Culture and Economy of Tanzania

Topics: Tanzania, Zanzibar, Julius Nyerere Pages: 7 (2136 words) Published: December 16, 2010
In studying a nation, different factors and aspects have to be well examined: history, geography, people, government, culture, economy, education, and environment of that country. In our case, restrictions of time and effort imply confining to some issues, namely culture and economy.

Tanzania is a nation where religion, culture, history and traditions vary differently when compared to others especially in its culture. Tanzania has originated from two countries, Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which were two independent nations that were granted independence by Britain. However, in the 1900’s they decided to unite again. Tanzania’s diverse culture is the result of the different influences that have taken over the country all the way from the Portuguese, British, Germans, and the Arabs. Since Tanzania is a government republic it is known as The United Republic of Tanzania.

Tanzania’s official language is Swahili; their second language is English, and Arabic is also widely spoken in Zanzibar. In Tanzania there are 30% Christians and 35% Muslims and the other 35% are of different beliefs. However, in Zanzibar it is the opposite where 99% of the people are entirely Muslims. (Landers and Grossman) Religion freedom is a good feature in Tanzania since many of the world’s religion has played an important role in shaping the nation’s history. (Advameg)

It is estimated that Tanzania has a total of 120 ethnic groups speaking the four major African languages which include “Khoisan” the click speaking group, Maasai, Cushitic and the Bantu. “The largest ethnic groups include the Sukuma (over three million), and the Chagga ,Haya and Nyamwezi (over one million each).” (Advameg) Ethnic groups vary the same way religion does where 99% are African and the other 1% consists of Asians, Arabs and Europeans. (Landers & Grossman) The Maasai are popular for their dressing style. Men cover their bodies by putting a toga drape and carry weapons such as spears and large knives, while women heavily accessorize themselves with jewelry all the way from their necks to their ears, arms and legs. The people of the Makonde tribe are known for tattooing their faces and bodies in such a way that their tattoos resemble human struggles, love, passion, and conflict, yet all of which are attractive to the eyes. Those who reside next to the coast and islands are known to paint their feet, lips, hands and nails with henna on certain occasions. (The Tanzania National Website)

Tanzania’s music and theater was greatly influenced, or one can say originated by the indigenous tribes such as the Arab influence from Zanzibar, and Indian influence from Asia. Dancing is an important practice in the lives of Tanzanians. It is not only an expressed emotion of happiness that is shown during celebrations and traditional ceremonies, but also a part of their daily lives! Nonetheless, the traditional dancing styles vary from one tribe to another. For instance, the “Makindo” vibrate the lower part of their bodies while dancing to their "Sindimba" dance and the “Massai” leap while dancing and singing in their deep voices. The “Sukuama” involve the embracing of pythons while dancing to their "Bugobogobo" dance. The “Zaramo” tribe bounces while dancing to their “Muduniko” dance. (The Tanzania National Website)

The simplest things done by the Tanzania’s show that they are truly people who happen to live their lives differently when it comes to their ways of greetings, communication style, eye contact, personal space, taboos, law and order, etc. The way Tanzanian people greet is quite different from t how we are accustomed to see as part of our societies. When men greet each other, a handshake would be the proper way to do so. When continuing their conversation by a leisurely walk in public, it is acceptable to hold each other’s hand as that will not be understood or interpreted in a wrong way by the surrounding others. (Landers and Grossman) In contrast to the West, men who walk...

Bibliography: Advameg Inc. "Culture of Tanzania." Advameg Inc website. 27 11 2010 .
Michael Landers & Lisa Grossman. "Tanzania." Culture Crossing. 27 11 2010 .
The Tanzania National Website. "Culture and Traditions." The Tanzania National Website. 27 11 2010 .
Yeager, Rodger. Tanzania: An African Experiment. Gower, UK: Westview, 1982. Print.
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