Art and Life Among the Zaramo of Tanzania

by Diane Pelrine
Indiana University Art Museum

Thatched roofs, Zaramo peoples, Tanzania. Photo by Diane Pelrine.


Fiber is even part of the making of many Zaramo houses. Thatched roofs cover many homes, though today those who can afford metal ones often prefer the latter's permanence, low maintenance, and safety from fire.  Basketry in the form of mats is also used for walls and fences that make enclosures or decorate the sides of doorways.  Particularly along the coast, it is not unusual to see an entire house covered with them.  Like making the disposable baskets, fabricating these mats is a skill learned by most people, at least in rural areas.