Goma / Wagoma / Kigoma / Bakyobha

The Goma (Swahili: Wagoma, Kigoma: Bahoma, Ebembe: Bakyobha), who also refer to themselves as Al ghamawiyyun in Arabic, are a tribe in the Kigoma Region in western Tanzania.

They are a contingent of the Bantu tribe who are more commonly found in Tanzania and present-day Democratic Republic of Congo who migrated from the western shore of the Lake Tanganyika in Democratic Republic of Congo with origins from Sudan. They are the first group of the Bantu tribe to ever cross the Lake Tanganyika and also the first group to reside in the Urban District of Kigoma as its inhabitants.

Following the Wagoma were Niakaramba (Kwalumona) from Cape Karamba and then Wabwari from Ubwari peninsula. The Kwalumona merged within Wabwari, identified themselves as Bwaris and settled north of Wagoma in Kigoma before resettling in Ujiji and its environs, where they formed a tribal Confederacy in Ujiji known as Wamanyema. The Wagoma crossed the lake early due to their invention of dug-out canoes mitumbwi ya mti mmoja curved from Mivule trees of Ugoma mountains from western shore of the Lake.



In Goma history the villages and hamlets were many before the emigration and wars and the traditional states comprised several number of them before the immigration of bembe people with significant numbers of chiefdoms or sultanates sometimes under the suzerainty of Uguhha Kingdom the southernmost goma state under the Bakwamamba Dynasty in modern Kalemie in Tanganyika district of Katanga Region in Democratic Republic of Congo.


Political Organization

Politically Bahoma arrived in north-western shores of Lake Tanganyika in D.R.C with their centralized political institutions that had based on the recognition of autonomous rulers of their village groups with both temporal and spiritual powers vested on single individuals who had the power of life and death over their subjects. The traditional title of Bahoma Sultans and other related tribes is Kolo.

In Tanzania prior and during colonialism the Gomas were politically included with other Manyemas mainly by indirect rule under the local authority of the Arab-Swahili Liwalis of Ujiji with local representatives to the town council with their old dynasties being disregarded and remained active ritually within their respective clans. Until recently in 2017 that the old Bene Mbonwe dynasty was restored at Ujiji by its senior members of the royal clan in Agnatic succession as the Mwene Mbonwean Sultanate of Ujiji and became the first Goma and Manyema traditional authority to have Ujiji as its royal seat.



They produce masks and shield-like carvings which are remarkable for their abstract design, with great emphasis on the eyes, protrusion for the mouth. There are also four-legged statues with a very large head, the facial expression in the same style as in the masks -- two large concave surfaces with two round bulging eyes -- and no body between legs and head. The same general structure is manifest in a headpiece, the legs replaced with a hollowed-out hemispherical cap below the two-faced head, often topped by feathers. Instead of recognizable features, the concave surface of the face is carved with an abstract cross design. Most objects of Goma art strongly resemble neighboring Buyu and Bemba art.