The Wamakua Tribe


Container for carrying herbs

This tribe has its origins in Mozambique, where it is the largest one. In Tanzania the Wamakua are settled in the regions of Mtwara and Lindi, in the Southern part of the country.

Their basic occupations are agriculture and hunting, but in the past they were eccellent traders and blacksmiths. They cultivate mainly cassava, groundnuts and cashew nuts. Into their history there are also slavery and fights, like in the history of many other tribes.

They speak Makua, a bantu language, but Tanzanian Wamakua also interact in Kiswahili and English.

The Wamakua religion is a traditional one, based on respect for ancestors and nature spirits. It is not the first tribe to believe in some power related to nature and it is not the first one that venerates the spirits of the dead. It is like a sort of pantheistic view of life, where everything and everyone are linked together.

Inside the adults’ house

The part of them that lives on the coast, having been in contact with the Swahili world, nowadays is Muslim.

The house of the Wamakua is very solid. A framework of wood is plastered with earth. The roof has rafters and is thatched in layers.

As other Tanzanian tribes, also the Wamakua build two houses: the bigger one is for the adults of the family and the smaller is made for the children. Sometimes a third unit is built: it is the recreation place. This means two things: the first one is that the respect for the elderly is absolute, the second one that they dedicate part of their time in enjoying, maybe with music, maybe with typical dances, and in enjoying with the other members of the family or of the tribe. This community sense comes out often when researching tribes and their habits. It is very important in small communities as well as it is in the entire nation. Tanzanians share.