Tonga stools are one among hundreds of stools still being used in rural African villages. These particular stools are named after the Tonga people who originated in South Africa and overtime migrated north. Nowadays, this people group is referred to as “Tsonga” in South Africa, in Zimabawe – “Tonga”, and in Malawi and Zambia – “Batonga”.
Traditionally, only the head of the household could own and take his place on a Tonga stool – women were prohibited from sitting on stools. Just by observing a man’s chair you can easily weave together a story about the owner and his position in the wider community. These chairs are surprisingly comfortable, used for rest, work and during traditional meetings.