Julius Nyerere and the Wazanaki tribe

Julius Nyerere and the Wazanaki tribe

The Wazanaki tribe has its own traditional land from Mara Region to the East side of Lake Victoria and Musoma is the most important city inside this land.

The Zanaki language is of Bantu origin, the members of the group don’t arrive at 200.000 and they can only be found in Tanzania.

Mwalimu Nyerere anointed by Chief of Gogo. National Museum Dar es Salaam

Even if small, this tribe is as much interesting as the others in terms of culture and rituals. What is VERY interesting, though, is the fact that Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere was a Zanaki.

Julius Nyerere is considered the ‘Father of the Nation’ and he was the first president of the United Republic of Tanzania and Zanzibar after the independence from the British protectorate.

Tanzanians consider him as the incarnation of the national identity, and they are right.

He was really a great one: he cared about his people, he did whatever he could to improve the quality of life and he supported the law that gave freedom of worship to all religions. But there’s more: he promoted the idea of education as the only way to be free from any conditioning or interference.

His view of the future was optimistic and he never gave up. He succeeded in winning a war against Uganda while outnumbered, instilling trust and pride in the population.

Unfortunately, he could not reach all the goals he had thought of, but he remains a gigantic leader whose humility has been an example for many.

Every 14 october is Nyerere Day, a special holiday in which all the country stops to celebrate him.

He was catholic, as christian are the majority of the Wazanaki.

They are traditionally farmers and cultivate cassava, maize, groundnuts and millet, but also keep goats, sheep and chickens.

When in need of constructing a house, this becomes an event and is associated with eating and drinking. Men collect poles, set the framework, thatch and plaster the wall with clay. Women collect grass and prepare drinks and food.

The traditional house has two doors: the main door let people pass into the fenced area in which chores take place, while the small door is for security against thieves and wild animals.

The community is central, as I have had the opportunity of underlining several times when writing about Tanzanian habits. A feature Mwalimu Nyerere appreciated a lot.