by Chris Walker Bush
June 1, 2016

Maasai's tribe unique culture and way of life, dress style and strategic territory along the game parks in Tanzania have made them one of East Africa's most internationally famous tribe.

Tanzania's religious beliefs are as diverse and unique as its natural and cultural resources. Tanzanian tribes and religion has high influence upon Tanzanian culture.

Religion of Tanzania

One third of Tanzanians are Christians, another third are Muslim. The remaining third pursue one of the numerous indigenous religions. In rural places some people express their faith in an animistic religion. Hinduism and Buddhism are also found among the members of the Asian minorities.

religion of tanzania

Christianity was introduced into Tanzania at the beginning of the 16th century through the establishment of a Franciscan mission in the city of Kilwa. Other missionary societies followed and in the 17th century Catholic and Protestant missions were to be found in almost every coastal city. The Christian Council of Tanzania, the umbrella organization for most Christian denominations, was founded in 1934.

Diviners and traditional healers in tribes of Tanzania

The clergy is today mostly of African origin. Muslims in Tanzania live mostly in Zanzibar, Pemba and along the Ruvuma River. Islam first appeared in the late medieval period with the establishment of Arab commercial stations in Zanzibar and along the coast. Muslims did not constitute any missionary societies.

The Islamic faith was widely spread by Arabic slave traders. There are two organizations which supervise Tanzania's Muslim affairs. The National Muslim Council of Tanzania supervises the mainland, while the Supreme Muslim Council handles the Muslim affairs in the Islands.

The indigenous beliefs of Tanzania confess to a high god, an idea similar to Christian and Islamic religion.

diviners healers tanzania

Many Tanzanians request the help of diviners and traditional healers. Many Tanzanians will give their children an additional name to a Christian or Islamic name. This is mostly a name from a grandparent and it symbolizes a relationship with the spiritual world of the forefathers.

Although the Tanzanian constitution offers freedom of religion, fundamentalists are also found. Conflicts and tensions between Christianity and Muslims are also there. They have effects in schools, colleges, business. Although Tanzania is an open globalized country, the concept of secularism between government and religion is still far away.

Maasai tribe Tanzania

Although there have been many attempts by the government to »tame« the Maasai people by taking their land and turning it into national reserve parks and crop production land, they have maintained their customs and habits, traditional rituals for different rites of passage, when they shave their heads and dance in circles.

masai warrior maasai

They have remained cattle breeders, eating mostly meat and milk that they produce themselves. Traditionally, the Maasai people are recognizable by wearing sandals, black, blue and red clothes, which they wrap around their bodies.

Women spend their spare time doing bead work and these accessories usually ornament their bodies, together with wooden bracelets and pierced earlobes. The Maasai have a patriarchal society and are divided into male groups, where elders usually decide on the important issues of the community.

The warriors are one of the most respected groups of the Maasai and are known world-wide. They have many privileges, since they are the only ones that can wear long hair.

The Maasai believe in one God, called” Engai”, though it has two natures; kind and vengeful. They have a “Laibon”, who is their spiritual leader. However, he doesn’t have any higher position in their community, just prophetic or healing powers.

Hadzabe tribe

With an estimate of less than 2,000 representatives, the Hadzabe tribe is one of the last tribes that have stayed tr