Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems

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Akula Udongo (Earth Eating Habits): A Social and Cultural Practice among Chagga Women on the Slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro

Jane Wamuhu Knudsen


Women in most parts of Africa possess indigenous medical knowledge that informs practices that have served as preventive for adverse health during pregnancy and lactation. These practices are holistic and can be understood from analysing cosmology and cultural symbolism in the specific context. How these indigenous medical women's knowledge is handled in the respective communities is a result of complex cultural processes.

This paper illuminates the practice of geophagy (earth eating habit) among Chagga women. This paper is a part of an MPhil thesis in Gender and Development. I documented dietary practices and perceptions among pregnant women in rural Tanzania. My focus was on foods and non-foods consumed during pregnancy and lactation for both mother and child. I used in depth interviews, focus groups and participant observation during the data collection.

(Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems: 2002 1: 19-26)

AJOL African Journals Online