Tanzania has about 38.4 million inhabitants spread over more than 120 different tribes. The majority is of Bantu origin. The peoples live are scattered and their residence is partly dependent on the fertility of the land and economic factors. Although the traditions are not always honoured, ones' tribe is still the most important part of his or her personal identity. Some tribes are still very strongly attached to their traditional customs and clothing.
Below is a brief description of some of the tribes from Tanzania:
Masai and Samburu
The Masai and Samburu are closely related nomadic tribes. They keep cattle and goats. In addition, many Samburu also keep dromedaries. The people are nice to see: they dress in red with a mass of intricate beaded jewellery. The colour has no special meaning. They believe in a god, Nkai, but religion is a private matter and the initiation rituals such as naming a child and circumcision ceremonies are secular. Their traditional food consists of blood and milk. The manyatta (Masai village) gives shelter to a family where the spouse and each of his wives has a separate house. Girls stay with their mothers until they marry, boys go with their father to learn about Masais' duties. The little boys are responsible for the flocks. After the circumcision (between 14 and 17 years), they become Morans (warriors) and move to a separate village. Previously they spent their free time lion hunting or stealing cattle. Today, they spend most of their time adorning themselves and each other. When they are about 25 years old, these young men may be married. Their duties now include counting the herds (arrival and departure) and making decisions. All the daily work, including building houses, is done by the women who have no rights or say in tribal affairs. Both tribes have proudly retained their traditional lifestyle in spite of everything.
Datoq and Hadzabe The Datoq are tall, warlike farmers, in a sense similar to the Masai. It even seems to be that the tribe was the only match against the Masai. They live in large huts built of branches and stumps and coated with a mixture of clay and cow dung. The women wear many heavy bracelets, necklaces and colourful shawls. In the face they often have heavy tattoos. The other tribe, the Hadzabe, like the Datoq, live near Lake Eyasi (Northern Tanzania). This fascinating tribe of hunters / gatherers has long kept hidden in the bush of central Tanzania and still live an extremely primitive life. These people speak a special click language only spoken in certain parts of Southern Africa by bushmen.
Swahili: This is a language spoken by a group of people rather than a tribe, caused by a mixture of Arabs and Bantu people. The Swahili live along the coast of Kenya and Tanzania and the island of Zanzibar, where they were known for centuries for their trade dealing. Also associated with the Swahili are the dhows, traditional boats used in the shipping trade.
Besides the original people of Africa there are many whites, both from the colonial period and from the later periods. Moreover, there lives a large group of Indians. These are all descendants of the 30,000 railway builders from the last century.