Zanzibar Culture

In the current world, travel is becoming cheaper and more popular, and travelers are increasingly looking for something special; places where different cultural identities can intrigue and fascinate.
Zanzibar in addition to beautiful beaches, spice and historical tours can also offer the experience of fascinating culture. Islanders represent a rich diversity because history has gathered influences of ancestors from all over the Indian Ocean and beyond.In this part of the world, African traditions are intertwined with Arabic, Indian and a whole galaxy of others that have flowed here for centuries with representatives of various nationalities.

Culture defines the identity and differences of societies. These features are most visible in their traditions, beliefs, language, social life, art, cuisine and music. We travel to experience new experiences. If you are intrigued by the richness and diversity of other cultures, Zanzibar will not disappoint you.


people of Zanzibar.Zanzibar-Culture

Zanzibar Culture- the unyago rituals

In Swahili culture, especially in Zanzibar, the word unyago refers to both a set of rituals and to music and dance styles that are traditionally associated with such rituals.

Unyago was a pre-colonial form of education in many societies in Tanzania. This form of education was and still is considered a very important tool for initiating young men and women into adulthood. This is a rite of passage that is carried out when boys and girls reach puberty. This is done in isolated environments where they receive knowledge about morality, sexuality, sexual behavior, and reproduction, as well as their responsibilities in society. Like many other practices rooted in pre-colonial times, they tried to stop them in the name of religion and civilization. Over time, this ritual took various forms and is performed in different ways depending on the faith in which the family is raised. However, some of the values ​​, as well as the general intentions behind Unyago, remained unchanged. As a result, there are many places in Tanzania where people grow some form of unyago. In today’s society in Tanzania, families perform “Christian unyago”, “Islamic unyago” or combine traditional unyago with modern, such as a party. In the traditional form, this ritual is practiced by Swahili from the cities of Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.

Unyagu wa ndoa- married unyango.

Preparing the bride for life in marriage. The ritual takes place behind closed doors and is attended only by  women who make the young girl aware of the details of marriage. Participants are to keep the teachings “secret” and not share them with people who are not affected. No man can see this course. These rituals lasted for several days.
The teachings are performed orally, as well as through singing and ritual dance to African drums music
Instructors called kungwi, somo or nyakanga often use special language techniques, symbols, songs and dances to convey their message.

During the unyagu, the future bride learns the secrets of sex education and gets lessons in how to meet the expectations of her future husband’s parents. There are also purely practical tips. How to dress, how to care for hygiene and how to cook. This ritual is practiced by Swahili from the cities of Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.

Unyagu in the past it was part of the broad tradition of the entire archipelago, in which Swahili culture played an important role.Nowadays this ritual is practiced by Swahili from the cities of Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam although In Zanzibar, however, its correct transmission and form were preserved. As a consequence of participating in such life “workshops”, a young girl has a chance to transform into an adult woman who is aware of her rights and obligations.

In modern East Africa unyago dances and music are also performed independently of such rituals as part of local folk music. Bi Kidude and Bi Ngwali are two famous Zanzibari singers who occasionally perform unyago music.


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