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(Wanyamwezi), the largest people of Tanzania; living between Lakes Victoria and Rukwa. Their population, together with other related peoples (Sukuma, Sumbwa, Konongo, and others), is approximately 2 million (1967, estimate). They speak Kinyamwezi (Nyamwezi), a member of the eastern group of Bantu languages. Most of the Nyamwezi profess the Islamic faith (Sunnite sect); some are Christians. The basis of their economy is hoe farming (corn, rice, beans, sweet potatoes, and other crops). A considerable number of the Nyamwezi go to sisal plantations, mines, and cities in search of wages. In the middle of the 19th century the Nyamwezi, under the leadership of Mirambo, put up armed resistance against the slave traders (Arabs and Swahilis).
REFERENCESIsmagilova, R. N. “Etnicheskii sostav i zaniatiia naseleniia Tangan’ika.” In Afrikanskii etnograficheskii sbornik, vol. 2. Moscow, 1958.
Blohm, W. Die Nyamwezi. Vol. 1: Land und Wirtschaft. Hamburg, 1931.
Malcolm, D. W. Sukumaland: An African People and Their Country. Oxford, 1953.