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Abstract

Farming is a major sector of informal employment for more than 67 per cent of the active labour force in Tanzania. This means farming is of primary importance to the overall economy. Rural transformations and the future of agriculture in Tanzania depend mainly upon improved access to market outlets, guarantees on improved seeds, and availability of farm-loans. These are essential interventions to transform the rural sector despite the challenges it is facing. An overview of government interventions in rural development policy and activity is offered here by focusing on Ismani, part of the present-day Iringa District in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. Agrarian change in Ismani through the 1940s to the 1970s depended upon government interventions on the one hand, and changes in the physical environment on the other. Initially during this period, Ismani became a national food granary in the 1970s as a result of government interventions. Then this progress turned upside down in the 1980s, when the development of Ismani took on a new dimension due to a rapid decline in maize productivity. In recent years, especially over the last two decades, Ismani has experienced recurrent food insecurity. Evidence of the drastic change emerges from reliance on archival sources, fieldwork interviews and secondary sources collected in 2012, 2013 and 2017. This paper explores the dynamics of maize farming in Ismani, to provide a detailed historical understanding of how a prosperous maize farming area can become, in the space of only a few years, an area which is now rife with localised food insecurity in many of its villages.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

The Bagamoyo area is among the Tanzanian coastal locations where evidence of intercontinental trade dates back to the last few centuries of the first millennium AD. Previous investigations have indicated that the region’s earliest settlement is represented by Early Triangular Incised Ware [TIW] around 600 to 700 AD, at Bwembweni site located two kilometres south of Kaole. During the Later TIW, the population shifted to Kaole Hill during the period noted by the use of Plain Ware, and later moved to the adjacent Kaole Ruins by the thirteenth century.

Traditionally, the majority of earlier investigations for such conclusions have been restricted to Bwembweni and Kaole sites, and to a limited extent to Bagamoyo Town itself and its vicinity. However, recent reconnaissance and excavation of Nunge, a single type pottery tradition site located to the north, suggests that although Bagamoyo’s involvement in intercontinental exchange dates back to the seventh century AD, the narrative is more complicated than previously assumed. It appears that between the subsequent ninth to eleventh centuries, the area lost such links, before resurfacing again in the twelfth to thirteenth centuries. Within that time frame, Nunge developed into an extensive urban centre whose prosperity was based on salt production for exchange.

This discovery suggests that the development to urbanism at (Later Iron Age phase) Nunge-Bagamoyo predates that of the Kaole town, when the area is known to have had a few links with the outside world. These findings contribute crucially to the debate regarding early urbanisation along the Swahili coast, by challenging the conventional view that Arab or Asian settlements were the earliest urban centres along the coast of East Africa.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

The following pages engage a hermeneutic approach to African philosophy, focusing on the work of Tsenay Serequeberhan. At the heart of the discussion is the question of where to locate such an approach in the existing philosophical literature. Does this way of working render African philosophy a European enterprise? Giving an affirmative response, the writings of Paulin Hountondji, which draw upon Husserlian phenomenology, are taken up as an alternative response to questions raised here about the meaning and methods of hermeneutics. Ultimately, however, this perspective is also set aside. Instead, suggestions are put forward for the markers around which a contemporary African metaphysics, which is both restorative and creative, might be pursued.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

Malaria patients in Ivory Coast pursue a wide variety of treatment routes, depending upon how they understand the aetiology of their illness, their association of illness with supernatural causes, their ability to afford standard consultation fees, their access to conventional health care facilities, and their confidence in traditional African therapies. This research took place in the context of the government’s policy of providing free management of ‘simple malaria’ for all. Working with four conventional doctors and four traditional African medical practitioners, treatment choices of 161 malaria patients were analysed at Kennedy-Clouétcha, a busy urban health care centre in Abidjan. Almost half (77) of the patients in the study cited mosquito bites, general poor health, and stagnant water sources as the causes of their malaria. A greater number of patients (84) indicated fatigue, sun exposure, mysticism, and diet as the cause. The scope of therapies sought by these patients covered conventional biomedical treatment, traditional African medicine, and prayer. When patients were not cured through methods of their first resort, they pursued second options for care. Despite the availability of free care in centrally located public health systems, the therapeutic trajectory of many patients diverted away from conventional treatment. The data suggests that a patient’s orientation away from the conventional biomedical model may be best explained by confusions surrounding the diagnostic label ‘simple malaria’.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

All languages are transformed to some extent by other languages with which they are regularly in contact. Some languages are regarded as ‘developed’ insofar as they function as the dominant mode of communication in economically developed countries (e.g. in North America and Europe). The dominant speech communities of rich economies transmit new innovations and discoveries globally, which are then translated into languages described as ‘developing’ because their use is chiefly restricted to so-called economically developing nations, such as Tanzania. In this respect, English counts among the world’s developed languages while Kiswahili is regarded as a developing language. Despite the general tendency to translate new expressions fully into a targeted developing language, there is evidence of foreign structures in Kiswahili when it is used in social media. This article analyses the English syntactic, morphological, phonological and lexical features of Kiswahili appearing in electronic platforms including WhatsApp, personal blogs (e.g. Michuziblogspot) and online social forums (e.g. Jamii Forum). This primary data is then analysed through back translation.

In: Utafiti
In: Utafiti

Abstract

Ngoma is a Kiswahili term which means traditional dance. In this essay the terms ‘ngoma’ and ‘dance’ are used interchangeably. The research was conducted in Dar es Salaam and Iringa among four ngoma groups of young people: Lumumba, Hayahaya, Alamano and Tanangozi. Theatre stakeholders were involved to seek their perceptions of the global impact on ngoma. In-depth interviews, participant-performer research, and group discussions were the methods employed, focussing on the content, costumes, musical instruments and the make-up used, to explore how and why cultures from around the world influence the way this traditional dance form is performed by young people. It emerged that a range of factors drive innovation in this dance form, including the dancers’ quest for recognition, their individual creativity, the performers’ desire to discover and display unique identities. The findings suggest that in this age of globalisation, international influences upon aesthetic sense and expression are inevitable. But in the case of Tanzania’s ngoma, which has been preserved conscientiously for decades, protective responses to such influences should be maintained vigilantly, in order to shield this valued intangible heritage from fading away.

In: Utafiti

Abstract

This study takes an onoma-pragmatic approach to investigating Cigogo personal names, in order to identify the determinants of the choices and the implications involved in naming. Personal names are considered here to be utterances like any other, whose understanding depends heavily upon their situational interpretation, based on both general and specific information shared by speakers and surrounding the utterance. Therefore the data in this study were analysed with general background information to retrieve the relevant etymologies, and with specific information to identify their possible implicatures. The findings have shown that Gogo personal names derive etymologically from lineage, seasons, socio-economic activities, calamities, surroundings, birth circumstances and celebrities. All these collectively carry two implicatures: either recording and recalling, or wishes and prayers. The sources of personal names reveal not only how this community reckoned time before the introduction of literacy, but also how they have worshiped. Of further interest is the recording of birthdays, family history and clan legacy by Cigogo speakers through personal names. Some of the names – particularly the ancestral ones – were used as good will prayers and wishes bestowed upon the younger generation. These observations may inspire further study of personal naming, a subject area of pragmatics which so far has not received sufficient systematic attention. Further, the pragmatics of African personal names illuminates one dimension in the complex transmission of cultural and historical information in oral knowledge traditions.

In: Utafiti
In: Utafiti

Abstract

The twentieth century saw a huge increase worldwide in the presence of the arts in organisations and institutions involved in healthcare activities, including public health care research conducting in various countries. This article shows the impact of using art to engage literate and non-literate people in the pro-active translation of research outcomes into their own cultural practices and their personal decisions affecting their health status. The study demonstrates that art can be of use changing social behaviour and therefore to improve public health records in statistically significant ways. This work also demonstrates that the term ‘art’ refers to more than a means of entertainment and passive appreciation of aesthetics; the effectiveness of art is tangible and its impact is measurable as a mode of education, and as providing a deeply needed instructive incentive for hygienic and sanitation transformation.

In: Utafiti