Datoga Tribe

We visited a Datoga family near Lake Eyasi. Their origins are from Sudan or the western Ethiopian highlands. Around 3000 years ago, the tribe followed the Nile south, and is now in Kenya and Tanzania. The Datoga were formerly nomadic, but they now have turned to farming and agriculture. They keep goats, sheep, donkeys, and chickens. Some have a plot of maize, and sometimes of beans and millet. The men drink honey beer as a sacred drink on ritual occasions, and our guide also told us that they sniff tobacco.

The Datoga people dress in colors of brown and beige, but are accessorized with beadwork and brass bracelets and necklaces. The family we visited were blacksmiths, and they showed us how they purchase or exchange old metals, put them in the fire in order to melt and mold the metal. They use a hammer to flatten the metal and carve designs into it, making bracelets that they sell to tourists afterwards.

In their traditions, young men need to prove themselves by killing an enemy, which can be any human that is not a Datoga, or any dangerous wild animal such as an elephant, lion or buffalo.

The Datoga believe in polygamy, and they rank their wives in order of marriage. For example, our guide told us he has 3 wives and 16 children!

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