Only in Tanzania : All About the Ethnic Tribes of Tanzania

Tanzania on the tip of cultural tourism

When people talk about the continent of Africa, you will always hear about vast scenic landscapes, safari game drives, and the wildlife.

Undoubtedly, these are synonymous with the continent of Africa. But there is much more….. another slice of life filled with rich cultures,  enlightenment, and traditions that span over many years.

All about the people of Tanzania

Tanzania is rich in cultural diversity. There are approximately 120 Tanzanian ethnic groups. Then there are immigrants from the rest of the world as well.

The native tribes are predominantly of Bantu origin and represent 95% of the inhabitants in Tanzania.

Then there are Nilotic speakers and hunter-gatherer descendants.  Europeans, Asians, and Arabs consist of below 1 %. Each ethnic group has a unique language, culture, and social structure.

The largest of the ethnic groups are the Sukuma. They represent approximately 13% of the Tanzania population. The other groups each represent less than 5 %. Ethnicity reflects geographic areas.

Tanzania has never had inter- ethnic conflicts in contrast to other parts of Africa. The main reason could be that Tanzania has many groups of which none predominates. Ethnic identities have weakened over decades,

Two of the largest ethnic groups are culturally and linguistically related.  These are the Sukuma and Nyamwezi in the western part of Tanzania.

Sukuma

Largest ethnic group in Tanzania.The Sukuma are the people of the ‘North'. They are in the northwestern part of Tanzania concentrated on the Lake Victoria southern shores. The Sukuma language has Niger-Congo roots
Sukuma

“The wind does not break a tree that bends” – Sukuma proverb 

Nyamwezi

The Nyamwezi are the second largest ethnic group in Tanzania.They are an ethnic group that migrated from Central Africa.Their ancestral homeland is in the Tabora Region, Shinyanga Region, Singida Region and the Katavi Region. Nyamwezi is Swahili in origin translating into "people of the moon" and also means"people of the west". 


 
Chagga
From the southern Mount Kilimanjaro slopes in the north east of Tanzania, the Chagga are the third largest of ethnic groups in Tanzania. They believe in integrating hardships as building blocks off success  and speak three dialects
chagga

Chagga Proverb
Swahili: Usipopata taabu hujawa mtu.
English :Suffering is prior to attaining success or perfection.

Hadzabe tribe

The Hadzabe tribe lives remotely in caves apart from other people around Lake Eyasi. 
Hadzabe's, also called  'Hadza’s' are Africa hunter-gatherers. The Hadza wanderers  do not keep livestock or even grow food. They wander in groups. Each day starts with bows and arrows ,hunting and foraging fruits and veggies.
Hadzabe
Iraqw tribe

The Iraqw, of cushitic origin are located in the Mbulu highlands. They are withdrawn group that grows their own food and tend cattle.They avoid selling animals or crops unless it is crucial.
Haya 
Located in the Kagera,Tanzania.The Haya language is a Bantu language dialect. Originally known to be skilled metal workers. The modern age of Haya people are cultivators.Traditionally the Haya lived in dwelling in a shape of a beehive without any walls but thatched from the roof to the ground.
  1. Mtowa Mbu are from the  Lake Manyara, a diverse Arusha tribe in the entrance to the Manyara national park. Visitors get to see local produce from palm oil, baskets, papyrus mats and banana beers . 
    Visiting the Wakurya Boma from in the west of Serengeti brings an experience of the traditional Wakurya lifestyles and food with traditional dancing and even possible traditional healer visits.
  2. Maasai                                                                  A Nilotic ethnic group that is native to Kenya and Tanzania. They are mainly herders. The  Maasai culture has remained unaltered involving a rich oral songs and literature .
  3. Masaai
    The Digo                                                                A Muslim tribe living in the north of Tanzania and east of Kenya,they are concentrated on the Northern Tanzania coastal strip on  Pangani River fertile plains  between the Indian Icean and Usambara Mountains. Fishing, farming and trading are main income sources.The Digo are talented in song storytelling and song rituals  .

 

Other Tanzanian Tribes-

Makonde, Kwaya, Gweno, Hehe, Ha, Ikoma, Mande, Akiek, Kamba, Alagwa, Gorowa, Balouch, Bembe, Kisi, Kutu, Kwavi, Luo, Luguru, Bende, Magoa,  Dhaiso, Zaramo, Yao, Zulu, Zinza, Zyoba Ware, Timbuka, Wanda Zigula, Swahili, Tutsi Twa, Vinza Nyaturu, Nindi Ngoni, Kerewe, Ndonde,Kimbu and many more.


Karibu ! Welcome to Tanzania…..