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Tanzania Culture – Top 20 Interesting Facts

About Tanzania Culture – Top 20 Interesting Facts

The United Republic of Tanzania, simply called Tanzania is an autonomous state located in the Eastern part of Africa. To the north, it borders the Uganda and Kenya; To the South, it borders Zambia, Mozambique, and Malawi; To the East, it borders the Indian Ocean and finally to the West, it borders Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. { About Tanzania Culture }. Tanzania lies around the African Great Lakes Region and composed of several types of groups in the ethnic, linguistic and religious sectors. In line with the culture of the Tanzanians, they have their capital city as Dodoma, where major presidential offices are located including the National Assembly.

Tanzania Culture Facts

Facts About Tanzania Culture

The Cultural life of Tanzanians revolves around over one hundred and twenty (120) ethnic groups in the country. However, despite the vast number of the ethnics group, none of the group is actually dominant or superior to the other as each one of them has its own unique cultural life. Among these ethnic groups are Bantu- Speakers, Sukuma, Nyamwezi, Changa of the Kilimanjaro, the Makonde, and many more. Unlike many other Countries in Africa, the very first thing a Tanzanian will do is to actually identify himself/herself as a Tanzanian no matter the situation. This is a cultural belief that has been laid down by one of the leaders named Julius Nyerere for over twenty (20) years.

Also, it was under his leadership that the use of Swahili Language as a National Language becomes a reality and this explains one of the reasons why the country, up to date, did not have an official language. However, in the Northern part of Tanzanian, some groups like the Sandawe speak Khoisan (Click-sound) languages while some of them, for example, Maasai speak Nilotic languages. These people are cattle herders that have live as such for centuries as they feed mostly on the animal’s milk, meat, and even blood. Also in term of dressings, this group of people also vary e.g. The Maasai are particularly known for their distinctive dress and the warrior-status look of their men. The Warrior-status has to do with the number of stages a junior warrior as to go through before becoming Senior elders.

Still On Tanzania Culture

Another important cultural aspect of Tanzania is the area of art. Literature parameters like novels, poetry etc. are very popular in the country as a result of the strong background of the literature. Not only that, when it comes to graphics artistry, Tanzanians are exceptional as most of their paintings (mostly of birds and other animals) called tinga tinga are usually distinctive. One thing known of the Makonde people is their excellent carving skills. Tanzania has even turned to a tourist center as a result of the sculpturing and carving skills of the people in addition to the Mountain Kilimanjaro located in the country.  Yes, Tanzania is also creative when it comes to sports activities as they are involved in a wide range of sporting activities. However, the major sport that usually unites the Nation is the Conventional Football.

The Tanzania Culture also take into cognizance the importance of being polite and tolerant in the society. This is evident in the manners they inculcate into their young ones as in most occasions, the young always greet their elders by saying ‘Shikamoo’ which literarily means ‘I hold your feet’. Julius Nyerere actually did well for the Tanzanians as the leader inculcates into the elders the ways of addressing people e.g. they addressed strangers as ‘dada’ if female and ‘kaka’ if male or if relative or comrade as ‘Ndugu’. With this, it is very rare for you to experience any friction with the Tanzanians as a result of their cultural belief.

Tanzania Culture

Tanzania Culture

In line with Tanzania’s entertainment sector, the government has approved the creation of a popular film industry known as Swahiliwood. Also, Tanzanians have been implicated in the production of literary forms like poems, riddles, proverbs, folktales, and songs. However, even though most of the country’s language has its own oral tradition, oral literature are usually recorded in Swahili. But it is disheartening to mention that there has been a decline in the country’s oral literature as a result of the breakdown of the multigenerational social structure, thereby making the transmission of the oral literature difficult.


20 Interesting Facts About Tanzania Culture

Are you having an inquisitive mind about Tanzania Culture? Yes, you are and thus, we have helped you to pick the twenty most interesting facts about the country’s way of life. Just sit back and read

  1. Tanzania is made up of about 130 tribes with each one having its unique characteristics. These characteristics include masks, hand-woven baskets, poetry and lots of more.
  2. The National dish of Tanzania is the humble Ugali, which is a simple porridge made with either millet, maize or sorghum flour.
  3. Believe me, even lakes in Tanzania are Sculptor as some of them are known to turn birds and animals into ghastly stone statues.
  4. The Mpingo tree found in Tanzania has been regarded as the Music Tree of Africa as its parts eg wood has been used to make the musical instruments that are used at the local ceremonies.
  5. Based on their cultural belief, Tanzania has a very strong pattern for preventing elephants from straying into their farmlands. One of the effective ways is ‘Throw Condoms filled with Chili Powder at them’ and this totally works. Actually, before now, they make use of spears.
  6. Tanzanians have over the years developed the love for Hip Hop Music and this has led them to the creation of Bongo Flava. Bongo Flava is a group of creative music styles like reggae, afrobeat, blues, rasta, and dancehall with local music like Taarab and Dansi.
  7. One of the Tanzanians that led a revolution against the German colonizers is Kinjikitile Ngwale in the 1900s.
  8. Kinjikitile Ngwale was killed as a result of the fact that he believed that he was possessed by the spirit of a snake and claimed that a magical potion called ‘Magi’ would turn German bullets into powder.
  9. The flag of Tanzania is made up of a black and yellow band, diagonally cutting two triangles with the upper portion green and the lower portion blue.
  10. The Flag is actually a reflection of the 4 elements of Tanzania’s daily life. These elements are nature’s beauty which is represented by the green coloration, the mineral deposits which is represented by yellow coloration, the people represented by the black coloration and finally the great lakes represented by the blue coloration.
  11. Looking back to the history, Tanzania was initially referred to as Tanganyika until it was merged with Zanzibar in 1964.
  12. Tanzania is the third largest African producer of the mineral Gold after South Africa and Ghana.
  13. Mungu Ibariki Africa which actually means ‘God bless Africa’ in English is the National Anthem of Tanzania which is sung in Swahili.
  14. On a cultural note, Females usually have a higher unemployment rate than male. Maybe because of the mentality that female education ends in the kitchen. Who knows?
  15. Nearly 50% of the Tanzania population lives in extreme poverty and even the remaining 50% are living below the World Bank designated poverty line of $1.25 a day.
  16. The country’s earliest people were hunters and gatherers, that inhabited the land as far back as 5000BC.
  17. Around 800 AD, other people like traders moved into the country from Persia (the present day Iran), Arabia and India. This creates a diverse group of people and cultures.
  18. Most of Tanzanians, about 90 percent lives in the rural part of the country.
  19. As part of the cultural life of Tanzanians, they designated specific day for the celebration of a specific even just like most of the other African countries and these days are usually termed holiday days.
  20. Some of the holidays are
  1. Jan 1 New Year’s Day
  2. Jan12 Zanzibar Revolution Day
  3. Mar 21 Poetry Day
  4. Mar 25 Good Friday
  5. Mar 27 Easter Sunday
  6. Mar 28 Easter Monday
  7. Apr 26 Union Day
  8. Jul 7 Saba Saba
  9. Jul 7 Eid el Fitri
  10. Aug 8 Peasant’s Day
  11. Sep 13 Eid el Hajj
  12. Sep 22 September Equinox
  13. Dec 9 Republic Day
  14. Dec 12 Prophet’s Birthday
  15. Dec 21 December Solstice
  16. Dec 24 Christmas Eve
  17. Dec 25 Christmas day
  18. Dec 26 Boxing Day

Culturally, Tanzania is one of the most diverse countries in the World in term of language. This is due to the over 100 different languages spoken in Tanzania. And do you know that Tanzania does not have a defined official language? I guess you do not know that. Though the national language is Swahili, which was introduced into the country by the Arabs, English Language utilization has been restricted. For Example, Swahili is used mostly in Parliamentary affairs while English is mostly used during Foreign Trade. A recent move by the Tanzania Government is for the abolishment of English Language as an instructional Language. But is this actually possible? I will leave you with the answer to that.


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Updated: March 25, 2018 — 8:57 am

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