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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The maintenance of order in rural Tanzania: the case of 'Sungusungu'
Author:Bukurura, Sufian HemedISNI
Periodical:Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law
Geographic term:Tanzania
rural population
customary law
criminal law
popular justice
Abstract:The increase in criminality in Tanzania in the 1970s became a cause for alarm. This paper describes efforts to suppress crime made by the Sukuma and Nyamwezi of West-Central Tanzania since the 1980s. These people organized themselves in traditional ways in what came to be known as 'Sungusungu' groups. These groups are based on traditional Sukuma and Nyamwezi organizations and involve all the villagers in a given village. 'Sungusungu' not only protects life and property; its members also perform other functions which demand collective community action. These organizations and their activities should be understood as part and parcel of how local communities cope with different circumstances in which they find themselves. Attention is paid to the formation of 'Sungusungu', its organization and its activities. The maintenance of order and village security includes the returning of stolen cattle and the settlement of village disputes. Activities beyond the maintenance of order and security include dealing with witchcraft suspicions, returning deserting women and looking for lost children. In conclusion, 'Sungusungu' is examined in the Sukuma and Nyamwezi organizational context. Bibliogr., notes, ref.