You are here

Tanganyika Bantu

George Peter Murdock (1897-1985)
Africa. Its Peoples and Their Culture History

New York. McGraw-Hill. 1959. 456 p.

Part Ten: Spread of Pastoralism to the Bantu
- 46 -
Tanganyika Bantu

The Tanganyika Bantu, as we shall designate them, arrived as part of the Central Bantu immigration which also peopled the south and east. Since the Cushites had not penetrated this part of East Africa, the immigrants found it occupied only by Bushmanoid hunters and gatherers with cultures of the Stillbay complex, who had held it since Paleolithic times. The Kindiga and Sandawe in the north (see Chapter 10) constitute the only suniving remnants o f this earlier population.
It was the African cereals-sorghum, eleusine, and millet-diffusing from Uganda, where the Interlacusrrine Bantu had acquired them from the Cushites, that made possible the agricultural occupation of central and western Tanganyika. That the immigrants themseh'es belonged to the Central rather than the Interlacustrine group of Bantu is indicated both by linguistic evidence and by the widespread survivals of matrilineal institutions among the present inhabitants of the province.
Several centuries later, probably early in the second millennium, the Tanganyika Bantu received a second valuable cultural gift from their neighbors in Uganda-namely, cattle, or, if these perchance had been borrowed somew hat earlier, at least the knowledge of how to milk them and to make butter. This introduced an important new form of movable property and strengthened the economic position of the male sex, thereby initiating a transition from matrilineal to p atrilineal forms of social organization, as will shortly be demonstrated.
Surrounded by peoples of differing cultures and of greater economic and political strength, the Tanganyika Bantu accepted in varying degrees the innovations offered to them, with the result that they fall into a number of somewhat disparate clusters.

Rift Cluster

  1. Gogo (Wagogo), with the Ngomwia (Wangomwia). They number about 110,000. The Ngomwia, who occupy an enclave in Gogo territory, appear to be of Southern Cushitic origin.
  2. Iramba (Aniramba), with the kindred Izanzu (Issansu) and Irambi (Yambi). They number about 125,000.
  3. Mbugwe (Wambugwe). They are an offshoot of the Rangi and number about 8,000.
  4. Rangi (Irangi, Langi, Walangi, Warangi). They number about 80,000.
  5. Turu (Lima, Nyaruru, Toro, Walimi, Waniaturu). They number about 150,000.

Nyamwezi Cluster

  1. Bende (Vende, Wabende), with the Tongwe. With them live numerous Holoholo immigrants from across Lake Tanganyika.
  2. Kimbu. They form the southeastern branch of the Nyamwezi.
  3. Konongo. They form the southwestern branch of the Nyamwezi.
  4. Nyamwezi (Banyamwezi, Wanyamwezi), embracing the Gala, Galaganza, Irwana (Bilwana), and Nankwili. With the Kimbu and Konongo, they number at least half a million.
  5. Sukuma (Basukuma, Wassukuma), with the Longo (Rongo). They number about a million.
  6. Sumbwa, with the Msalala and other subtribes. They adjoin the Ha and Zinza tribes of the lnrerlacustrine Bantu.

Rukwa Cluster

  1. Fipa (Wafipa), with the Nyika (Banyika, Wanjika). The Nyika number about 15,000.
  2. Iwa (Awiwa, Wawiwa, Wiwa), with the Nyamwanga (Ainamwanga, Inamwanga, Namwanga, Winamwanga). They were reported in 1910 to number about 20,000.
  3. Lambya (Rambia, Warambia), with the Malila (Penya), Ndali, Tambo, and Wandya.
  4. Pimbwe (Bapimbwe), with the Rungwa.
  5. Safwa (Wassafwa), with the Nyiha (Nyixa). The Safwa proper number about 15,000.

Rufiji Cluster

  1. Bena (Wabena), with the Sowe (Sovi, Wasove) and Vemba. They number at least 20,000
  2. Ilehe (Wahehe), with the Chungwe (Zungwa). They number about 100,000.
  3. Marumbi (Wamawmbi), with the Ndendehule.
  4. Mbunga (Bunga, Vambunga).
  5. Ndamba (Gangi, Vandamba). They number about 30,000.
  6. Pogoro (Wapogoro, Weganga). Their language and that of the Ndamba are mutually intelligible.
  7. Sagara (Sagala, Wasagara, Wassungara), with the Kaguru and Vidunda.
  8. Sangu (Rori, Sango), with the Poroto.

Nyasa Cluster

  1. Kinga, with the Mahasi, Mwelya, Pangwa, and Wanji. They inhabit the Livingstone Moumains northeast of Lake Nyasa.
  2. Kisi, with the Mpoto and Sandia. They subsist primarily by fishing along the precipitous shores of Lake Nyasa.
  3. Matengo (Wamatengo). They were reported in 1933 to number about 40,000.
  4. Nyakyusa (Niakiusa, Sochile, Sokile), with the Kukwe, Mwamba, Ngonde (Konde, Wakonde, Wangonde), Selya (Salya, Seria), and Sukwa. They number well over 200,000.