Culture of Tanzania - Languages, Media, Arts, Cuisine and More

What is the Culture of Tanzania Africa – Languages, Media, Arts, Cuisine and More

Just after Tanganyika’s independence in 1961 and its merger with Zanzibar in 1964, which resulted in the formation of Tanzania, the Head of State Julius Nyerere emphasized the necessity for residents of the new country to develop a national identity. To do so, Nyerere delivered one of the most impactful cases of ethnic suppression and identity modification in Africa which set the tone for the culture of Tanzania, according to some analysts.

Tanzania is among the most diverse ethnic African countries, with over 130 tribal groups and domestic languages spoken. Notwithstanding this, ethnic differences in Tanzania have remained uncommon, especially in comparison to the majority of the continent most especially because of the culture of Tanzania.

Major Cultural Characteristics of Tanzania


Based on the culture of Tanzania, there are 130 different languages, the majority of which are Bantu languages. Tanzania’s two authorized languages are Swahili and English. Swahili, on the other hand, is the main national language.

Given the circumstances of the time, it just wasn’t possible to integrate Swahili into the entire curriculum because the burden of translating or writing primary school textbooks was already enormous. As a consequence, English, which has been the imperial language since WWII ended, is still used in universities and colleges. After completing primary school, many pupils drop out. According to the Culture of Tanzania, there are unofficial languages and they are not deliberately suppressed in the country. They do not have the same linguistic freedoms as English and Swahili. Some languages, like the Kw’adza language, are on the verge of extinction.


  • Edwin Semzaba
  • [Euphrase Kezilahabi]
  • Charles Mloka
  • Mandela Pallangyo



National Anthem

Enoch Sontonga of South Africa composed the Tanzanian national hymn, “Mungu Ibaraki Afrika” [God’s Blessing on Africa]. The anthem is also South Africa’s [with a different tune] and also Zambia’s national anthem.

Enoch Sontonga of South Africa
Enoch Sontonga of South Africa

Music Industry

The culture of Tanzania has influenced the music industry during the last ten years. Tanzanian artists have risen to fame in the Great Lakes areas of Africa thanks to a combination of native and international music traditions. It features traditional musicians such as Sabinus Komba, Dionys Mbilinyi, and others, as well as fresh and exciting pop. R&B, Taarab, Zouk, and dance acts. Imani Sanga is very much a choral conductor, composer, ethnomusicologist, and church organist. Mwakisinini Felix is very much a choral conductor, composer, and trainer who has made significant contributions to church music.



Tingatinga refers to a renowned Tanzanian painting style in which enamel paints are used on canvas. Flowers and Animals in a colourful and repetitious design are the most common motifs. Edward S. Tingatinga started the style in Dar city.. The Tingatinga style has grown in popularity both in the United Republic of Tanzania and overseas since Edward’s death in 1972. George Lilanga, a Makonde from Tanzania, was among the most well-known African performers that promoted the culture of Tanzania. Modern artists included, Salum Kambi, Haji Chilonga, Thobias Minzi, Robino Ntila, Max Kamundi, John Kilaka, Evarist Chikawe, Godfrey Semwaiko, David Mzuguno, and more


Tanzanian cartoons can be traced all the way back to pioneering animators like Christian Gregory in the late 1970s and early 1980s with his Chakubanga comics in the Uhuru newspaper and Philip Ndunguru too in the early 1980s. Political cartoons that were created more recently are more outspoken.

In Tanzania, the art of cartooning and comics has exploded in popularity during the last decade. At this time, there are multitudes of cartoonists in the country, most of whom are renowned. From the 1960s forward, a number of cartoonists paved the way, and today’s artists credit them as important influences. Sammi Mwamkinga, Nathan Mpangala’ Kijasti,’ Ally Masoud’ kipanya,’ King kinya, Adam Lutta, James Gayo, Fred Halla, Fadhili Mohamed, Francis Matumula, Robert Mwampembwa, Noah Yongolo, Bonda, Popa Oscar Makoye, and others are among the well-known cartoonists in Tanzania (see the good history of Tanzanian cartoon showcased at the world comics]. These cartoonists portrayed the culture of Tanzania through their works.

Ally Masoud kipanya
Ally Masoud kipanya


Apart from being an artist, George Lilanga, who passed away in 2005, was also a well-known sculptor in Tanzania. Tanzanian artisans and artists of various ethnic groups and culture of Tanzania have left a rich tradition of sculptures depicting animals, people, and daily objects. The Makonde sculptures of surrealist sheitani creatures, made of extraordinarily durable ebony [mapingo] wood, are the most well-known of these various ethnic traditions.

Bead Work – Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania culture has a strong impact in this type of art. The tribe is famous for making great beads for different things, necklaces, bangles and more.


The culture of Tanzania influences Tanzanian food as it differs depending on where you are in the country. The food also plays a huge role in identifying culture and customs of Tanzania people in different areas. For example, spicy cuisines are famous around the coast [Zanzibar, Tanga, Dar es Salaam, Pemba and Bagamoyo], and coconut milk is widely used. Different meals are consumed in different parts of Tanzania’s mainland. Nyama Choma [grilled meat], Wali [rice], mshikaki [marinated beef], ugali [maize porridge], pilau [rice combined with a variety of flavours], biriyani, ndizi-nyama[plantains and meat] and samaki [fish], are some popular mainland Tanzania cuisines.

Tanzanians typically consume bamia [okra], which is mostly consumed as a stew or made into a local stew known as mchicha, mlenda, [amaranthus tricolour], maharage [beans], kisamvu [cassava leaves], and njegere [green peas]. Tanzania produces at least 17 varieties of bananas that are used in stew, soup, and chips. Breakfast dishes according to the culture of Tanzania include maandazi [fried doughnuts], chai [tea], chapati [a type of flatbread], porridge [particularly in rural regions], and chipsi mayai. kabaab [kebab], Visheti, kashata [coconut bars], vitumbua [rice patties], sambusa [samosa], vileja, mkate wa-kumimina [Zanzibari rice bread], and bagia are popular Tanzanian snacks.

Since a substantial number of Indians migrated to Tanzania, Indian cuisine has affected a significant section of Tanzanian cuisine. Traditional Indian cuisines like voodoo aloo and kashata korma tabsi have been transformed by famous chefs like Mohsin Asharia. Many Indians run restaurants in the centre of Dar city, and indigenous Tanzanians have welcomed them.

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