To understand Tanzania Coastal areas culture and Bagamoyo in particular, you must learn about Tanzania Bagamoyo Town People and their Culture in Tanzania in general. On this site therefore, I’m happy to give you a brief introduction about people and culture of Bagamoyo town.
Bagamoyo was the most important trading entrepot of the east central coast of Africa in the late 19th century. Bagamoyo's history has been influenced by Indian and Arab traders, by the German colonial government and by Christian missionaries.
Until the middle of the 18th century, Bagamoyo was a small and insignificant trading center where most of the population were fishermen and farmers. The main trading goods were fish, salt, and gum, among other things.
In the late 18th century Muslim families settled in Bagamoyo, all of which were relatives of Shamvi la Magimba in Oman. They made their living by enforcing taxes on the native population and by trading in salt, gathered from the Nunge coast north of Bagamoyo.
In the first half of the 19th century, Bagamoyo became a trading port for ivory and the slave trade, with traders coming from the African interior, from places as far as Morogoro, Lake Tanganyika and Usambara on their way to Zanzibar.
This explains the meaning of the word Bagamoyo ("Bwaga-Moyo") which means "Lay down your Heart" in Swahili. It is disputed whether this refers to the slave trade which passed through the town (i.e. "give up all hope") or to the porters who rested in Bagamoyo after carrying 35 lb cargos on their shoulders from the Great Lakes region (i.e. "take the load off and rest").
Since there is little evidence to support that Bagamoyo was a major slave port (Kilwa, much further south, has earned this status), and that tens of thousands of porters arrived at Bagamoyo annually in the latter half of the 19th century, it is more likely that the name of the town derives from the latter interpretation.
More about Culture and People in Tanzania
Tanzania Culture Linguistic Affiliation While each ethnic group speaks its own local language, almost all in this area are also fluent in the national language, Swahili ( Kiswahili in Swahili), the second official language is English, a vestige of the British colonial period.
For most Tanzanians, including those who live in urban areas, no meal is complete without a preferred staple carbohydrate—corn, rice, cassava, sorghum, or plantains, for example.
The staple is accompanied by a fish, beef, goat, chicken, or mutton stew or fried pieces of meat, along with several types of vegetables or condiments, commonly including beans, leafy greens resembling spinach, manioc leaves, chunks of pumpkin, or sweet potatoes.
In this area, tribal customs advocate a gender division of labor: women and girls take care of the household chores, small children, and livestock, and plant and weed the agricultural fields.
Men prepare land for cultivation, care for large livestock, market produce, and make the important financial and political decisions for the family. As girls and women throughout this area have gained access to more formal education, however, they are challenging the customary division of labor.
Among the lower socioeconomic strata, with few exceptions, women have a lower standard of living than do men. Generally speaking, boys are valued more than girls. Only women descended from ruling tribal families, successful businesswomen, or women politicians enjoy privileges equal to that of men.
Traditional customs call for marriages to be arranged by the parents of the bride and groom, although such arrangements are becoming less common, particularly in urban settings.
The basic family structure is extended, although the pressures of development have led increasingly to nuclear family units, particularly in urban areas. In most cases, the man is the supreme head of the household in all major decisions. A wife earns respect through her children and, indeed, is not considered to be a fully mature woman until she has given birth to a healthy child.
Clanship systems are common in this area. While the majority of ethnic groups are patrilineal, recognizing descent through male ancestors, there are some matrilineal groups (where descent is traced through females) in Tanzania: the Kaguru in the east-central part of the country, for example.
Throughout the nation, children are raised with the strong influence of parents as well as close relatives, friends, and neighbors.
Tanzanians are proud of their disciplined upbringing. The ability to keep control of one's temper and emotions in public is highly valued. Young men and women in rural areas are not supposed to show mutual affection in public in daylight, although this rule is often broken in urban centers.
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