From the sandy beaches of Zanzibar to the hustle-and-bustle of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania is a country renowned for the diversity in its sceneries and the hospitality of its people.
Tanzania is a democratic country run by a president. Hakuna Matata perfectly summarizes the Tanzanian mind-set. They are relaxed, happy-go-lucky and loving people. Its gorgeous scenery and wildlife have been a constant source of inspiration for artists, scholars and writers worldwide. Tanzanian culture is a product of African, Arab, European and Indian influences tweaked and teased to fit into traditional African values. Each ethnic group is riddled with myths, legends, folk tales, proverbs and sayings that embody that particular tribe’s cultural heritage.
Tanzanian society is still very traditional and has also a long history of black magic, particularly ‘Juju’. Juju abounds in traditional spells, medicines and cures. The witch doctor or ‘waganga’ is a powerful force that attracts people far and wide to seek a cure of an ailment, regain lost luck or curse an enemy.
All ethnic groups lay emphasis on family values and strict morals. To this day, marriages in Zanzibar are arranged and divorce, although permitted, is frowned upon.
Tanzanians are known for their artistic and creative tendencies, from sculpture to painting to music and dance. A great amount of their craft cultures has military origins, such as shields and spears. The Maasai are a very prominent ethnic group in terms of making shields and spears, as they lead a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Masks and beadwork play a very important role in terms of culture and craft in Tanzania. Different colours and patterns are worn depending on occasions. They have a wide variety of beading techniques and patterns, each more tantalizing than the next.
Tanzania is most renowned for its crystals and diamonds; tanzanite is a gorgeous blue and purple stone. It is mainly used for rings, earrings, necklaces and other forms of jewellery.
There is an abundance of different ethnic groups that coexist in Tanzania: around 125. The most prominent are the Sukuma, the Nyamwezi, the Chagga and the Haya, that have more than one million members each. Around 99% of Tanzanians are of African descent, with a very minimal part of the population of Arab, European or Asian descent. While most ethnic groups are sedentary, there are nomadic tribes such as the Maasai and the Luo that tend to live near the border with Kenya. All in all, Tanzanians come from all walks of life, speak a variety of different languages and dialects but that is the beauty of it.
There is so much diversity and wonder that there is a great feeling of national pride.
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