The Wazigua, Moody’s Tribe


Moody was born in the city of Tanga, on the Northern coast of Tanzania, and just from the coast that overlooks the Indian Ocean comes this small tribe that went inland, settling in the districts of Handeni and Korogwe, at the foot of the Usambara Mountains. The group includes about forty thousand people and is of Bantu origin, like most Tanzanian tribes. Handeni


Wazigua typical house

What does Bantu mean? The answer to this question is quite complex, because it concerns the African continent and not only Tanzania. First of all, it is a huge gathering that unites around four hundred ethnic groups with similar language and culture. This suggests a common origin, which is believed to have started at the current border area between Nigeria and Cameroon, of course thousands of years ago. These first people then moved East and South, giving rise to the groups that currently inhabit Tanzania. The Tanzanian national language, Kiswahili, is a language of Bantu origin, but so is KIZIGULA, the idiom of the Wazigua, this tribe that lives in the Tanga region.



The meaning of the word Bantu in the original common language was ‘people’ and it is also in the languages that are part of this strain: in Kiswahili a person is MTU and WATU is the word for people.

The history of the Wazigua began thousands of years ago within a single tribe, the BOSHAZI, which included, in addition to them, the Wasambaa (or Washambaa) and the Wabondei. In those days they all lived together as Boshazi, but, as often happens, at some point the tensions began and they ended up fighting. Apparently the Wazigua won and remained in the original territories, while the Wasambaa moved to the Usambara Mountains (from where the name came) and the Wabondei in the district of Muheza, taking new names and founding new tribes.

At first they were hunters, but when the animals of the area became rarer, the Wazigua turned into farmers and breeders, growing corn, rice, cassava, fruit (especially bananas) and raising cows, goats and sheep. Their favorite food, ugali, comes from corn, and it’s a very thick porridge that accompanies any dish and which is also the Tanzanian national dish. The surnames Zigua are quite recognizable because they often begin with SA: Samamboe, Sanonkondo, Samboni, but also Butu and Mhina, Moody’s surname. You can also detect Wazigua by the type of inflection they use while speaking Kiswahili, a very distinctive, particular accent.


Moody, a typical Mzigua

Like all tribes, the Wazigua have characteristic dances accompanied by drums and which are performed not with traditional clothes, but with garments made of leaves with which they cover themselves. They also have their traditional medicine doctors, who get remedies from particular tree roots and barks.
Today’s first curiosity is linguistic: in Kizigula the typical greeting is ‘aahoni ni heeni anginyue’, which means ‘hello, how are you?’.
Today’s second curiosity concerns more closely the personal life of Moody’s family: his father, mzigua, married a mbondei, his mother, thus reuniting the two tribes again.

The Washambaa tribe