Traditional beliefs and infanticide in Ugweno, Tanzania from 1850s to 1930s

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University of Dar es Salaam
The study examined the connection between traditional beliefs and infanticide in Ugweno in Northern Tanzania from the 1850s to 1930s. The general objective of this study was to explore the underlying historical factors for infanticide practices among the Gweno people in Ugweno from the 1850s to 1930s. The study was guided by three objectives, namely: firstly, to establish the historical factors for infanticide practices during the pre-colonial and colonial periods in Ugweno from the 1850s to 1930s; secondly, to explain how and why infanticide came to an end in Ugweno; and thirdly, to examine the responses of the Gweno to the Government and other agencies which campaigned against infanticide. The study was principally qualitative in which data were obtained from oral and written sources including archival materials, collections from Hans Cory and Isaria N. Kimambo, newspapers, oral traditions and testimonies gathered through documentary review and field interviews. The study findings revealed that infanticide was highly practiced during the pre-colonial and early colonial periods. It was mainly due to material conditions that existed during the pre-colonial period and thus traditional beliefs were falsely used to justify the killing. Therefore, it was found that infanticide was caused by historical factors influenced by pre-colonial social, cultural, political and ideological underpinnings that were preoccupations of people’s ways of life. This study concludes that the pre-colonial way of life that was characterized by lack of scientific technology contributed to the existence of infanticide. It is evident that by the 1930s, infanticide was no longer practiced in Ugweno due to missionaries, colonial governments and local authority interventions on the practice.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF HQ774.T34A272)
Infants, Traditional beliefs, Infanticide, Ugweno, Tanzania
Abrahamu, H. (2017) Traditional beliefs and infanticide in Ugweno, Tanzania from 1850s to 1930s. Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam.