This year’s Wagogo music festival will be held on July 17, 2010 from 10:00am to 6:00pm at Chamwino village in Dodoma region. The festival will bring 14 groups from 6 villages: Chamwino, Msanga, Majeleko, Makoja, Nzali and Kawawa. Those who are interested are invited to attend.
The region of the Wagogo people is centered at Dodoma, Tanzania, about 298 miles due west of the Indian Ocean. This region covers an area of 25,612 square miles, with an altitude of 480ms to 12ms above sea level (Cidosa, 1995). Much of the land is situated on an arid plateau dotted with small bushes and the occasional baobab tree. On average, the region receives rain approximately 7.8 to 23.6 inches per year for only three to four months of the year (Mascarenhas 2007: 376).
The Wagogo are a Bantu ethnic group, one of 120 cultural-linguistic groups living within the boundary of the Republic of Tanzania, formerly known as Tanganyika; they comprise 3% (1,735,000 people) of the population of Tanzania. They live largely in rural villages, and are primarily engaged in agriculture and pastoral activities. Many are farmers on small plots of family land, growing maize, millet and sorghum for food, and peanuts and sunflower for trade. Some herd cows, goats and sheep, traveling to and from their family homes every day to wide open fields where there are low grasses for them to feed upon. Cattle are valuable in Wagogo culture. They are useful in trade, finance, and for ‘bride wealth’ (i.e., dowry).
The Wagogo of Chamwino are largely Christian, particularly Anglican (98%), with just 2% identifying as Catholics and Muslims. For business, banking, and various commercial needs, the Wagogo of Chamwino travel about 30 miles west to the city of Dodoma, which since 1978 has functioned as the capitol city of Tanzania. The Wagogo keep their Cigogo language strong within the family, even as they are now speaking Kiswahili, the official national language of Tanzania which is utilized in telecommunications, trade and commerce. Wagogo occasionally venture out of their villages for education and training, and jobs. Life in the village continues as it has historically existed, with only limited modernization vis-à-vis (some) houses with electricity, (some) houses with radio, and the presence of the mobile phone in the hands of mostly a younger generation of Wagogo with college or secondary school education.
This festival started in 2005 by Kedmon Mapana, festival executive director with the following main objectives:
a) To facilitate and ensure that Wagogo local singing, dancing, and instrumental music can be continued and encouraged even in the wake of a nationalist trend towards building a pan-Tanzanian society.
b) To encourage, promote and expose Wagogo artists to local and international communities, to achieve their potentials
c) To promote the idea of establishing Wagogo cultural centre in Chamwino village for teaching and learning Wagogo music traditions and Tanzania at large, consultancy and research activities, recording studio and archive