Definition of Sukuma in English:


nounSukuma, Sukumas

  • 1A member of a people inhabiting west central Tanzania.

    • ‘National politicians and administrators commonly comment on the marked cultural differences between the Sukuma in Rukwa and the northern regions, reflecting our own observations of persistent traditionalism in Rukwa.’
    • ‘Few rules exist in Pimbwe society to motivate cooperation beyond the scope of the family or clan; thus, the Pimbwe were unable to mobilize Sungusungu participation as effectively as the Sukuma.’
    • ‘Consequently, they have been less effective than the grass-roots Sungusungu operated by the Sukuma.’
    • ‘The largest ethnic groups include the Sukuma (over three million), and the Chagga, Haya, and Nyamwezi (over one million each).’
    • ‘Throughout Tanzania, the Sukuma are admired for the spectacular appeal of their dance performances.’
    • ‘Sukuma in Kibaoni have larger herds of cattle than the Sukuma of Mirumba.’
    • ‘With pre-existing institutions similar to Sungusungu, the Sukuma quickly created and spread the justice organizations to even distant migrant populations.’
    • ‘Many Sukuma suggest that this is a ‘respectful’ way for women to dance, because it does not include suggestive motion of the hips or legs.’
    • ‘The Sukuma of Rukwa adopted Sungusungu in 1982, shortly after it emerged in northern Tanzania.’
    • ‘In the study area, most of the organizational secretaries are from local non-Sukuma ethnic groups because few Sukuma are formally educated and able to write in Swahili.’
    • ‘First, Sukuma in Rukwa are more likely to wear gaudy combinations of Western clothes, traditional bracelets, and distinct black capes that symbolize and display their ethnicity and spiritual beliefs.’
    • ‘Model 1 compares Pimbwe to ethnic groups other than Sukuma.’
    • ‘He first conducted demographic research among Pimbwe and Sukuma and later asked permission to study the Sungusungu.’
    • ‘Sukuma dance figures were considered so shocking by early twentieth century catholic missionaries that many deemed all Sukuma dance ‘immoral.’’
    • ‘The parable of the Two Brothers, a popular story among the Sukuma of Tanzania, has interesting parallels with the Lucan Prodigal Son.’
  • 2mass noun The Bantu language of the Sukuma, related to Nyamwezi and having around 4 million speakers.

    • ‘ offers professional language services in Sukuma and over 100 languages including enterprise scale translation and website globalization.’
    • ‘The majority of the residents of Kwimba are Wasukuma from the Sukuma tribe and speak Sukuma along with Swahili.’
    • ‘Gwe is a dialect of Sukuma (3200000 speakers) spoken in northwest Tanzania.’


  • Relating to the Sukuma or their language.

    • ‘Many Nyamwezi also speak English and the languages of neighboring ethnic groups, such as Kisukuma, the language of the Sukuma people.’
    • ‘Goldschmidt also tells, however, of a similar cultural effect: the extinction of traditional Sukuma baskets.’
    • ‘Most frequently Sukuma figures are used to satirize character types (either in the opponent dance group or in the village), create narratives with invented characters, or simulate sexual relations.’
    • ‘As a cultural medium based on the notion of spectacle, Sukuma performances presuppose interaction between performer and audience, observer and observed.’
    • ‘Within a year, the Sungusungu had spread to migrant Sukuma populations living in distant regions such as Rukwa where this research was conducted.’


Alocal name.



/sʊˈkuːmə/ /sʊˈkjuːmə/