Introduction / History
The Sonjo call themselves Temi. The Sonjo are a traditional people who live in the midst of a Maasai region in the northwest corner of Tanzania. Like the Maasai, the Sonjo continue to hold on to traditional beliefs, customs, and lifestyle. They still build their round one-room houses of sticks with thatch roofs. The people continue to wear "shukas," colored cloth worn in a toga style, much like the Maasai.
They maintain a warrior class consisting of young men who have gone through the rites of passage. In the past the Sonjo people have been known for their conflict with the Maasai, though at present there appears to be peace. Some villages, nevertheless, still boast an impressive gate which previously connected a protective wall around the inner village to protect them from the Maasai.
Although Christianity had reached into the villages of the Sonjo, the overall response has been very slow and in some cases hostile. Their traditional religion is strong, and its adherents have focused efforts to frighten young Christians back into traditional beliefs. Nonetheless, their culture does have a door through which Christianity may enter: they believe that their god once lived among them and has promised to return.
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