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  • Datoga
    The Datoga are also called Tatog, Barabaig, and Mangati. Language: Hello: Se-yu Population: 75,000 - 100,000 (Estimated) Location: Manyara Region (Mbulu District) and Arusha Regions (Lake Eyasi, Karatu District) ﷯Appearance: In the past, most Datoga wore reddish patched leather dresses with beads stitched on to them. Today, most Datoga wear clothes made of black cloth although many have started to wear modern Tanzanian clothing. Datoga women wear golden and beaded neck jewelry and gold and bronze bracelets. Many Datoga adorn their faces with tattoos/scarification, especially circular patterns around the eyes and on their cheeks. Traditional foods: Ugali (cornmeal), mkande (mixture of maize and beans), porridge (made from maize and water or milk), cow/goat meat and dairy products. This more traditional diet is complemented by the ingredients that are available in the areas where the Datoga live.
  • History
    The Datoga are Highland (Southern) Nilotic pastoralists who moved toward Tanzania from Southern Sudan or western Ethiopian highlands into the highlands of Kenya and Tanzania in the 16th century. While some of the early Datoga immigrants moved into the southern areas of Lake Eyasi, in the last few decades as they were displaced by agriculturalist Iraqw and commercial wheat farms most Datoga have moved to the Ngorogoro conservation area.
  • Culture
    ﷯Datoga and Maasai cultures resemble each other in many ways. As pastoralists, their cultures center around cattle. However, they also raise other livestock such as goats and chickens. In keeping with their customs, all parts of the animal have practical or ritual purposes and no part of the animal is discarded without forethought. Over the years, the Datoga have shifted from being pure pastoralists to agro-pastoralists, incorporating various agricultural practices into their lives. The most common crops they plant are maize, beans and millet. The areas in which the largest number of Datoga can be found are semi-arid, with potable water increasingly difficult to obtain. Datoga and Maasai cultures function similarly in many ways. Division by gender and age is common practice, as is circumcision for both males and females. Polygamy is also common in Datoga families. Like the Maasai, the Datoga have a reputation as being fierce warriors. Traditionally, young men had to prove themselves by killing an enemy or threatening wild animals. This has lessened in importance over the past fifty years or so. Datoga males are expected to herd the cattle and guard their herds and family. Datoga women are responsible for cooking, cleaning, milking the goats, taking care of the children, gathering firewood, collecting water, etc. Both Datoga men and women are involved in agricultural practices. Datoga youth are expected to help their parents, especially their mothers, with household chores. ﷯Councils of elders play a crucial role in Datoga communities, helping to resolve conflicts in the community. Their advice is often sought by individuals involved in domestic disputes or those seeking counsel. The elders exert much influence in their communities, to the extent that they can even impose fines. ﷯The Datoga have a rich culture of singing. The percussive beat in many Datoga songs comes from the bracelets that the women wear—they create a rhythm by clacking their bracelets together and singing along in tandem. The males provide even more momentum to their songs by using their throats to create a guttural rhythm almost like drums. Like most of the tribes mentioned, song plays an important part in Datoga life. There are quotidian songs to help pass the time and ritual songs to accompany weddings and funerals. Each song has a chorus that repeats from time to time, however, each time a song is sung, unique lyrics are inserted into the song by individual singers.
  • Religion
    ﷯The Datoga have maintained a strong adherence to animist beliefs and practices, particularly surrounding their relationship to their ancestors, who are feared and revered by the Datoga. They have been resistant to cultural change, including conversion to Christianity. Divination, rain-making, and sorcery all play significant roles in the Datoga belief system. Datoga believe in one creator God, whom they call Aseeta. Aseeta is thought of as being distant and impersonal. Spiritual help is often sought through communication with ancestors. Datoga women play a big role in religious life, especially in singing and prayer.
  • Datoga Today
    ﷯﷯The main issues facing the Datoga today are similar to those facing many tribes in Tanzania. While they have experienced some fringe benefits from the tourist industry, it poses a large problem with their children. Children, who receive money from tourists in exchange for their photographs, can become financially independent which rips apart the fabric of the Datoga families. Access to education, potable water and healthcare are also large issues in Datoga communities.
Datoga