The Wahaya Tribe


Of Bantu origin and language, this tribe has its traditional land in Kagera region, in the city of Bukoba in particular.

The staple food of this tribe is banana and the major crop of the region is coffee.

The lives of the Wahaya develop into two main landscapes: Kibanja, the banana home garden, and Iweya, the open grass and bush land.

Like all the other tribes, the Wahaya tribe gives much importance to ceremonies, which are held with the participation of the whole community. The two central ceremonies are marriages and funerals. Both take place at Kibanja, the private space, where everybody shares joy and sadness.

The Wahaya house is a round grass house with large wood poles. The construction begins with the roof and is covered with dried grass.

As the most important city of the tribe is Bukoba on Lake Victoria, the traditional activities include canoe and boat building as well as the production of basketry, pottery and other forms of arts and crafts.

The Wahaya are quite numerous and have been one of the most advanced societies of the entire Continent.

In 1924 they founded the Bukoba Bahaya Union, then transformed in African Association, one of the first political movements in Tanzania, very important in Tanzanian independence.

As many other Tanzanian tribes, also the Wahaya people give music and dance a great importance: they are basic for the cohesion of the tribe. The Wahaya are famous even nowadays for thier dances performed with special skirts made of grass and the rhythm punctuated with feet.

The richness of all Tanzanian tribes lies in maintaining thier traditions and in passing them on to the new generations even if many people live now in a modern context. They don’t forget their origins and use them to keep their roots alive. THE WAZARAMO TRIBE