Tanzania has 122 different tribes and languages. The word ‘tribe’ doesn’t have a pejorative tone to it, in the way that it is sometimes used in ‘Northern’ countries. On the map, the shortened name is given, but in Kiswahili, the Nyakyusa people are called Wanyakyusa and their language Kinyakyusa. It was the genius of Nyerere, who came from the tiny Zanaki tribe, to unite the many peoples and to choose as a national language one that belonged to no particular tribe. Nowadays almost all Tanzanians except some in remote or very conservative areas speak Swahili.
One way for Britons to understand Tanzanian’s feeling for their tribe is to think of the Welsh, who are proud of their language and traditions and music, but are not in any way ‘un-modern’.
Some of the small tribes like the Hadza and Iraqw and the bigger Maasai have quite different languages from most other Tanzanians and historians know that they have migrated long distances before settling in Tanzania. Some of these tribes are rigorous in preserving their way of life and traditional initiation ceremonies.