This indigenous ethnic group resides in north-central Tanzania, dwelling near Lake Eyasi in the central rift valley and in the neighboring plateaus of the Serengeti. The impact of tourism and pastoralist encroachment has for many years posed a severe threat to the continuation of their traditional way of life.
The oral history of the Hadzabe’s tribes past is divided into four epochs, with each epoch inhabited by a different culture. The archaeological and genetic history of the Hadza’s reveals that they are not closely related to any other tribe, although their language was once classified with the Khoisan languages because it has clicks, there is relatively no evidence that they are related.
The Hadzabe tribe became part of the German East Africa but soon came under British control at the end of the first world war. Several attempts were also made by the British and the Tanzanian government to make the Hadzabe settle and adopt farming, but all their attempts failed as the Hadzabe people only settled to take advantage of the food provided, but leave and go back to foraging when the supply of food runs out.
WHAT THEY ARE KNOWN FOR?
As one of the descendants of Tanzania’s aboriginal hunter-gathering population, the Hadzabe tribe has a division of labour that is split between foraging and hunting. While Hadzabe men usually forage individually, women are known generally to forage with at least one adult male accompanying the group. The Hadzabe women usually carry digging sticks, large skin pouches for carrying items like knives, shoes, clothing and various other items held in the pouch around their neck, with a grass basket for carrying berries while foraging.
Their diet consists mainly of honey, fruits, tuber, and meat. The availability of meat to their diet increases during the dry season when men often hunt in pairs hoping to shoot animals with their bows and poisoned arrows. They are highly skilled hunters and are known for their selective skills in hunting, foraging and their vast knowledge of plants, fruits, tubers, and wild animals.
The Hadzabes reside around Lake Eyasi, located just south of the Serengeti. Their lands are full of mostly baobab fruit trees and other bush trees that provide for their livelihood.
The Hadzabe’s are semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers that are culturally and linguistically members of the Khoi (Person) and San (Foragers) group. They have close affinities with the Sandiwe people who possess cultural connections with the Khoekhoe hunter-gatherers communities of Southern Africa.
Women are adorned with “Hangweda“ made of local pieces of skin, while the Hadzabe men are polygamists with a patriarchal social system.