Culture of Tanzania

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Tanzanian sculptures

The culture of Tanzania includes the following:


A total of 128 languages are spoken in Tanzania, most of them are from the Bantu family.[1] Swahili and English are the two official languages of Tanzania. However, Swahili is the national language.[2]

Given the conditions of the period, it was not possible to introduce Swahili in the entire educational system, because the scale of the task of writing or translating textbooks for primary schools was already considerable.[citation needed] As a result, English, the colonial language since the end of World War I, is still the language of high schools and universities. Many students leave school after finishing primary education.

Although the many non-official languages in Tanzania are not actively suppressed, they do not enjoy the same linguistic rights as Swahili. They also face language extinction, with one, the Kw'adza language, having no remaining speakers.[1]


Some writers include:


National anthem

The Tanzanian national anthem is Mungu Ibariki Afrika (God Bless Africa), composed by South Africa's composer Enoch Sontonga. The song is also the national anthem of South Africa (with another tune), Zambia, and Zimbabwe.


The music industry in Tanzania has seen many changes in the past ten years. With a fusion of local and foreign sonic traditions, Tanzanian musicians have grown in prominence within the African Great Lakes region. From artists such as Dionys Mbilinyi, Sabinus Komba, and many others, to new vibrant artists in R&B, pop, Zouk, Taarab, and dance music.

Imani Sanga is a composer, ethnomusicologist, church organist, and choral conductor.

Mwakisinini Felix contributed a lot in church music as a composer, trainer and choral conductor.



Tingatinga are popular Tanzanian paintings, painted with enamel paints on canvas. Usually the motifs are animals and flowers in colorful and repetitive design. The style was started by Mr. Edward Saidi Tingatinga born in South Tanzania. Later he moved to Dar es Salaam. Since his death in 1972, the Tingatinga style expanded both in Tanzania and worldwide. One of the most famous African artists, George Lilanga, was born in Tanzania. Other recognized Tanzanian abstract artists are David Mzuguno, Haji Chilonga, Salum Kambi, Max Kamundi, Thobias Minzi, Robino Ntila, John Kilaka, Godfrey Semwaiko, Evarist Chikawe, and many others. (see also:


Tanzania's cartoons have a history that can be traced back to the work of pioneering artists, such as Christian Gregory with his Chakubanga cartoons in Uhuru newspaper in the 1970s and 1980s, and Philip Ndunguru in the early 1980s. Outspokenly political cartoons are of more recent date.

In the past decade, the art of cartoons and comics has really taken off in Tanzania. At present there are dozens of cartoonists, some of whom are well known throughout the country. From the 1960s so on, a number of artists prepared the way, and their names are cited by today's artists as essential influences, some of the known cartoonists in Tanzania are Ally Masoud 'kipanya', Sammi Mwamkinga, Nathan Mpangala 'Kijasti', King kinya, Adam Lutta, Fred Halla, James Gayo, Robert Mwampembwa, Francis Bonda, Popa Matumula, Noah Yongolo, Oscar Makoye, Fadhili Mohamed, and many others. (also see the excellent history of cartoons in Tanzania at the Worldcomics website:


George Lilanga, who died in 2005, was one of Tanzania's most famous sculptors. People in Tanzania often sculpt images of people and animals, usually out of clay or a metal.



Barbecued beef cubes and seafood in Forodhani Gardens, Zanzibar
A Ramadan dinner in Tanzania

Tanzanian cuisine is both unique and widely varied. Along the coastal regions (Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Bagamoyo, Zanzibar, and Pemba), spicy foods are common, and there is also much use of coconut milk. Regions in Tanzania's mainland also have their own unique foods. Some typical mainland Tanzanian foods include rice (wali), ugali (maize porridge), chapati (a kind of bread), nyama choma (grilled meat), mshikaki (marinated beef), fish, pilau, biryani, and ndizi-nyama (plantains with meat). Commonly used vegetables include bamia (okra), mchicha (a kind of spinach), njegere (green peas), maharage (beans), and kisamvu (cassava leaves).

Famous Snacks: maandazi (fried dough), isheti, kashata, kebab (kabaab), samosa (sambusa), mkate wa kumimina (Zanzibar rice bread), vileja, vitumbua (rice patties), bagia, and many others.

Since a large proportion of Khoja Indians had migrated into Tanzania, a considerable proportion of Tanzanian cuisine has been influenced by Indian cuisine. Famous chefs such as Mohsin Asharia have revolutionized dishes such as kashata korma tabsi and voodo aloo. Many Khoja Indians own restaurants in the heart of Dar es Salaam, and have been welcomed by indigenous Tanzanians.

Beverages - Many people drink tea (chai) in Tanzania. Usually tea is drank in the morning, during breakfast with chapati and maandazi, and at times at night during supper. Coffee is second, and is usually taken in the evening, when the sun is down, and people are on the front porch, playing cards or bao. Many people drink coffee with kashata (a very sweet tasting snack made from coconut meat or groundnuts).

There are also local beverages depending on the different tribes and regions.

Local Brews: for coastal regions, such as Tanga and Dar es Salaam, mnazi/tembo is widely consumed. Other brews include wanzuki and mbege among the Chagga, and lubisi, nkencha, nkonyagi, and mbandule among the Haya found on the shores of Lake Victoria.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Ethnologue report for Tanzania". Retrieved 2012-01-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Tanzania National Website". Retrieved 2012-01-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links