The Vadoma Ostrich People

The Vadoma are a tribe of people living in western Zimbabwe, who are more commonly known as the “ostrich people” or the “two-toed tribe”.

One in four babies in this tribe are born with a genetic birth defect in their feet called ectrodactyly, in which the middle three toes are absent and the two outer ones are large and turned in, which gives the person the appearance of having ostrich feet. Their culture forbids marriage outside of the tribe, so the genetic defect just stays in the gene pool, which is why a full quarter of the tribe walk around wearing special sandals.

It’s interesting to note that the tribe itself does not consider these people to be handicapped – they are actually thought of as better tree climbers!