Ndengereko people


Ndengereko / Ndengeleko

The Ndengereko are an ethnic and linguistic group from southern Pwani Region, Tanzania. Their homeland is north of the Rufiji River in parts of Mkuranga, Kisarawe and Rufiji Districts. The Ndengereko of Tanzania are numbering 290,000 (Peoplegroups.org, 2024).

The Ndengerekos are part of the Ngindo cluster of the Northeastern Bantulanguage group of East Africa.

Ndengereko People


Most Ndengerekos are rice farmers, who raise the cash crop in the fertile, damp floodplains of the Kilombero and Rufiji rivers in Tanzania. They also raise poultry and goats.

Their traditional food is rice and fish, traditional ceremony including songs and ngoma called spoti and kinyamtindili.



After coming of Arabs, Ndengereko tribe all of them they change their believes from traditional believes to Islamic believes. Also nowadays the traditional ceremony and traditional events associated with Islamic law (sharia).

They are primarily Muslim in their religious orientation, but they generally do not observe Ramadan or many other Islamic rituals. The wearing of a white skull cap and the adoption of an Arab name are the only religious requirements they regularly fulfill.



Ndengerekos trace descent through male lines.

Most of the tribe in Africa has rituals and rites to ensure the safety of the pregnant mother and her child. Some regulations and taboos are observed for example the women stops sleeping with her husband for a certain period, not doing some works such as cutting firewood.

Food taboos, in Ndengereko tribe there is no illegal food when a women is pregnant like other tribes such the tribes  there is kind of food which is illegal when a women is pregnant.

In Ndengereko tribe, the issue of birth it relate to consolidate women’s marriage when a wife finds out that she is expecting a child because the birth of a child is a great blessing to the family. Also pregnancy is a sign of fertility since it assures everyone that the women is able to beat children and it is a security for the marriage between wife and husband’s family.

After birth of a child. for a girl the wife should teach her child all women’s  responsibilities such as cooking, catching water  and also for a boy should participate in boy’s responsibilities for example to go to the market.



Initiation rites are usually very elaborate, lasting from a few days to more than two years. They are performed often in seclusion with the aim of introducing the youth into adulthood. In some societies initiates submit to physical hardships, pain and emotional strains, symbolizing their transition from a childhood condition to a stage of adult responsibility. The widely practiced initiation rites are circumcision and clitoridectomy (FGM).

In Ndengereko tribe for a boy, age from two year and above the circumcision can be practiced, in this issue tattooing, removal of some teeth and killing of a fierce animal are not done. There is a songs that containing content related to the husband responsibilities. After a boy to be fit from circumcision condition, there is a tradition ceremony to congratulate him.

When a boy is circumcised is free to participate in all boys and husband or meeting issue, because he got all man’s responsibilities and he knows how to control family and wife.

In girls there are some traditional teachers called “Kungwi”. A girl after girl reach seven age and above is able to get adult education through KUNGWI. In this issue there is traditional ceremony called “unyago” which contain traditional ngoma called “kinyamtindili and spoti”. But recent years a girl to be involved in “unyago” is after finishing school.

They not practice female genital mutilations (FGM).



Marriage is festive communal event involving the entire extended family the bride and groom, their families, clans, ancestors and the unborn.

The Ndengereko traditional marriage is exogamous, with preference given to cross cousins. Although this pattern is still recognized as the original ideal, it is no longer the preferred model. Ndengereko marriage is also polygamous. Traditionally, all wives and children belonged to one man.

Ndengereko tribe consider the bride price such as traditional food like fish and rice in  harvesting season, the relationship between husband’s family and wife’s family and behaviors of the girl.

Here, there is traditional ceremony and events that including in marriage activities. After marriage wife is belong to husband’s family not belong to her family unless is divorce. This means Ndengereko tribe use  patriarch system.



Death is seen as a transformation from this world to the spirit world. It is a separation of the spirit and body. It is considered to provide the passage from this to the world of spirits and the company of departed ancestors. In most African societies, death is believed to be caused. Some myth show that death resulted by accident, from a women, from animals or from the ancestral spirit.

In Ndengereko tribe death mostly is caused by accident to young and child death or to elders and old man is because there time is very short to live also they waiting to die.

If a husband die a wife should not go out within forty days, and after that days there is a traditional ceremony that including eating and drinking traditional food.



Like other Tanzanians, the Ndengerekos have been dealing with the government's ujamaa program since the mid-1970s. The policy is designed to alter the traditional homestead settlement pattern in favor of establishing village clusters where public education and public health campaigns can be more successful.