe is actually a hollowed tree trunk with one outrigger pole and a small rectangular sail. Fishing is done by both women and men, and already children learn the basic rules.

Anakao villagers
Vezo fisherman
Community well
Young Vezo guitarist
Traditional make-up
Vezo child at Anakao beach

Vezo people are also noted for their tombs. The graves are dug into the sand in a hidden place, with a wooden fence erected around it. The main four poles are decorated with wooden carved figures, some of which are even erotic. The Vezo are the only ethnic group in Madagascar who does not perform circumcision on the boys.

Outrigger canoe
Canoes along the beach
Outrigger canoes

Malagasy proverb
Vezo nenga-daka, tsy misy raha vitany. - A Vezo without a boat cannot exist.