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Hadzabe
  • Hadzabe
    Language: Hadzane (Khoisan) (Hello- Mm-tana) The distinctiveness of Hadzane from other neighboring languages in the area strongly suggests that the Hadzabe still maintain a considerable degree of cultural cohesiveness. Population: 500 - 1,500 (Estimated) Location: Manyara Region (Mbulu District) and Arusha Regions (Lake Eyasi and Karatu District). ﷯Appearance: In the past, many Hadzabe wore clothing made from the skins of the animals they hunted. While hides are still worn to some extent, the Hadzabe of today tend to wear a mixture of traditional and western clothing. Many Hadzabe women wear khangas (colorfully designed cloth with Swahili proverbs on them). Hadzabe men tend to wear second-hand items such as jeans or t-shirts. A large number of Hadzabe have ritual scarifications on their cheeks or foreheads. traditional foods: Historically, Hadzabe have always been hunter-gatherers. While this is still largely true, their modern diet is often complemented by rice, maize and other local food offerings, depending on how close they are to markets and towns. Their diet consists of meat from the game they hunt, including antelope, baboons, buffalo, giraffe, lion, and snakes. Berries, fruits and tubers, foraged for by the women, are also a large part of their diet. The Hadzabe are also excellent collectors of wild honey.
  • History
    As indicated by the oldest fossilized human footsteps the Hadzabe were found to be the first modern human beings. Recent DNA research indicates that the Hadzabe split off from the Sandawe of Tanzania and San people of southern Africa between 40,000 to 90,000 years ago. According to their oral history, the Hadzabe have always lived Lake Eyasi/Karatu and are one of the original peoples. During the last thirty years Hadzabe territory has greatly shrunk in size, as nearby villages grow, resulting in a host of problems.
  • Culture
    ﷯The Hadzabe are considered one of the oldest hunter-gatherer cultures. While they tend to stay in the same large area, they shift their camps to wherever they can find animals to hunt and tubers to gather. The men are responsible for providing meat for their families and they may spend much of the morning and late afternoon perched on a small hill with a view, spotting any potential game to hunt. They use bows and arrows fabricated with a poisonous substance they create themselves. If a large animal, such as a giraffe, is killed far from their camp, they will send word to the rest of their family to move their camp to the location of the kill. Hadzabe women spend much of their time rooting for tubers in the ground and preparing time-consuming food such as porridge made from baobab fruit for their families. ﷯Hadzabe homes are often small domes constructed from shrubs and branches of trees surrounding their camps. Depending on the location of their camp, they often choose to camp inside caves or other natural structures. A typical Hadzabe bed is made of skin, but when shifting camps or hunting, they often rest in any safe place they can find, with or without their bedding. They tend to have smaller families of three to five members and often set up camp with several families in the same area. The majority of Hadzabe conduct their lives in some semblance of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle; however, many have assimilated in various ways to the cultures surrounding them, such as safeguarding neighbors’ maize fields in exchange for maize. A growing number of Hadzabe are increasingly dependent on the tourist trade.
  • Religion
    The Hadzabe have acquired very little of their neighbors’ religions. Their own religion is minimalist. They enjoy telling endless stories about how things came to be. They do not believe in an afterlife and there are few religious restrictions.
  • Hadzabe Today
    ﷯During the last thirty years Hadzabe territory has greatly shrunk in size, as nearby villages grow. In addition, in many cases, government policies have often refused the Hadzabe rights to the land on which they have lived for hundreds of years. For a community dependent on hunting and gathering for their existence, life is becoming increasingly difficult. The neighboring Datoga tribe has been encroaching on their land with their cattle, causing many of the animals the Hadzabe hunt to run away. With less land on which to hunt and forage, there are fewer animals and plants than were once available in mass quantities. Moreover, the effects of global warming have a significant impact on the Hadzabe, as they are entirely dependent on a climate that will produce the animals and plants they need in order to survive. Tourism and commercial hunting have also negatively impacted the Hadzabe. ﷯Recently, the Tanzanian government made an agreement allowing a private safari company to shoot a certain number of wild animals on Hadzabe land as long as they gave the meat to the Hadzabe in exchange. This venture created a rupture in the fabric of Hadzabe society: as their hunting activities decreased, some Hadzabe have drifted into alcoholism. In addition, the Tanzanian government has recently been making forceful efforts to encourage the Hadzabe to resettle in more urban areas, leading to the likely loss of their culture, as well as a devastating disruption to the lives of each individual and family.