International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Indigenous Beliefs, Rituals and Environmental Consciousness in the Heru Kingdom of Buha, Western Tanzania, 1800s-1980
Salvatory Stephen Nyanto

This paper discusses the place of indigenous beliefs, rituals, and environmental consciousness in the Heru kingdom of Buha in Western Tanzania. I argue that indigenous beliefs and ritual practices played an important role in conserving the land, rivers, and groves in the kingdom. To make effective the human-nature relationship, taboos were set up for social control. This explains why human activities such as hunting, honey collection, and cultivation were prohibited in groves and rivers because they were believed to house nature and ancestral spirits. However, the introduction of Christianity, the British indirect rule system, and the villagization program led to a relative decline in beliefs and ritual practices, and generally affected the human-nature relationship.I rely on primary and secondary sources to first, show the link between beliefs, rituals, and environmental consciousness in pre-colonial and colonial Heru. Secondly, I survey the impact of Christianity, indirect rule, and the villagization program to the changing beliefs and ritual practices in the kingdom.

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