Musoma

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Musoma
Musoma Aerial View.jpg
Musoma is located in Tanzania
Musoma
Musoma
Location in Tanzania
Coordinates: 01°30′00″S 33°48′00″E / 1.50000°S 33.80000°E / -1.50000; 33.80000
Country  Tanzania
Region Mara Region
District Musoma Urban District
Elevation 3,900 ft (1,200 m)
Population (2012 Census)
 • Total 134,327
Time zone East Africa Time (UTC+3)
Mkendo Road, the main street through Musoma

Musoma is a city in Tanzania. It is the capital of Mara Region, one of the administrative Regions of Tanzania.

Location[edit]

The city sits on the eastern edge of Lake Victoria, close to the International borders of Tanzania with Kenya and Uganda. Musoma is located approximately 60 kilometres (37 mi), directly south of the geographical point where the borders of the three East African countries intersect. The town is located approximately 225 kilometres (140 mi), by road, northeast of Mwanza, the nearest large city.[1] Musoma lies approximately 480 kilometres (300 mi), by road, northwest of Arusha, the location of the headquarters of the East African Community.[2] The coordinates of Musoma are:1° 30' 0.00"S, 33° 48' 0.00"E (Latitude:-1.5000; Longitude:33.8000).

History and Etymology[edit]

Small shops around the bus station

The name Musoma comes from the word Omusoma which means, a spit. This is because Musoma's many spits pointing into the surrounding Lake Victoria.

Maryknollers arrived in Musoma in 1946 to work side by side with the White Fathers, in what was then Mwanza Diocese. When Musoma was made a Diocese in 1957, Maryknoller John Rudin (now deceased) was the first bishop. While primary evangelization has been the first priority of Maryknoll in Musoma, Maryknoll priests, brothers, sisters and lay missionaries have also built and worked in churches, dispensaries and schools from Bunda District and the Serengeti to the Kenya border. Now there are six Maryknoll priests and brothers in Musoma, just a fifth of what there used to be in the 1970s.

Amongst the current resident ethnic groups of Mara, the site that later developed into the town of Musoma was first settled by the Kurya subtribe of Abhakabhwa, commonly called Wakabwa. They also gave the name to the location. Hence, Musoma originates from the Kabwa word 'Omusoma', which actually means a piece of land that protrudes into the Lake, essentially, a peninsula. All the kingdoms in Mara, which are actually sub-kingdoms of people with a common ancestry use the word 'Omusoma' (for the Wakabwa, as well as the Wajita and the closely related sub tribes of Wakwaya, Waruri, Wakara, and Wakerewe) and 'Omosoma' (for the many Kurianic subtribes such as Abhakerobha - commonly called Wakiroba; Wasimbiti, Wakenye, nk.). The full name is actually "Omosoma (or 'Omusoma') ghwa Nyabhamba".

Musoma was hotly contested and witnessed many intra-ethnic wars, particularly between the Wakabwa and their kins, the Wakiroba - who were second to arrive in the location after the Wakabwa. The Wakabwa brought in their allies, the non-Bantu Luo and were on the tip of winning the war. The Wakiroba turned to their allies, the Wakwaya but were still heading for defeat. Seeing the situation worsen, the Wakwaya and Wakiroba sought support from the Germans, who at that time had arrived in Mwanza but not yet conquered present day Mara. It was under severe attacks by the German Canons that the Wakabwa and their allies the Luo could be defeated and chased away from the area. A legacy of this war are several mass graves just outside Musoma, particularly in Nyabhange (now commonly called Nyabangi) in Kiroba Land. From that time on, the Wakiroba and Wakwaya became resident neighbors of Musoma, dominating its population for a very long time. Now Musoma is significantly cosmopolitan.

The first headquarters of the occupying Germans was established in Nyabangi, but - just like in the case of Bagamoyo on the Indian Ocean Coast, which was the first Capital of 'German East Africa' - it was abandoned due to shallow waters that made an unsuitable location for a harbour. Musoma became the new capital. Today, the old German 'Boma' is testimony to this history of Musoma.

Geography[edit]

The shore of Lake Victoria in Musoma

The town is situated in a heavily indented bay. The Mara River, after which the administrative region of Mara Region is named, flows into Lake Victoria, in nearby Kirumi in Kiroba/Simbiti Land.

Origin of the name Musoma[edit]

Amongst the current resident ethnic groups of Mara, the site that later developed into the town of Musoma was first settled by the Kurya subtribe of Abhakabhwa, commonly called Wakabwa. They also gave the name to the location. Hence, Musoma originates from the Kabwa word 'Omusoma', which actually means a piece of land that protrudes into the Lake, essentially, a peninsula. All the major tribes in Mara, which are actually subtribes of people with a common ancestry use the word 'Omusoma' (for the Wakabwa, as well as the Wajita and the closely related sub tribes of Wakwaya, Waruri, Wakara, and Wakerewe) and 'Omosoma' (for the many Kurianic subtribes such as Abhakerobha - commonly called Wakiroba; Wasimbiti, Wakenye, nk.). The full name is actually "Omosoma (or 'Omusoma') ghwa Nyabhamba".

Musoma was hotly contested and witnessed many intra-tribal wars, particularly between the Wakabwa and their kins, the Wakiroba - who were second to arrive in the location after the Wakabwa. The Wakabwa brought in their allies, the non-Bantu Luo and were on the tip of winning the war. The Wakiroba turned to their allies, the Wakwaya but were still heading for defeat. Seeing the situation worsen, the Wakwaya and Wakiroba sought support from the Germans, who at that time had arrived in Mwanza but not yet conquered present day Mara. It was under severe attacks by the German Canons that the Wakabwa and their allies the Luo could be defeated and chased away from the area. A legacy of this war are several mass graves just outside Musoma, particularly in Nyabhange (now commonly called Nyabangi) in Kiroba Land. From that time on, the Wakiroba and Wakwaya became resident neighbors of Musoma, dominating its population for a very long time. Now Musoma is significantly cosmopolitan.

Also, the bond created with the Germans partly explains why the area became their provincial headquarters. The first headquarters of the Germans was established in Nyabangi, but - just like in the case of Bagamoyo on the Indian Ocean Coast, which was the first Capital of 'German East Africa' - it was abandoned due to shallow waters that made an unsuitable location for a harbour. Musoma became the new capital. Today, the old German 'Boma' is testimony to this history of Musoma.

Notable persons from Musoma and Mara[edit]

Musoma has produced many famous Tanzanians. Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the father of the nation and de facto leader of its people from 1954 when he became Chairman of Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), attended Mwisenge Primary School in Musoma. So did Justice Joseph Sinde Warioba, the country's former Prime Minister and Vice President. In fact the student list of Mwisenge reads like a 'who is who' in Tanzania's first Republic: Joseph Warioba Butiku, Col. Selemani Kitundu, Moses Mang'ombe, and others.

Other senior politicians from Mara include Stephen Wassira, Makongoro Nyerere, Nimrud Mkono, and Gaudencia Kabaka.

Mara has also produced many top rank military leaders of the country, including three Chiefs of Defence Forces: Generals David Musuguri, Ernest Kyaro, and George Waitara. Other popular generals from Mara include Late Lt.General Mwita Marwa, Lt. Gen Christopher Gimonge, and Bri. Gen Sylvester Ryoba. and list of retired ambassadors James Ndobho, Nimrud Rugoye, Charles Nyirabu and Professor Ambassador Joram Mukama Biswaro

Academic, writer and politician (former Minister) Abel Mwanga also hailed Swahili novel writer famous as Willy Gamba late Musiba from Musoma.

Mara has also produced several top notch academics. The list of senior academics from Mara include: - Economist professor Samuel Mwita Wangwe, Former Central Bank Governor Late Nyirabu, Professor Lloyd Binagi, Professor Kohi, professor Bwatondi, and the late professor Paul Masyenene Biswalo, DR. Sarungi, and Chief Justice Werema.

From a younger generation, Sospeter Muhongo, Tanzania's first indigenous professor of Geology was born in Musoma. Mr. Muhongo has also practiced as a politician and minister. Francis Shasha Matambalya, Tanzania's first indigenous professor of international trade was also born in Musoma. He is a scholar of international repute in his area of specialization. Professor Ibrahim Juma, a judge with Tanzania's High Court also hails from Musoma.

Mara has also produced several top-notch athletes: Footballer Mohammed Bakari Tall (Simba and National Team), footballer Mbwana Samata (Simba, TP Mazembe, and National Team), footballer Amir Kiemba (Simba and National Team)Ally Mchumira (YAnga nad National Team), the Isangura Brothers (boxing, Olympians), Bhoke Matambalya (Jeshi Stars and national teams, basketball and netball), the late Feada Faru (Jeshi Stars and national teams, basketball and netball)and Late Sulusi (National athletics), Late Samuel Mahesa(JKT & Jeshi Stars Basketball and National Team)

Source: Masimulizi ya Historia ya Watu wa Mara. Mara Elders Meetings.

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Musoma
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 28
(82)
28
(83)
28
(83)
28
(82)
28
(82)
27
(81)
28
(82)
28
(82)
28
(83)
29
(84)
28
(83)
28
(82)
28
(82.4)
Average low °C (°F) 19
(66)
19
(66)
20
(68)
19
(66)
18
(65)
18
(64)
17
(63)
18
(64)
20
(68)
19
(66)
19
(66)
19
(66)
18.8
(65.7)
Precipitation mm (inches) 56
(2.2)
58
(2.3)
114
(4.5)
173
(6.8)
107
(4.2)
30
(1)
20
(0.8)
20
(0.8)
30
(1)
36
(1.4)
69
(2.7)
66
(2.6)
779
(30.3)
Source: Weatherbase[3]

Population[edit]

The 2002 national census put the population of Musoma at 104,851.[4] The 2012 Census showed a population of 134,327.

People[edit]

Tanzania's founding leader, President Julius Kambarage Nyerere and Tanzania's former Prime Minister, Joseph Sinde Warioba, both attended Mwisenge Middle School in Musoma. Politician and ambassador Paul Bomani was born in Musoma in 1925.,.[5]

Musoma is home to the Wakiroba subtribe of the Kuria, and to the Kwaya subtribe that is closely related with Wajita, Waruri, Wasimbiti and Wakara. It is also home to the Wajita, Waruri,Wakara, all Kuria sub tribes (including the Wazanaki and Waikizu), and the Luo, amongst others. Over time, several ethnic groups from other parts of Tanzania and East Africa have chosen Musoma as their home. Altogether more than 12 ethnic groups live in Musoma.

Economic activity[edit]

Many people in Musoma are engaged in fishing Nile perchand tilapia from the lake, or own and run small businesses, or are simply employed in the public sector or private sector (both formal and informal). Those living in Musoma Rural District are also Pastoralists, and many grow cotton as a cash crop. There are plans underway to construct a railway line from the port of Tanga on the Indian Ocean, through Arusha, around Serengeti National Park to Musoma. From Musoma, goods will be transferred to barges and transported over Lake Victoria, to Port Bell in Kampala. The project is a joint venture between the governments of Tanzania and Uganda and is expected to cost about US$1.9 billion.[6] The city is also served by Musoma Airport.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 01°30′00″S 33°48′00″E / 1.50000°S 33.80000°E / -1.50000; 33.80000