The Wazaramo Tribe
Tribes. Fascinating world. It is very difficult to catch the actual meaning of this part of African culture. I concentrated myself a lot on it before arriving where I am now: not totally ignorant, not totally competent, but with a better idea of the whole thing.
In Tanzania more than 120 tribes cohabit the national land: a lot considering that some other countries count not more than 4/5 or even less. The positive part is that this number is a sort of warranty against unpleasant conflicts of tribal nature… the negative part is that it will take me a couple of centuries to describe them all.
The Wazaramo inhabit the coast that surrounds the city of Dar es Salaam. This is a good starting point for some considerations. First of all it gives us the information that this tribe had contacts with other people from the coast and, above all, from Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia, the Tanzanian islands so rich in art and culture.
The Wazaramo share part of these features and, nowadays, are, for the most part, muslims.
Their main activity is agricolture: rice, cassava, oranges and cashew nuts, very much appreciated by everyone in Tanzania. They don’t keep much kettle, only some goats and sheep, apart from poultry, but they have very often bee hives.
Their houses are quite big and covered with grass thatch: a kind for the roof and a different one for the sides.
The inside has bedrooms, kitchen and some interesting tools like big trays for food, storage bins for keeping rice or pots for hot water prepared by mother for father’s bathing.
Apparently their kind of life is simple, even basic. This is absolutely not true.
Each tribe has got its own rules, set of values, way of managing the household, hierarchies coming from centuries of history and culture. Nowadays most of them share a modern city life, but this doesn’t mean they have abandoned their roots. On the contrary they continue to pass on to their children what these roots mean to them, which is much more than a simple name: it is their identity.