African Indigenous Knowledge and Social Security of the Elderly in Rural Tanzania: The Case of Bukoba Rural District

Frateline Kashaga


This article explores the possibility of utilizing the local knowledge in social policy development in Tanzania and its potential for improving the welfare of the elderly in Haya society in Bukoba rural district. Since independence in 1961 the development of social policy in Tanzania has marginalized and at times completely ignored the usefulness of   cultural and social fabric of indigenous societies. As a result, the policy framework of the country lacks much input from rural grassroots communities specifically on issues around old age and social insecurity. Based on first hand ethnographical field data gathered in Bukoba rural district this article attempts to demonstrate some of cultural sensibilities and traditional practices as preserved in Haya society like in many other ethnic groups in Tanzania. These cultural sensibilities and traditional practices are referred to in this article as indigenous knowledge or local knowledge. In doing so, the article demonstrates the potentiality to identify features in the cultural heritage of the rural peasants in Bukoba district in an attempt to draw from them social underpinnings for improving the Tanzanian social policy. The author recognizes the ideological theoretical approach in the effort to revitalize an experience from the historical period in which nationalromantic ideas influenced strongly the creation of nation’s identities. It is assumed to have relevance since Tanzanian nation misinterpreted her initial ideal efforts to build on its own heritage of Ujamaa, which partly drew some ideas from cultural heritage of indigenous societies.

Full Text:



Byabato, M. 2010. Tujikumbushe Tulikotoka: Tudumishe Utamaduni Wetu. North-Western Publishers, Bukoba, Tanzania.

Campbell, H. and S. Howard. 1992. Tanzania and the IMF: The Dynamics of Liberalization. West view Press: Oxford.

Castles, F. and M. Robert. 1979. “Public welfare Provision”, Scandinavia Journal of Political Science 9, 2: 157-71.

Comaroff, J. and C. John. 1991. Modernity and Its Malcontents: Ritual and Power in Post-Colonial Africa. The University of Chicago press.

Cory, H. 1959. History of Bukoba District. Lake Printing Works Ltd: Mwanza.

Cutright, P. 1965. “Political Structure, Economic Development and National Social Security Programmes,” American Journal of Sociology 70, 3: 537-50.

Dijk, V. 1993. Elite Discourse and Racism. Sage Publications Ltd : London.

Fairclough, N. 2001. Language and Power London. Pearson Education Limited: United Kingdom.

Fairclough, N. 1995. Critical Discourse Analysis: The critical study of Language. Longman: London.

Kashaga, F. 2013. “Neo-liberalism, Agricultural Transformation and the Welfare of the Elderly in Tanzania: The Case Study of Bukoba District”, Special Issue OSSREA Utafiti Journal- University of Dar es salaam, Tanzania.

Freyhold, M. 1979. Ujamaa Villages in Tanzania: Analysis of a social experiment. Heinemann: London.

Hyden, G. 1969. Political Development in Rural Tanzania: TANU Ya Jenga Nchi. East African Publishing House: Nairobi-Kenya.

African Indigenous Knowledge and Social Security of Elderly

Hyden, G. 1980. Beyond Ujamaa in Tanzania: Underdevelopment and an Uncaptured Peasantry. Heinemann Educational Books Ltd: London.

Hyden, G. 1983. No shortcuts to Progress: African Development Management in Perspective. University of California Press.

Ilomaki, H. 1992. “Oral and Written Traditional during the Creation of the National Culture: Early Fieldwork on the Kalevala Runes”, Nordic Journal of African Studies 1, 2: 95-110.

Isaiah, B. 2001. The Roots of Romanticism. Princeton University Press.

Kahakwa, S. 2010. A Haya-African Interpretation of the Christian Concept of God: A Study of an Invocation of the Deity in a Threefold Form for Indigenizing and Understanding the Christian Trinitarian Model. Transactions Publishers: London.

Kakulwa, P. 2007. Harakati za Wavuvi Wadogo Mkoani Kagera, Paper Presented at Annual Conference organized by Tanzania Gender Network Programme (TGNP).

Koselleck, R. 2006. Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time- Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought. Columbia University Press.

Kibira, J. 1974. Church, Clan, and the World. Almqvist & Wikisell: Uppsala Sweden.

Kilaini, M. 1990. The Catholic Evangelization of Kagera in North-West Tanzania: The Pioneer Period 1892-1912. Expontificial Universistas GregorianaRoma.

Kimambo, I., H. Goran, M. Sam and S. Kazuhiko. 2008. Contemporary Perspectives on African Moral Economy. Dar es Salaam University Press.

Kiyenze, B. 1985. The Transformation of Tanzanian Handicrafts into Co-operatives and Rural Small-scale Industrialization. The Finnish Anthropological Society: Helsinki.

Lammel-Ilonanagy, A. 1992. “Creation Myths in Kalevala and in Hungarian Oral Tradition”, Nordic Journal of African Studies 1, 2: 63-70.

Maghimbi, S., K. Isaria and S. Kazuhiko, 2011, Comparative Perspectives on Moral Economy: Africa and Southeast Asia. Dar es Salaam University Press.

Mesaki, S. 1993. Witchcraft and witch-killings in Tanzania. Ph.D Thesis, University of Minnesota USA.

Mbiti, J. 1975. Introduction to African Religion. Heinemann: London.

Mbiti, J. 1969. African Religions and Philosophy. Heinemann: London.

Mchomvu, A., T. Felician and M. Sam. 2002. “Social Security Systems in Tanzania”, Journal of Social Development in Africa 17, 2: 11-27.

Mchomvu, A., T. Ngalula, Nchahaga G., T. Felician and M. Sam. 1998. “Social Policy and Research Practice in Tanzania”, Journal of Social Development in Africa 13, 2: 45-53.

Michael, F. 2006. A companion to European Romanticism. Wiley Blackwell: UK.

Michael, F. 2010. A short Introduction to Romanticism. Oxford University Press.

Mutembei, R. 1993. Kristo au Wamara?. North-Western Publishers: Bukoba, Tanzania.

Muzale, H.R.T. 2006. English-Ruhaya-Swahili Dictionary. Languages of Tanzania (LOT) Project, University of Dar es salaam.

Muzale, H.R.T. 2006. Ikaningambo ya Oruhaya: Kamusi ya Kiswahili-KiingerezaRuhaya. Languages of Tanzania (LOT) Project, University of Dar es salaam.

Mulokozi, M.M. 1992. “Kalevala and Africa”, Nordic Journal of African Studies 1, 2: 71-80.

African Indigenous Knowledge and Social Security of Elderly

Polanyi, K. 2001. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Beacon Press: Boston, Massachusetts.

Rugemalira, J. 2002. Orunyambo-Kiswahili-English Lexicon. Languages of Tanzania (LOT) Project, University of Dar es salaam.

Rweyemamu, S. 1990. Emigenzo Y’abahaya Ab’eirai. Business Printers Limited: Bukoba, Tanzania.

Rweyemamu, S. 1990. Amagezi Tugaiya Hangi. Business Printers Limited: Bukoba Tanzania.

Shivji, I. 1992. The Politics of Liberalization in Tanzania: The Crisis of Ideological Hegemony. West view Press: USA.

Swantz, M. L. 1970. Ritual and Symbol in Transitional Zaramo Society. Scandinavian Institute of African Studies: Uppsala.

Swantz, M, L. and T. Aili. 1996. Development for Big Fish or Small Fish?: A Study of Contrasts in Tanzania’s Fishing Sector. Clarendon Press: Oxford.

Tungaraza, F. 1990. “The Development of Social Policy in Tanzania”, Journal of Social Development in Africa 5, 2: 61-71

URT (United Republic of Tanzania). 1969. Tanzania Second Five –Year Plan for Economic and Social Development, 1st July, 1969-30th June, 1974, Volume I: General Analysis. Government Printer: Dar es salaam, Tanzania.

URT. 2002. Population and Housing Census General Report: United Republic of Tanzania. Government Printer: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

URT. 2003. National Ageing Policy in Tanzania. Government Printer: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

URT. 2003. National Social Security Policy. Government Printer: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

URT. 2006. The National Livestock policy. Government Printer: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

URT. 1998. The National Wildlife Policy. Government Printer: Dar es salaam, Tanzania.

URT. 1997. The National Environmental Policy. Government Printer: Dar es salaam, Tanzania.

UNDP. 2008. Global Report of Human Development Index. New York.

UNFPA. 2010. The State of the World Population. New York

Vento, U. 1992. “The Role of the Kalevala in Finnish Culture and Politics”, Nordic Journal of African Studies 1, 2: 82-93.

Weiss, B. 1996. The Making and Unmaking of the Haya Lived World: Consumption, Commoditization, and Everyday Practice. Duke University Press.

Wilensky, H. 1975. The Welfare State and Equality. University of California.

Wiredu, K. 1992. "The Moral Foundations of an African Culture" in Kwasi Wiredu and Kwame Gyekye, eds., Person and Community: Ghanaian Philosophical Studies. The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy: Washington D. C.

World Bank. 2004. Indigenous Knowledge: Local Pathways to Global Development. New York.

Wodak, R. and M. Michael. 2001. Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. Sage Publications Ltd: London.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

 [ISSN 0856-0056 (Print) & ISSN 1821-889X (Online)]