Introduction / History The Mbugwe, who are distinguished by their pierced ears and facial markings. The people were devastated by water-borne disease from 1940 until 1960. During that time, the government started programs that consequently reduced the effect of illness.
The home for the Mbugwe lies in the grassy plains of north central Tanzania, at an elevation of approximately 1,200 meters. The terrain is marked with scattered hills and rock formations, and forests separate some of the Mbugwe villages. Since the area is adjacent to a game park, it is not uncommon to see wild game.
The Mbugwe are principally farmers, though they do keep livestock as well. Their chief crops are rice, maize, and millet; sunflowers and cotton may also be found in the fields. The livestock, mostly cattle and goats, are kept close to the homes to guard against raiding. The homes are constructed with vertical sticks lashed together with rope or reeds. Though the houses are low, they may encompass a large area and be divided into smaller rooms.
Weaving is also an important aspect of Mbugwe life. Woven mats cover the floors of Mbugwe homes, and large baskets are used to store rice and maize. These crafts also contribute to the income of the Mbugwe.
There are several churches within the region occupied by the Mbugwe. Nonetheless, few Mbugwe attend church. Most of the people continue to follow their traditional religion. The influence of Islam is minimal at best.