Tanzanian habits are numerous and newsworthy if you want to visit this country.
The community is central: the single doesn’t really have a meaning if not integrated in the group. It’s in this way that a child have a natural mother and other ten mothers that take care of him, maybe aunts, maybe friends, maybe neighbors. Everything is shared, inside and outside the family.
There are two ceremonies that express this concept at its best: weddings and funerals. Why? Because they are the two events that involve everyone. EVERYONE. Let’s start with the most cheerful.
When a young couple decides to marry and after the soon-to-be groom has properly asked the soon-to-be bride’s family permission to take her as his wife, a nuclear reaction starts.
Tanzanians give a lot of importance to participating to this event.
Weddings, HARUSI in Kiswahili, usually take place on Saturday for Christians and on Friday for Muslims, and it’s impossible to miss them. The newly married car starts the row, the guests cars follow and actively participate with a concert of horns. The pickup truck with the band playing incredible rhythms close the row.
Clothes are amazing: colourful and elaborated with complicated hairstyles and, in some cases, hands and feet decorations. I am talking about married women. Preparations last up to one week and aim to paint floral motifs.
They use WANJA, a black powder to make the drawings which are fixed with vaseline. Once the process is finished they can show the result for one or two months before it needs to be removed.
Women from the coast and from Zanzibar take great care in this practice and produce really beautiful works of art.
Although much sadder, even funerals are a public matter, especially for Muslims.
The burial must take place within a few hours from death and usually they bury in the village in which the person was born. This means that you really need to move fast if you live far away and want to participate. Any mean of transport is welcome: private cars, big buses, daladala (small city buses), anything. The only thing that matters is being present.
As you can understand, life in Tanzania is never just a personal matter, it’s a matter of the entire community.
(to be continued…)