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The Chagga People of Tanzania – Cultural Village Tourism & Way of Life

Tanzania is one of the most diverse countries when it comes it ethnicity. It has about 120 ethnic tribes. The Chagga people are third biggest tribe and they have always lived on the foothill of the Kilimanjaro Mountain.

The Chagga is also divided into a more about 400 clans that are led by chiefs locally known as the mangis.

The clans are entirely over seen by the Mangi Mkuuw who is the Chief of chiefs. Chagga people speak the Chagga Language but they also speak Kiswahili which is the national language of Tanzania.

Economic activities

Due to the availability of fertile soils on the soles of the Kilimanjaro Mountain, the Chagga people are predominantly cultivators.

They grow crops from beans, coffee, maize, millet and bananas.

The finger millet which is also one of their biggest crop is majorly grown to brew their local brew which is known as Mbege.

The Mbege is supposed to be a shared brew and therefore it is served in a communal port which is a virtue of the Chagga people to foster togetherness.

The local dishes of the Chagga include a lot of meat, vegetable and fruits, bananas, Maize and beans.

Before the colonial times that saw the introduction of clothes, the Chagga used to wear the Cowhides and skin. In the Tanzania today, the Chagga are among the most educated and they are known to be good with business.

Their educational and wealth is attributed to the fact that they were the first tribe in Tanzania to allow Christianity and formal education as well.

History of the Chagga Clans

The Chagga are divided into are more 400 clans. The clans were created after a series of civil wars in the area.

Boundaries to these clans were marked by rives, valley and rocks. The modern day Chagga people are more united than the ancient ones.

The Chagga people of Moshi and Kilimanjaro have lived in the vicinity of the mountain for ages.

The Chagga might be one tribe but subdivided into many clans. These clans were categorized under different chiefdoms.

Chagga Chiefs

The Chagga chiefs used to hold a lot of power. They were also judges in the community. They would also lead wars that were between the clans to conquer other clans.

They would also issue permission for movement of other people through their land.

Even the first Europeans that came to explore the Kilimanjaro would have to first seek permission to reach the mountain.


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