The Datogas

Datoga Housing

The Datoga primarily live in the arid areas of Singida and Manyara regions of north central Tanzania near Mt. Hanang, Lake Basotu, and Lake Eyasi. Archaeological evidence indicates that their origins are in the Southern Sudan or western Ethiopia highlands, probably 3,000 years ago. They have occupied the area in the Mbulu highlands for at least the past 150 years.

Datoga have a number of alternate names identified in the literature Taturu (Sukuma term), Mangati (Maasai term), Tatog, Datooga, and Barabaig. ‘Barabaig’ is actually the name of one of the Datoga clans.

The Datoga keep goats, sheep, donkeys and a few chickens, but cattle are by far the most important domestic animal.  The meat, fat, blood, milk, hide, horns, tendons and cow dung of every animal have either practical or ritual purposes.   The ideal family situation is polygamous, with wives ranked in order of marriage. Marriage must be outside the clan. Funerals are extensive ceremonies, lasting up to a year. Power centers in a neighborhood council of elders. Men drink honey beer as a sacred drink on ritual occasions.