Sambaa Tribe I Tanga Guide
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Sambaa Tribe in Tanga
The Sambaa, also referred to as the Sambaa, are a Bantu people found mainly on the west Usambara mountain range in Tanzania. The homeland of the Sambaa is called Shambaai (or Sambalai).
The Sambaa were traditionally ruled by kings. The Sambaa kingdom was made up of several descent groups with a common origin, but the kingdom was governed by a single descent group.
The king ruled over several chiefdoms. All the wealth of the land was regarded as the king’s. The system of chiefdoms was abolished soon after Tanzanian independence (1961).
Other Ethnic Groups in Tanga
The mountains of the Shambaa are an area of abundant rainfall with thriving banana plants. The Shambaa regard the nyika (plains) as a dangerous place of disease and death. Thus, the population density is high in the mountain area.
Villages are located near each other with nearly all arable (farmable) land in use. Overpopulation is considered a problem. Some Shambaa people have now moved to the nyika and to urban areas such as Dar es Salaam and Tanga. Total Shambaa population is approximately 445,000 people.
Shambala is the main language spoken by the Shambaa. It has three main dialect areas. Despite these differences in dialect, the Shambaa can understand one another’s speech. Shambala is used mainly for oral communication; only a few people can write in Shambala at this time.
The Shambaa also speak Swahili, the national language of Tanzania. Young people prefer to speak Swahili, which is taught in primary school. It is used in business and communications (in the media). Instruction in secondary schools and universities is in English.
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