The Wabena Tribe

The Wabena are a large group of Bantu origin, settled in the South West of Tanzania, Iringa Region, mostly in Njombe district.

The population is currently over a million and speaks Bena, a Bantu language… the most part of this tribe is Christian nowadays.

For this people, children are very important, an asset so to say: they connect the generations so the Wabena bless the arrival of children and wish to have a lot of them.

They are mainly farmers and grow potatoes, maize, wheat, peas, beans, coffee and timber, they also grow pyrethrum, a plant with insecticidal properties, and use it to build mosquito nets. They keep cattle, goats and poultry, the meat for their diet.

The typical house is called UBOMA and it is rectangular, the structure of the walls is built with wooden poles and sticks, in some cases even bamboo.

The walls are then plastered with clay, the roof is covered with straw.

Usually, inside the UBOMA there are four rooms: a sitting room or boys’ room, the parents’ bedroom, the girls’ bedroom and the kitchen. It’s not unusual in Tanzanian tribes this habit of separating girls and boys: in some tribes they sleep together with the same sex parent.

A curiosity: in the parents’ bedroom there is very often a small door which is used in case of emergency.