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close this bookTraditional Sex Education in Tanzania (WAZAZI, 1991, 82 p.)
close this folderChapter two THE ETHNIC COMMUNITIES
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe Chagga
View the documentThe Fipa
View the documentThe Gogo
View the documentThe Makonde
View the documentThe Makonde Malaba
View the documentThe Masai
View the documentThe Nyakyusa
View the documentThe Nyaturu
View the documentThe Sukuma
View the documentThe Zanzibaris
View the documentThe Zaramo

The Nyaturu

The focus group was held in the village of Sinyu, in the Mungaa division of the Singida region. Three principal ethnic groups, the Nyaturu, the Nyiramba, and the Nyamwezi, live in the area, but the focus group was made up of Nyaturu only.

Ten men and ten women, aged 50 to 100, took part. They met for two-hour sessions three times a week.

Social organization. The patrilineal Nyaturu clustered their houses around the boma, a pen for the cattle belonging to the mnyampaa or head of the homestead, who was the oldest man in the father’s family line.

Nyaturu houses were flat-roofed, rectangular structures of poles plastered over with mud. In this polygamous society, a man’s first wife customarily had the easternmost house in his complex; his second wife’s house was to the south.

The society was stratified by sex and age, with labor divided accordingly. Men built houses, prepared mud for plastering, herded domestic animals and hunted wild ones, conducted public affairs, officiated at funerals, and fought to defend the community. Women plastered the houses men built, looked after the homestead, cared for the children, milked the cows, fetched water, and initiated their daughters into the mysteries of womanhood. Farming was a “common” task; men and women shared it. The professional class included iron forgers, warriors, sculptors, and makers of baskets and mats. There were medicine men and women, as well as men and women who specialized in conducting rituals.


SEX PROFILE: THE NYAKYUSA


Objectives

· sexual satisfaction


· perpetuation of the clan


· expansion of kinship/affinity network



Before puberty

· touching mother’s breasts

monitored by family

· sucking mother’s nipples

(father, mother, siblings,

· forming same-sex peer groups

grandparents, uncles, aunts)

· playing father/mother games


· dancing

At puberty

· interest in maturing body

monitored by family, age-

· interest in opposite sex

set villages, those in charge

· forming same-sex peer groups

of sexual preparation

· sex-related stories and dances


· sexual fantasies


· private masturbation


· enlargement of clitoris

At marriage

· looking for partner

monitored by family, elders,

· payment of dowry, wedding

and those in charge of

· sexual intercourse

sexual preparation

· pregnancy and childbirth


· polygamy

Unacceptable sexual activities


Before puberty

· preoccupation with own genitals

monitored by family and

· association with opposite sex

close relatives

· abusive language


· interest in watching animals mate

At puberty

· association with opposite sex

monitored by family, age-

· sexual intercourse

set villages those in charge

· interest in watching animals mate

of sexual preparation

· sodomy and lesbianism


· courtship


· public masturbation

At marriage

· extramarital sex

monitored by family, clan,

· sodomy and lesbianism

elders, and council

· abortion


· polyandry


· bestiality


· child abuse

Sanctions


Rewards

· social approval


· promotion to next age set


· praise in songs and dances


· material rewards

Punishments

· social disapproval, reprimands


· strokes, fines


· ostracism and death


· divorce

The ideal marriage


Husband

· virile, sexually exciting, uncircumcized


· fertile, fatherly, able to provide family with basic needs: cattle, farm, house, security


· affectionate to family, loyal to clan and


community leaders, courageous in war

Wife

· sexually attractive and expert, beautiful, smart,


enlarged clitoris


· able to bear healthy children and care for family, motherly, good cook


· affectionate to husband, children, good to her husband’s clan and her own

Family size

· large

Sex status

· males superior to females

Evaluation

· young people become successful fathers/mothers

Effectiveness

· positive

Mode of education

· informal/nonformal

Attitude toward change

· hostile

Economic organization. The Nyaturu were farmers and herdsmen. Their main crops were millet and maize; their livestock included cattle, sheep, and goats. Each household was expected to produce its own food, shelter, and clothing.

Men owned the herds and flocks, the farms and buildings, and the tools for building and farming. Women owned the utensils they cooked with and their personal ornaments.

Boys learned to do men’s work from their fathers; girls learned women’s roles from their mothers, trailing after them as they cooked or gathered firewood or drew water. They not only picked up the skills they needed and the behavior expected of them in everyday situations, but absorbed the social meanings of the skills and behavior. Learning to hoe was more than a contribution to the economics of food production; it was a way young men or women could fulfil their social obligation to the family.

Political organization. In the Nyaturu community, the oldest man in the entire clan was designated mnyangee or mtemi, meaning chief. But effective power rested with the head of the homestead, the mnyampaa. He symbolized the authority of the clan. He owned the clan’s property on behalf of all the members. He served as ritual leader when prayers were required for the welfare of the members of the homestead.

Sex life. Nyaturu parents thought of sex primarily as the means of reproducing their clan. But they also valued it as a source of pleasure that helped compensate for the responsibilities that went with parenthood.

Parents’ greatest aspiration was to see their sons and daughters grow up to be fathers and mothers themselves, living on their own homesteads. All their educational efforts were directed at making this possible - equipping the children with the full range of skills required, from the vocational and social to the sexual.

They particularly wanted to be sure their sons’ and daughters’ sexual organs were developing normally. Even infants were closely watched when they touched their genitals, to be sure that the penis or clitoris responded properly.

At puberty, both boys and girls went through initiation ceremonies designed to impress on them the importance of the husband/wife, father/mother roles they would be assuming as adults. Boys also learned how to defend their clan, how to manage public affairs, and how to deal with family crises such as sickness or death.

Both sexes were circumcized - in the girls’ case, to reduce desire and make them less sexually aggressive. Since virginity in a girl was highly esteemed, girls were taught to avoid boys - even to throw stones at men who tried to make advances. Perhaps as a result, sex crimes were rare.

Marriages were preceded by a dowry payment from the bridegroom’s family to the family of the bride, to compensate them for her loss. Then, on the wedding night, the girl was led into to the bridegroom’s house. There, she was expected to resist his advances fiercely, requiring him to physically subdue her and force himself on her.

If he discovered that she was not a virgin, he was supposed to fling open the gate to the homestead boma, proclaiming her shame to the whole village. The disgrace of the girl - and in particular, her mother’s disgrace - was to serve as a warning to others.

On the other hand, if the boma gate stayed closed, the virgin bride was celebrated in joyful dances, while her parents were praised and given ritual rewards of calabashes, pots, and hides. (And after the first sexual encounter, the young wife was free not only to welcome her husband sexually, but to entice him, adorning herself with waist beads.) Pregnancy and childbirth were also greeted with rituals and rejoicing. But a barren woman was considered a social failure; and if traditional medicines and rituals were unable to cure her, her husband might send her away.


SEX PROFILE: THE NYATURU

Objectives

· sexual satisfaction


· having children


· expansion of kinship/affinity network

Acceptable sexual activities

Before puberty

· touching own genitals

monitored by family, clan

· fondling/touching mother’s breasts


· sucking mother’s nipples


· forming same-sex peer groups


· sex-related songs, stories, riddles


· playing father/mother games

At puberty

· interest in own sexual development

monitored by family, clan,

· interest in opposite sex

those in charge of initiation

· private masturbation


· joining initiation rites


· interest in male jobs

At marriage

· courtship

monitored by family, clan,

· wedding

and elders

· sexual intercourse


· polygamy

Unacceptable sexual activities

Before puberty

· preoccupation with own genitals

monitored by family, close

· interest in watching animals mate

relatives

· foul language


· sexual intercourse

At puberty

· close association with opposite sex

monitored by family, clan

· public masturbation

those in charge of initiation

· sexual intercourse


· foul language

At marriage

· adultery


· prostitution


· sodomy


· bestiality


· rape


· incest

Sanctions


Rewards

· social approval


· material rewards


· praise in songs

Punishments

· social disapproval


· denial of material goods and privileges


· ostracism


· public disgrace and scorn

The ideal marriage


Husband

· sexually stimulating


· circumcized


· able to father many children


· economically able to maintain household


· affectionate to wife and children, loyal to clan


· cooperative and helpful to in-laws

Wife

· sexually appealing yet reserved


· circumcized


· able to bear healthy children


· hard-working, able to care for children and


household


· affectionate to husband, children, loyal to her


own and her husband’s relatives

Family size

· large

Sex status

· males superior to females

Evaluation

· young people become successful fathers/mothers

Effectiveness

· positive

Mode of education

· informal/nonformal