The Vezo people are an ethnic group of nomadic fishermen in southwestern Madagascar.
The Vezo are said to believe in the existence of a divinity that reigns over the sea. As on the land, there are sacred places and rites to respect on these immensities.
Today like yesterday, their fishing techniques are unchanged and muscles are still required to pull up the tuna or swordfish on board their beam pirogues. They live a hard and simple life.
But the Vezo are also excellent carpenters. They can build schooners following a technique introduced by Europeans in the 19th century. The workshops are at Morondava or Belo sur Mer. These are the schooners and dhows which supply the coast from Tuléar to Nosy Be all the year through.
The population of the South-West is said to have two origins, nearby Africa and inland. Some researchers consider the cultural stratum Mikea-Vezo as the first bantou substratum of these great movements of migration.
Text and photographs by Pierre-Yves Babelon.