The Ngonde people live in the Northern Región of Malawi, espeacially in the Karonga and Chitipa districts, and across the border in Zambia and Tanzania.
Most of them are concentrated between the Songwe and the North Rukuru rivers.
They speak the same language as the Nyakyusas, who live on the other side of the river in Tanzania.
That región has been a commercial and geographic crossroads in East Africa for centuries. Ngonde oral tradition has them arriving there from points to the east; they then seized control and mixed with the hunter-gatherers already living there. Ngonde society was unique in that they lived in what are called age-villages.
When boys reached the age of ten or eleven, they left their parents' homes and built a village for themselves. They then lived as bachelors until they began to marry in their late twenties. The Ngonde economy revolved around cattle herding.
Germán missionaries brought Christianity to the Ngondes in 1891, but the conversión process took place over a long period of time. In recent years, Ngonde life has changed rather dramatically. An increasing number of Ngondes are switching to farming or wage labor as the commercial economy of Malawi has enveloped them; their political system, focused on traditional chieftains, has been subsumed by the larger political culture and administrative structure.
Their current population in all three countries is approximately 750,000 people.