The Hadza Tribes


Most of the tribes living in Tanzania today have moved into the modern era, or, like many of the Maasai, are blending a deep respect for their heritage into a modern life. The Hadza, though, are a tribe with truly ancient traditions.

That’s because the Hadza are one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes still in existence. Just 1,000 members of the group remain, all of them in Tanzania, and between 300 and 400 of them live almost exactly as their ancestors have for thousands

The Hadza are a culturally, linguistically, and genetically distinct population of approximately 1000-1500 individuals, living around Lake Eyasi, in northern Tanzania. Culturally, they are distinguished by being the only population in east Africa that continues to rely extensively on hunting and gathering for their subsistence.  Linguistically, they speak Hadzane, a click-language that has phonetic similarities to other Khoisan click-languages but is not mutually intelligible with any. For this reason Hadzane is often considered a language isolate.

Genetic studies confirm that the distinctiveness of the Hadza population stretches back thousands of years.

Anthropologists have described how the Hadza’s subsistence strategies are closely coupled to their woodland-savannah ecology, while also being guided by distinctive cultural ethos. James Woodburn notes the importance of sharing, minimal politics, egalitarianism, and an intimacy to social relations wherein most individuals act towards others like kin. Anthropologists also note how Hadza residential groups, or camps, often break apart and re-assemble in order to diffuse social tensions.