Introduction / History The people who speak Kara as their first language comprise 115,000 people of whom 15,000 live outside the traditional homeland area in Tanzania. The number who identify as Kara ethnically may be much larger. They are located in the northwest part of Tanzania, mainly on Ukara, a small island north of Ukerewe, which is the largest island in Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world and the source of the fabled Nile River. The island is accessible by ferry about an hour's distance from Ukerewe, and has only eight villages.
Ukara is a somewhat rocky and very hilly island with some variation in terrain.
Most of the Kara people are fishermen or subsistence farmers, with cassava being a major crop. The 500 species of fish that used to populate the lake are mostly gone after the introduction of Nile perch that were supposed to eat the plague of water hyacinth but instead displaced the native fish. Although the Kara people do not travel much, many Kara people go over to Ukerewe frequently to buy and sell in the market there.
What are their beliefs? The dominant religion of the Kara people is reported to be Christianity, although a few still practice Islam or traditional religions. Although the Kara would profit from scripture in their own language, they do understand scripture that is available in the neighboring Jita language quite well. Teaching in school is in Swahili so those of the younger generation also speak Swahili.