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Luguru, also known as “Waluguru” Droe, Anj


The Luguru (preferred name “Waluguru”) reside in the Uluguru Mountains in what is now the United Republic of Tanzania. This entry focuses on the Luguru around the time of 1925, during which time control of the region was transitioning from the recently dissolved German Empire to the United Kingdom. One of the main sources of information for this entry (Scheerder and Tastevin, 1950) is written in French, and while English translations are provided for some specific quotes, the work in its entirety remains untranslated. French to English translations were obtained through Google Translate and reviewed by a native French speaker. At the time focus of this entry, the Luguru were organized into 50 exogamous and matrilineal clans that lived in densely populated villages. These matrilineages played an important part in the traditional Luguru religion: lineage leaders could also perform the tasks of religious leaders, and lineage ancestors were considered sacred and propitiated. In addition to lineage leaders, the Luguru recognized other religious leaders including rainmakers and diviners, who were in charge of ceremonies and the propitiation of supernatural beings. The Luguru believed in both a supreme high god (mulungu) and ancestral spirits although most religious practices were devoted to the latter. For example, during naming ceremonies, one could take the name of a lineage ancestor, thereby inviting the spirit into their body. The more names one had, the more prestige they held, and could take on special tasks such as communicating with ancestral spirits. For the Luguru, religious beliefs were inseparable from almost all aspects of social and political life. Therefore, this entry considers the religious group to be coterminous with the society at large.

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