Local traditions and culture in Tanzania

  • A Maasai woman Ngorongoro crater
    A Maasai woman Ngorongoro crater
    by babar_1
  • Maasai herder
    Maasai herder
    by toonsarah
  • A beer with the team
    A beer with the team
    by fishandchips

Most Viewed Local Customs in Tanzania

  • Tanzanian are generally...

    by mpishori Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Tanzanian are generally friendly people. The most important swahili works that you can use to charm your way through is: Jambo, which means hello. The local people of the towns are used to foreigners and some of them even speak minimal English.
    During your planning of a Safari with Journey to Africa, Inc. (www.journeytoafrica.com), arrangements can be made for you to experience the lifestyle of a typical Maasai. The Maasai are the most famous tribe of Eastern Africa. They have so far managed to retain their olden ways butwith the fast changing society they have had to change some of their practices e.g. young boys used to hunt a lion to prove they are ready for manhood but with the parks now as conservations, they are not permitted to do so anymore. Also a visit to the Hadzabe tribe can be arranged. They are the last hunter-gathers in Tanzania and they are very few of them left. A visit to their dwellings is an eye opener of how our ancestors used to live, something we can't imagine with technology in our present society.

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    Wedding in Z'bar.Sometimes...

    by aminguell Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Wedding in Z'bar.
    Sometimes you can hear music coming from some inexpected place. Just stop and... maybe you're lucky and you can celebrate a wedding with all the people! You'll be welcome at the party

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  • Try to learn a few words of...

    by olsol Written Aug 24, 2002

    Try to learn a few words of Kiswahili (the lingua franca). People may laugh, but they appreciate the effort. General greeting is either shaking hands, a bow with hands clasped, or just a nod and a smile.

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    Zanzibar really is a melting...

    by Sergiuz Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Zanzibar really is a melting pot of populations and cultures, strictly depending on its historical events and rules followed in time.
    The majority of the population is of Bantu (black african) extraction; these people first arrived in Zanzibar as migrants as early as the first century AD.
    Swahili is the name given to people of mixed Bantu and Omani arab origin and it's their culture and language that dominate east african society. As a matter of fact, the arab influence is deep, with the religion, architecture and lifestyles drawing heavily from arab traditions. As an evidence of it, older people are generally characterised by traditional arab dress and customs and are devout muslims, though younger people are less obviously observant, with many wearing western clothing and turning their backs on the strict regimes of muslim life.
    Similar to the Swahili are the Shirazi, who are likewise of part Bantu extraction, but mixed with Persian rather than Omani blood. The Shirazi are more prevalent in the south of the island, around their spiritual home of Kizimkazi and its ancient persian mosque.
    Before the revolution, Zanzibar was characterised by a broad mix of peoples, but the large arab, indian and european communities were drastically reduced by the exodus that led up to and followed the revolution, as these non-african peoples fled in fear of their security. Nevertheless, there remains a sizeable arab community on Zanzibar, still with strong ties with Oman.
    Moreover, there are also a considerable number of indian people in Zanzibar, who first came to the islands during the early 19th century to provide the administrative and financial backing that made the great trading caravans into the interior possible. During the time of british occupation, many indians were encouraged to emigrate from the Raj Empire to Zanzibar in order to fill clerical and administrative positions in the colonial government. To some extent, this is a position that they still hold.
    For a quick overview concerning some people i met in Zanzibar, please visit my people travelogue.

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    The predominant language of...

    by Sergiuz Written Aug 24, 2002

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    The predominant language of Zanzibar, in common with the rest of the east african coast, is kiswahili. As its name implies, kiswahili is the language of the swahili people and in its essence is formed by a root Bantu language, with strong arab influence. The name of the language in itself, in fact, comes from the arabic word 'sawahil', meaning 'coasts'.
    Nowadays, more than sixty million Africans speak kiswahili and the language is used predominantly in this part of the world as the unofficial yet universal idiom in preference to any of the european languages.
    By the way, people from Zanzibar claim that their island is the home of the kiswahili language and the twenty or so dialects spoken there are said to be purer than those of the mainland. It's also remarkable that the Institute of Kiswahili and Foreign Languages is located in Zanzibar Town.
    English is the second language in Zanzibar and is widely spoken and understood.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Here is a tiny, minimal dictionary for the very first lauguage needs once you're in Zanzibar:

    Yes = Ndiyo
    No = Hapana
    Thank you = Asante
    Thank you very much = Asante Sana
    You're welcome = Starehe
    Please = Tafadhali
    Excuse me = Kunradhi
    Hello = Jambo - Hujambo
    Goodbye = Kwa heri (to one), Kwa herini (to many)
    Good morning = Habari za asubuhi
    Good afternoon = Habari za mchana
    Good evening = Habari za jioni
    Good night = Habari za usiku

    Do you speak ... = Unaweza kusema ...
    English = Kiingereza
    Italian = Italiani
    French = Kifaransa
    German = Kijerumani
    Spanish = Kispanish

    What is your name? = Jina lako nani? Wewe nani?
    Nice to meet you = Nafurahi kukuona
    How are you? = Habari gani? Uhali gani?
    Good = Njema, Nzuri, Salama
    Bad = Mbaya

    Friend = Rafiki
    Wife = Mke
    Husband = Mume
    Daughter = Binti
    Son = Mwana
    Mother = Mama
    Father = Baba

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  • When going to Tanzania, you'll...

    by Rozita Written Aug 24, 2002

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    When going to Tanzania, you'll experience that people generally speak very good English. But still, they appreciate it a lot if you try with Swahili. It's not difficult to learn a few words, and you'll see that dealing with the locals will float much more smooth, if you try!

    Here are a few words:

    Hello - Jambo (this is not real swahili, but for tourists)
    How are you? - habari?
    I'm fine - nsuri
    Thank you (very much) - hasante (sana)
    Expencive - ghali
    How much does it cost? - Nibei gani?
    No - Hapana
    Yes - Ndiyo
    Please - Tafadahli

    If you start off with this, most people will try and teach you more, and then you've got a good start for new acquaintances.

    Good luck!

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    United Colours of Tanzania

    by Rawicz Written Jan 24, 2003

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    People in Tanzania are hospitable and kind. This multicultural society is very tolerant and peaceful.

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    There's also some unscheduled...

    by jordihno Written Aug 26, 2002

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    There's also some unscheduled weddings where you are wellcome to attend. Sometimes you'll meet some FC Barcelona football players ;-)

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