Since I’ve been able to catch up on my reading, as well as research, I figured this would be the perfect time to take another viral trip around the globe. The continent tends to be my go-to, mainly because of its diversity. And I ended up in Tanzania where the last remaining hunter-gatherers reside.
The Hadza, also known as Hadzabe, are nomadic hunter-gatherers who live in the Lake Eyasi region of northern Tanzania. They are a distinct population of about 1,000-1,500 people with a unique culture that relies extensively on hunting and gathering for food. The Hadza live in a woodland habitat surrounded by Acacia, Commiphora, and Adansonia (Baobab) trees. These woodlands are known to be hilly and rocky, and they usually live in camps with 20-40 residents.
The Hadza are a peaceful people with an egalitarian culture. Being mobile is also a big part of their culture, both as a way to regulate social interactions and find food. Many Hadza believes that hunting for wild foods is a fulfilling avenue to a better diet than farming or raising cattle. The men traditionally hunt for animals and collect honey, while the women gather berries, baobab fruit, and dig edible tubers.
Their signature bow and arrows used for hunting are made from the tendons of giraffes for strings and iron for arrowheads. The men smear poison on their arrowheads, which are made from boiled sap. And their prey usually consists of small antelopes, wildebeests, and baboons. The most sought after prey are the baboons, and tradition says that a Hadza man cannot marry until he has killed 5 of them.
As for their official language, Hadzane is the distinct and ancient language that’s been spoken for thousands of years. Traditionally, this language has been grouped as a Khoisan language: a category made to include all African “click” languages. Although 120,000 people speak a click language, less than 800 people speak Hadzane today. It’s also been revealed that the Hadzane language is unrelated to any other click language, and to produce this sound they click their tongue against their palate or teeth.
Today, the biggest problem facing the Hadza people is their land. Within the last 60 years, they’ve lost 90% of their ancestral lands. However, organizations like The Dorobo Fund and Host the Hadza Exhibit have been working diligently to help. 12,000 trees have been saved from being cut down, and this amounts to 16,000 tons of carbon dioxide being prevented from going into the atmosphere. So progress is being made.
The preservation of indigenous cultures and land is a right that shouldn’t be taken for granted, especially for Africans. The energy I get from learning about these amazing tribes is cathartic. If you have any additional information on the Hadza people, their fight for their land, or if you’ve found any flaws in my research, please comment below.
Until Next Time…
Hadza. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2020, from https://www.lakeforest.edu/academics/programs/environmental/courses/es368/vlaar.php
Hadza Culture. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2020, from http://www.hadzafund.org/Culture.htm
HADZA PEOPLE. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2020, from https://www.exploring-africa.com/en/tanzania/hadzabe/hadza-people
Hadza: The Roots of Equality. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2020, from https://www.hadzaexhibit.org