Zaramo - Orientation

Identification. "Wazaramo" is the preferred name for the people who live in the coastal area of Tanzania, in the vicinity of the capital city, Dar es Salaam. "Wazaramo" refers to the ethnic group, "Mzaramo" to an individual, and "Kizaramo" to the language.

Location. The Zaramo occupy the area roughly between 6°20′ S and 7°25′ S. The area extends from Kisiju to the northern coast along the Indian Ocean at the mouth of the Ruvu River near Bagamoyo and west from the irregular Indian Ocean coastline inland approximately 150 kilometers. The coastal area, 15 to 50 kilometers inland, and the Ruvu River Valley are low in elevation and flat. A series of rugged hills rising to a plateau begins near the coast and extends southwest to Pugu, Kisarawe, Maneromango, and Kisangire. These 100-kilometer ranges extend to a width of 65 kilometers and reach an elevation of 450 meters at Maneromango. Five major ethnic groups—the Kwere, Kutu, Kami, Ndengereko, and Rufiji—live in close proximity to the Zaramo today. Various small settlements of Doe, Kamba, and Kyamwezi also live within Zaramo country and are considered to be clans within the Zaramo ethnic group.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Zaramo as they are known today are made up of clans that migrated from the Kutu and the Luguru around 1700. The common ancestry with the Luguru is substantiated, in that they have the same common language with only slight dialectal variations. The language of the Zaramo is mutually intelligible with those of the Jutu, the Luguru, the Kwere, and the Kami. Most Zaramo, however, speak Swahili, which is the lingua franca of Tanzania.

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