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The Wazaramo is the most important ethnic group around Pugu Hills. Originally they came from the Uluguru Area (Morogoro) and settled around Dar es Salaam. 

In 1957, 18,5% of the Wazaramo lived in Dar es Salaam, forming at that time "thirty per cent of he African population in the City". Their presence is traced back in the history of Dar es Salaam as follows.

The original name of Dar es Salaam is "Mzizimazi", which means "the healthy town". There came people from Barawa, who cleared the bush and built large houses. There also came Shirazi, who joined up with the Barawa settlers in one place.

The original settlers were growing cassave, millet, maize and sesame. They also built ships and canoes. Another activity was fishing and likewise that of the slave trade. They occupied the area between Dar es Salaam and Mboamaji and as far as Kunduchi in the opposite direction.

Then came up-country people and entered the coastal region. They were called Kamba. The coastal people asked the Zaramo Chief (Pazi) Kimbamanduka, a renowed elephant hunter, to fight the Kamba, the Pazi came down with a large army, fought the Kamba and drove them away. The Pazi did not stay long on the coast he returned to his own country, telling the coastal people they should pay taxes to him. Oral tradition states that Buguruni, Mtoni and Kurasini were given to the Zaramo as reward for driving the Kamba from Kenya away. The resulting migration of Zaramo and intermarriage with the coastal people, whom they called Shomvi, established a blood relationship.

Even the name of Zaramo is suggested, to be derived from those who moved to the coast "the Zalamo" meaning those who have sunk or remained down below (kuzalama or kuzarama meaning "to go down"). Zaramo were also sold as slaves or given in exchange for iron and cloth to coastal Shirazi or Arabs during the nineteenth century, Mzizima, Msasani and Magogoni villages are still recognized as being populated by people with such mixed background. Even so, there was not a great influx of Zaramo into the City until after the Second World War.

At that time the Kamba people were pushed back, the arabs of Muscat (Said bin Sultan) conquered Zanzibar by beating the original inhabitants the Hadimu and Tumbatu. With the assistance of the English he then took Mombasa on the mainland and Bagamoyo. One of the Sultan's men, Said bin Hemedi, visited the Jumbes (councillors) of Mzizimazi (Dar es Salaam). After paying baksheesh to the Jumbes, the sultan sent a vessel with workmen able to built large stone houses and Liwali and Hindu merchants. He put his flag on a mast.

The jumbes demanded tax from the settlers, seven Syrian reals on every door. The hindus imported cloth of every kind and made loans on credit to the children of the Jumbes. And the Nyamwezi came from the inland with their ivory to trade and the jumbes received their tax on the ivory of the country.

Sultan Barghash of Zanzibar abolished the rule of Wajumbe and substituted that of Zanzibar. Then the Germans came and "Bwana Loya" bought the country of Dar es Salaam for fifteen rupees from Jumbe Tambaza. While the Liwali did not agree they were sent back by steamship to Zanzibar.

The Arabs and Swahili who did not agree to the european settlers made war but were beaten by the German soldiers assisted by the two man-o-wars the Karola and Nyamwezi. They all ran away and went to Pugu to fight the missionaries. Two died and three were taken prisoner with the things they were carrying and were sent to Kunduchi.

Wazaramo Traditions in urban environment

Most traditional family ritual obligations still seem to survive in present day Dar es Salaam, like burying of the placenta and cord, cutting the hair on the fortieth day after birth.

Other generally practiced traditions are circumcision of male children and sending them to jando camps (instruction camps). The girl's puberty rite of seclusion of the young girls, from the time of puberty until their coming out, which is generally the day of their marriage, is still practised though the period may be shortened, forced by the governments educational policy, from three years in the rural areas to the holiday period in urban areas.

Once a year the neighbouring Zaramo have their religious ceremony in Pugu Forest as ritual requirement fulfilled towards the Zaramo family ancestors and spirits, called Tambiko (ritual offering).

Also in Pugu many traditional practices still fulfil an important function in Zaramo life in which also traditional medicine found in Pugu Forest play an important role.

The medicine-men mganga  still plays an important role, first to cure the sick, secondly to protect against sorcery, but also in finding a job, solving of marital or sexual problems and providing success in sports or politics.

(text derived from "Tanzania Notes & Records" Journal of the Tanzania Society, Number 71, 1970 and  "Prosa und Poesis der Suaheli, Berlin 1907" by C. Velten)

 
 
   
 


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