Dynamics of indigenous organisations: the sengu Gathering of the matengo people of Mbinga district, Tanzania

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This paper explores the dynamics of Sengu, an indigenous organisation among the Matengo people of Mbinga District, Tanzania. It explains how Sengu has been transforming over time and fits itself among the Matengo Society. Based on literature review, formal and informal interviews, oral histories and participant observation, the paper traces the development, organisation, roles and disintegration of the pre-colonial Sengu. Furthermore, it explains how and why the present Sengu has been revived and transformed to suit the current developmental challenges of the Matengo people in Kindimba, and in other Matengo villages. The findings reveal that the potential of indigenousness, prevailing spirit of collaboration, sharing, environmental conservation, declining revenue from coffee as well as good leadership of the Sengu committee are among the reasons for its successful revival and operation. The revived Sengu has been transformed in terms of members’ composition, area of coverage, organization and functions. The paper suggests that developmental activities in any society have a higher chance of success if focal features, local knowledge and beliefs of the people are recognized and appreciated. Furthermore, leaders with vision and commitment are of paramount importance for the existence and successful operation of indigenous organizations.


Journal Article


Mbinga, Sengu, Matengo, Indigenous Organisation, SCSRD