Matengo People - Socio-political Setup

Socio-political Setup

The "Socio geographic units" of the Matengo originally consisted of a political organization which was "non-hierarchical, comprising a collectivity of sovereign matrilineal groups of equivalent status and diverse origins. Each such patrilineal group (kilau) represented the descendants of a common grandfather, who during his life time had been the unquestioned leader (matukolu or bambo) of the group." Thus, the socio-political set up in the villages consisted of a headman and elders. However, after the Ngonis' invaded their territory, the Matengos' political hierarchy also evolved into an administrative system comprising a paramount chief followed by three chiefs, senior headman and two levels of headman, in the descending order of their importance in the hierarchy. During the colonial administration, this set up was strengthened. However, subsequent to independence of Tanzania in 1961, the patronymic unit (kilau) is retained only for the purpose of naming the family siblings. The present administrative set up in the village consists of a "Village Chairman" with a complement of members to administer the village under the control of the local government authorities and the central government.

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