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Gustavus Adolphus College

Publication Date

Fall 2009

Program Name

Tanzania-Zanzibar: Coastal Ecology and Natural Resource Management


The spiritual beliefs and mizimu, or sacred sites, of villagers were studied in Mangapwani, Makunduchi, and Muungoni on Unguja Island. Through semi-formal interviews, a better understanding of the prevalence and tenets of spiritual beliefs and mizimu use in present Swahili culture was gained. It was found that belief in the existence of spirits is very widespread still today, although these beliefs include many variances. Mizimu are generally being kept in tact for traditional purposes, but the spiritual belief behind them is fading. It was recommended that further study of this topic is done, particularly on mizimu, as it is an important part of the Swahili culture that is disappearing over time.


Anthropology | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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