5 Weird Tanzanian Cultural Practices You’ve Never Heard of


Tanzania is a great country in East Africa that is known to be one of the most hospitable countries in Africa. However, you will never miss various strange customs in Tanzania. In fact, the country has once in a while hit the world’s headlines. Basically, there are various strange traditions and customs that a person can find in Tanzania. The Tanzanian weirdest traditions that have always been the talk of the day include:

5 Bizarre Tanzanian Cultural Practices

See Also: 5 Bizarre Ugandan Cultural Practices

1. Witchcraft

Recently, Tanzania was singled out as the most dangerous countries for albinos. It is a destination where African faith can be deadly. Most Tanzanians belief that people with albinism can be sources of immense wealth. They argue that their body parts can bring fortune. This belief has resulted in massive deaths of albinos in the country and even in neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Kenya. On the other hand, it should also be remembered that witches who believe that albinos are great source of wealth are not safe as well. They are also targeted by those who are against witchcraft. For instance, up to 600 people who believed in witchcraft were killed sometime in 2011, it has also been reported that about 3,000 witches have been killed in the past 6 years

Witchcraft - tanzania culture

2. Belief in Spirits and Ancestors

Hundreds of Tanzanians believe that by offering sacrifices to ancestors and spirits, a person is bound to enjoy safety. Sacrifices can protect a person from getting harmed by various evil doers. Statistics revealed that up to 60% of Tanzanian citizens believed that such sacrifices are beneficial. This belief is also common in various African countries but the manner in which it is conducted in Tanzania makes it clear that it is a nationwide belief. In fact, various Tanzanian scholars have been quoted saying they believe in spirits and ancestors. The belief is propagated by the need to secure protection from witches and acts of witchcraft that are rampant in the country.

See Also: 5 Bizarre Ethiopian Cultural Practices

evil spirits

3. Use of Hands

Tanzanians have strange beliefs on the use of hands. Unlike several other countries where hand use is not considered seriously, it pays to know some of the facts that will apply in Tanzania. For instance, it is considered a rude activity to use your left hand to greet a person. It shows disrespect and lack of appreciation. In Tanzania, you will also notice that the locals use their right hands while eating since the left hand is considered unclean. These facts appear simple but it may come with various repercussions in Tanzania. In this regard, if you are left-handed and you prefer to eat using your left hand, you should be cautious while you are in Tanzania since you will be mistaken as an evil person.

See Also: 5 Bizarre Kenyan Cultural Practices

4. Taking Photos

First of all, the government considers it illegal to take photos of structures such as bridges, government buildings and military officers. While this rule may apply in various African countries, there is another weird fact about taking photos in Tanzania. For example, it is recommended that you ask before taking another person’s picture. This is because the natives have a lot of beliefs about taking their pictures. Some may even expect you to give them money before taking the pictures. Other natives such as the Maasai believe that taking the pictures translates to stealing their souls.

5. Funeral Traditions

In Tanzania, funeral rites are about mourning the dead and also celebration of life. Burial rites do vary from one community to another but there are various beliefs that are common among various tribal groups. For instance, it is believed that failure to give proper burial to the dead will result in disturbance of the family by the dead person. In addition, most communities believe that depending on what the person did, he/she should be ready to receive relevant treatment from the ancestors. Ancestors are those individuals who died long time ago. Most tribes in Tanzania also believe in life after death and that is why the ancestors are buried with their belongings.

Tanzanian cultures

The Bottom Line  – Tanzanian Cultural Practices and Believes

Tanzania has a lot in store for everyone who aspires to find out more about the African culture. The country is normally visited by international scholars who seek to unmask various facts that underlie some of the African beliefs, culture and customs. Whatever that is practiced in the country is representative of what occurs in various African countries that still hold to these customs and culture.