Zinza people



The Zinza are a Bantu ethnolinguistic group from the southwestern Islands on Lake Victoria Tanzania. the Zinza people are also lived the shores of Geita Region and Mwanza Region. In 1987 the Zinza population was estimated to number 138,000



The Zinza people are found in Geita District, northwestern Tanzania, west of Lake Victoria and on islands in the lake.

Zinza people map


The Zinza are related distantly to other Bantu peoples in the area.  They appear to be most closely related to peoples on the northern side of the lake in Uganda.  After the government eradicated the tsetse fly in the 1940s, other peoples began to migrate into the lakeside area of the Zinza.  Thus the Zinza now share their area with the Sukuma, Haya, Kerewe and Jita.


Identity and Language

The Zinza language is a Bantu language as are its neighbors.  Following the Bantu pattern, the Zinza call their language Kizinza, meaning "language of the Zinza."  The primary language is Zinza with Swahili being the trade language.

Zinza is closely related to Nyankore and Nyoro of Uganda.  A linguistic survey in 1989 revealed clear indication that the Zinza could benefit significantly from Scripture translation and literacy programmes in the Zinza language.  The literacy rate of the Zinza was reporeted in the 1990s to be 70%. The Ethnologue, however, indicates "Literacy rate in first language 5%."



The Zinza have a mixed subsistence economy.  Most of the Zinza are farmers and fishermen, producing cotton and bananas along with the fish they catch.  Some are builders and goldminers.  Their basic diet is rice, fish, millet porridge, and bananas.  They also raise cassava, corn, sweet potatoes and a variety of fruits.

There are about 30,000 Zinza living in urban areas.  Health education is a great need as well as literacy work.