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Malawi is often referred to as the "Warm Heart of Africa", due to the warmth and friendliness of the people. Malawians typically live with their extended families in dwellings that are grouped together in villages. A spirit of cooperation prevails as family members share both work and resources. The Malawi people are of Bantu origin with the ethnic (African) groups including: Chewa, Nyanja, Yao, Tumbuka, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni and Ngonde.
The Chewa people form the largest part of the population group and are largely concentrated in the central and southern parts of the country. The Yao are predominantly found around the southern area of Lake Malawi. The Tumbuka are found mainly in the north of the country. There are small populations of Asian and European people that mostly live in the cities.
Malawi prides itself on a mosaic of unique cultural practices and norms. The main traditional dances and rituals, as well as arts and crafts, found among the people act as an identifying factor for the many, but united ethnic groups of the country. The dances of Malawi, for instance, have deeper meaning than what appears on the surface and, accordingly, effort has been made to keep these intact as part of Malawi's cultural heritage and for posterity. As a way of achieving the goal of retaining the country's traditional values, the Museum of Malawi conducts a series of cultural activities in schools and public places so that those who do not have contact with village life can benefit from facilities offered by the organization.
English is the official language and is very widely spoken, particularly in main towns, but sometimes also in remote rural areas. Chichewa is the common national tongue widely used throughout the country.
The Chewa people, who form the largest part of the population, are predominantly Christian/Protestant and the Yao people are mainly Muslim. The religious groups in Malawi can be broken down approximately as follows: Christianity, 75% (Protestant, 55% and Roman Catholic, 20%); Islam, 20%; and 5% for those of traditional indigenous beliefs and other minor religions.