TANZANIA, A COUNTRY WITH ATTRACTIVE CULTURAL SCENE
Tanzania, A Country With Attractive Cultural Scene : With about 120 tribes residing it, Tanzania is merely a country jam-packed with the magnificence of her nature and all the delightful cultures, of which they all offer a unique symbolic feature of Africa at large. Wondrously, all these tribes share a common national language, which is Kiswahili. From attractive cultural museums, to the historical sites and the unique economic activities of various tribes, Tanzania is blessed with the most well-known and interesting cultural ethnicities. You will meet dedicated and sacred worship places of various communities in this country. Below are just but few amongst many delightful insights of Tanzanian culture.
Tanzania has famous tribes and their wonderful culture.
Meet the Maasai, a tribe located on the North-Eastern part of Tanzania, specifically around Arusha and Manyara regions. Maasai are not only famous for their unique and slowly changing culture but also for their pastoralism activities believed to be inherited from their ancestors. This is one of the historical communities that still practice its age-set organization. Maasai still live in extended families in the regions of Arusha and Manyara.
Alongside with the Maasai on this North-Eastern part of Tanzania, we also have Wachaga, Wapare and Wameru. They are famous for their cultivation of bananas and coffees mainly for economic purposes, as well as the regular food crops such as maize and beans. In the Chaga community, you will be welcomed with local made wine called ‘Mbege’ made from the bananas, and later set for a superb super in Maasai communities known as ‘Loshoro’ which is made of maize and milk as the major ingredients.
In the Yaeda valleys and in the Lake Eyasi regions, you will meet the Hadzabe, a community which is still making their lives through hunting and gathering. Around Lake Victoria, you will come across pastoral activities of the Sukuma, which is indeed the largest tribe in Tanzania. They are also well known for their cultivation of ‘pamba’ (a Swahili word for cotton) and fishing.
Sukuma live in extended families and are a very welcoming tribe. They like to share ideas with visitors. They are also known for being polite especially during greetings where women have to have their knees down while greeting. All these are preserved way better in the Sukuma Museum also known as Bujora Cultural Centre in Kisesa, Mwanza.
Meet the Nyakyusa tribe, the inhabitants of Southern Highlands Zone. In this community, you will enjoy the variety of fruits such as avocado, banana, orange, pawpaw, just to mention a few. Alongside with the Nyakyusa society, are the world famous tribe, the Hehe. They are well known for their resistance against the colonial government lead by their King Mkwawa. Here you will see the ruins of the Hehe kingdom. A fascinating feature of Hehe society is that they do consume some species of dogs as part of their meal.
On the shores of Indian ocean, you will meet the Zaramo, a tribe majorly characterized for being very charming. The Zaramo are way too charming to an extent that they are sometimes joked as a motor-mouthed society. Zaramo do practice fishing as their main economic activity. Another fascinating feature about Zaramo tribe is their local language which has played a great role to the noble birth of Swahili, our national language.
Another magnificent community in Tanzania include the Haya, the Ha, the Gogo and the Ngoni. Haya is one among the most elite tribes in Tanzania. Haya are the inhabitants of the Kagera region, whereas some extend up to the Tanzania-Uganda Border. Haya are famous for the production of banana and coffee. Having a taste of their delicious food called ‘Ndizi’ (a Swahili word for banana) will always make you solicit for more of it. The Ha, are the inhabitants of coastal region of Lake Tanganyika, meanwhile the Gogo are found in the central zone of the country. They live in small families and are famous for the production of ‘Zabibu’ (grapes). The Ngoni is the tribe said to be original ancestors of the South Africa. They migrated to the North and Eastern Africa including Tanzania.
Delicious Triditional meals in Tanzania
Taste the Tanzanian common foods. These include the most common one, Ugali which is cooked from the maize flour. Cooked ‘ndizi’ (banana) is another common food that is commonly consumed by Wahaya, who reside the Kagera region, wachaga and some of Wanyakyusa. Maasai and the Hadzabe use meat and milk products, while Nyaturu eat the ugali made from ‘mtama’ (millet). Nyakyusa are the major consumers of rice. Cooking of Nyakyusa community is so interesting, especially with the unique taste of their rice meal called ‘wali’ (cooked rice), the most preferred food in this region. Ha tribe are famous for the consumption of delicious fish called ‘migebuka’ (a Swahili word for fish found in Lake Tanganyika).
The Tanzanian community has a lot of museums designed to preserve the culture of various communities. Some of the museums which have proven to be breathtaking are as briefed on the proceedings. Taking off from Sukuma Museum in Mwanza, a museum which allows you to learn a million and one amazing facts about the Sukuma society’s culture. These facts cover all the way from its origin through the rise and fall of strong Sukuma Kingdoms. We also have ‘Kijiji cha Makumbusho’, a famous museum located at Dar Es Salaam (Bagamoyo Road). When entering this special cultural museum, you will be welcomed with the gorgeous scenery of huts from the sixteen different Tanzanian ethnic groups. Taking a keen look into these huts you will be able to discover the Maasai cultural village made from a collection of huts. All this is just to warmly welcome visitors into Kijiji cha Makumbusho Museum.
The world’s seventh language is spoken by the Tanzanian communities. This is Swahili Language, which is mainly spoken by the East African countries despite having its origin in Tanzania. The mixture of Bantu language from different tribes in Tanzania resulted into the wide spreading of Swahili language. You are always welcomed to learn even some little bits of Swahili language, the main symbolic feature for Tanzania and East Africa at large.
The native dressing style for women in most communities in Tanzania is very beautiful. In the Sukuma society, women put on ‘khanga’ in most scenarios. In the Zaramo, khanga is put on during funerals, whereas in most occasions, a ‘dela’ (a long light gown) is the most preferred. In case of a special events (non-funeral events such as wedding ceremonies) women usually put on dela with the same color, something which usually makes the ceremony or event way too colorful.
Amongst the most unique dressing style is found with the Maasai tribe. They are famous for their common dressing style which is mainly special bed sheet-like clothing (commonly known as Rubega or Maasai shuka). Men do tighten their Rubega using a colorful belt made of animal skin, whilst carrying a short stick or a shield with them. On the other hand, women do wear a number of colorful necklaces and bracelets to beautify their look in their rubega.
The famous cultural ceremonies
Every community in Tanzania has its own cultural ceremonies. Some do cerebrate after the harvest season, while some do happen on the regular societal ceremonies such as the circumcision ceremonies. Ceremonies are usually associated with traditional foods and local drinks (or locally made alcohol for some of the societies, and traditional music being the key feature of a cultural ceremony.
Speaking of the most attractive ceremonies we can’t leave behind the initiation ceremonies of the Maasai. It is a special ceremony conducted every after ten years, on the course of circumcision of uncircumcised men. A young uncircumcised man (usually called a ‘Layoni’) has to be circumcised in order for him to be called an adult (known as a ‘Moran’ after being circumcised), where he will be able to get all the adult’s rights such as marrying (specifically marrying a Maasai lady), as well as starting his own family (a Boma). Circumcision process is usually done in the forest and accompanied with the huge ceremonies where those who didn’t cry during the process are awarded with cattles and other local gifts. The main food for the Moran’s on the course of the whole circumcision ceremony is just meat (Beef) and milk.
The Kurya practice circumcision ceremonies like the maasai, although it is done annually other than once in a decade. The strongest kids who never dropped tears during circumcision are awarded as well, and a huge party will mark the termination of this ceremony.
The most interesting cultural ceremony is ‘Mbina’. This is common in the Sukuma society. In this ceremony, two local dancing stars compete by showcasing dances, songs, stories and drumbeats. The winner is the one who attracts more audiences before the sun set.
The famous drumbeats called Mdundiko are common in the shores of the Indian ocean. Mdundiko is played and cerebrated during initiation ceremonies. The ‘Mwali’ (young lady who is to be married) is isolated for a number of days until when she becomes conversant in the lessons provided to her about marriage life.